RIVERSIDE’S LANDMARK HOTEL GETS A TOTAL MAKEOVER AND IS ABOUT TO RE-OPEN ITS DOORS

<Two years ago the Broadview was covered in tarp as restoration work began>

Another of TORONTO’s 19th century hotels has been given a new lease on life – this time by Streetcar Developments. The company, headquartered in Riverside (Queen Street East at the Don River), purchased the 126-year-old building and has been working on it for the last couple of years.

First named Dingman’s Hall after an Alberta oilman, it became the Broadview in 1907. Then it was renamed the Lincoln Hotel, then back to the Broadview. By the 1970’s it was boarding house with JILLY’S, a strip club on the ground floor.

“We’ve restored it to its original purpose – a neighbourhood gathering place and hotel – while keeping in mind its various incarnations through its 125-year history,” says Jeff Schnitter, Streetcar’s VP of architecture.  <PHOTO ABOVE – the old Broadview sign will be part of the new decor>

The street-level café and bar will serve breakfast, take-out and coffee during the day and become a cocktail and champagne bar at night. <IMAGE – Norm Li>

The Rooftop Restaurant features a skylight and floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s housed in a glass box. <IMAGE – Norm Li>

The tower will be open for private events, with room for 20 diners or 30 for receptions. On the seventh floor, this part of the old hotel features exposed brick and wood, arched windows and a vaulted ceiling. <Interior Design credit: DesignAgency / Rendering credit: Norm Li>

On the opposite side of Queen Street East, Streetcar Developments is working on another new development – Riverside Square<IMAGE BELOW>

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TORONTO’S EAST END. ALONG GERRARD ST. E. WAS A ROUGH & TUMBLE NEIIGHBOURHOOD, 1915-1930

<Installing streetcar tracks – Broadview at Gerrard St. East>

<Cleaning out an industrial chimney, East End, 1930>

<Gerrard Street East backyards, 1937>

<Half-a-house on Gerrard – you still see some of these today, 1930’s>

<Looking west down Gerrard Street at Main, 1915 – all PHOTOS from the City of Toronto Archives>

DESPITE THE STRIKE AT TORONTO ZOO, MOTHER NATURE HAS DELIVERED 10 EXOTIC CATS

  The Toronto Zoo is proud to announce the healthy births of snow leopard cubs, clouded leopard cubs and cheetah cubs.

The snow leopard cubs arrived on May 18, born to mother Ena and dad Kota. Ena came to TORONTO from Japan’s Tama Zoo.

For the first time in the Zoo’s history, two clouded leopard cubs were born on Saturday afternoon, May 13 to mom “Pavarti” and dad “Mingma.” Both parents came originally from the Nashville Zoo.

On April 30 five cheetah cubs came into the world. Laini and Patonga are the parents. The arrival of these cubs brings the number of cheetahs born at the Toronto Zoo to 53.

CABBAGETOWN’S RIVERDALE FARM ANNOUNCES THE ARRIVAL OF SEVERAL NEW BORNS

It’s springtime at Riverdale Farm, located among acres of parkland and ravine at Sumach & Winchester Streets in Cabbagetown. Run by the City of TORONTO, the animals here are well-looked-after and the farm and park are partially financed by local residents. For details on their ‘buy-a’brick‘ program go to http://www.frpw.org

To reach Riverdale Farm take the #506 eastbound streetcar to Sumach Street and walk north.

TORONTONIANS LOVE THEIR NEW BERCZY PARK REDESIGNED BY MONTREAL’S CLAUDE CORMIER

<PHOTO – Berczy Park as it was in November/2016>

Brilliant Canadian landscape architect CLAUDE CORMIER now has a second TORONTO iconic park to his name. The creator of Sugar Beach on the eastern waterfront has redesigned Berczy Park, between Front and Wellington Streets behind the Flatiron Building.

The $7.2-million remake – thanks to Vancouver’s Concert Developments – is very spacious, with lots of grass and benches, and rows of trees.

The “dog” fountain is the centre piece. It’s surrounded by 27 cast-iron dogs and one cat, with a coveted bone on top. Dog walkers and kids love it. This park is a hit already and it’s only just opened.

Berczy Park is one of three downtown parks being renovated.  The Grange and Barbara Ann Scott parks are the other two.

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – MAY 15-22/2017

<BASS ISLAND property in Muskoka, listed at $10,800,000>

TORONTO’s real estate frenzy has spread to cottage country as city dwellers cash out and head north. The value of waterfront property in Muskoka, Haliburton and Orillia surged 51.4% year over year in April. The median price of $485,000 was up 30.4% from April/2016. Last week in Haliburton/Muskoka on three big lakes, there were 51 properties listed with an average price of $3-million.

“Privacy is still the key factor when it comes to price. Up here, the definition of privacy is when you can stand on your front deck naked and nobody can see you. You need 200 feet of waterfront to do that.” – Hugh Nichols, Re/Max North Country agent

Google has its eye on TORONTO’s under-developed waterfront and believes digital city-building might ‘fix’ it.

The premise – building from the ground up with new technologies brings with it potential environmental sustainability, health benefits, and even affordable housing. Google’s vision entails high-speed internet access and free wifi across the hub, self-driving cars, ride-sharing, and sensors throughout. As Canada’s largest urban area with a booming multicultural centre and a 12-acre industrial waterfront along Lake Ontario, TORONTO is in the running.

To create a city of the future from the ground up necessitates demolishing the city of the past – which puts both Montreal and Vancouver at some disadvantage.

High-speed rail – Ontario Premier KATHLEEN WYNNE says the province will set up an agency to plan, finance and build a high-speed rail corridor between TORONTO, Guelph, Kitchener, London and Windsor.

“The best time to have done this was 40 years ago, the second best time is today. Today is what we’ve got, so today is what we are working with,” said Ms. Wynne. “We are moving ahead, we are going to make this happen.”

TORONTO’s Little Portugal and Trinity-Bellwoods Park area have just been ranked #1 for music production in Canada. In a news release The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) says “”This diverse and culturally-rich neighbourhood in TORONTO’s south-western quadrant is a hub of creative musical talent, live music venues, and businesses using music to their advantage.”

<PHOTO – Canterbury Music Company, 322 Dufferin Street>

TORONTO scores a 68% home ownership rate in the ‘developed’ world. We’re behind only OSLO (69%) and CALGARY (74%). A report from the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis shows that half of TORONTO-area residents are overhoused, with 2.2-million empty bedrooms.

The city is about 350,000 bedrooms short of housing the 20% of residents who are shelter-poor.

A newborn lamb, one of three, at TORONTO’s inner-city Riverdale Farm. The Farm is located on Sumach Street, north of Carlton. You can reach it easily on the #506 eastbound streetcar. Get off at Sumach and walk north to Riverdale Park.

TORONTO again proves its key importance by landing the federal government’s infrastructure bank. The city’s Financial District will give members easy access to investors whose cash the feds need to make their bank work.

$35-billion in federal funds will be used to entice private investment in public transit, highways and electrical grids that generate revenues through user fees or tolls. Approximately $15-billion of that will be cash, with the remaining $20-billion in repayable loans or equity stakes that shouldn’t affect the government’s bottom line.

Bon anniversaire, Montréal!  Canada’s second largest city 350 miles east of TORONTO, celebrated its 375th birthday on May 17, 2017.  The Quebec metropolis is a town that seldom sleeps and the lights are always on.

They want a TORONTO subway connection and, in return, they’re prepared to favour a Downtown Relief Line (DRL). The mayors of Markham, Richmond Hill and York Region have announced they’d support JOHN TORY’s push for the DRL – if he’d support their wish for a TTC subway hookup.

Mayor Tory had threatened to stop all planning for regional subway connections which would directly affect the above municipalities.

Actor KAL PENN, who plays the press secretary on ABC’s “Designated Survivor” – shooting in TORONTO – gave the New York Times his impression of Big T.O. “It is an incredibly diverse city. They take in refugees that the United States doesn’t accept. I came back and saw not just new buildings, but entire neighbourhoods that were industrial and have been transformed into living spaces.

“There’s a neighbourhood called PARKDALE which has an interesting Tibetan population. There’s a lot of great food there, and I don’t mean fancy places where you dress up and go to dinner, but really great holes-in-the-wall. Little Portugal is another neighbourhood with really nice shops and restaurants.”

Londoner ROSE POWER sent her best wishes to TORONTO this week in a letter published by Metro News.  “I would recommend anyone wanting to enjoy great food, sights and friendly people in a safe city, really ought to give TORONTO a try!  They won’t be disappointed.  I also think TORONTO should be held up as an awesome model of multiculturalism working at its finest.”

OFF THE BEATEN PATH – A MIX OF GENTRIFICATION & INDUSTRY ON TORONTO’S DOWNTOWN EAST SIDE

One of things I love about TORONTO is its weird mix of neighbourhoods. Walk two blocks south of trendy Riverside and Leslieville and you’re in a land of warehouses, gentrified Victorians, electric wires, cables, a couple of movie studios, billboards and light industry. Much of it is even photogenic.