We all have to go someday and leave this beautiful city behind. For some, death was anything but peaceful and TORONTO has witnessed countless lives lived and lost – from ancient First Nations burial mounds to gruesome Victorian-era murders, to tales of war and plague, duels and executions, suicides and séances.
The author ADAM BUNCH is the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project, and has written about the history of the city for Spacing Magazine, Torontoist and the Huffington Post. In 2012, he earned an honourable mention for a Governor-General’s History Award. Adam lives in TORONTO.
An ideal read for Hallowe’en . . . ‘The Toronto Book of the Dead’
There aren’t many neighbourhoods in more need of a park than this one in Downtown Westside. Packed with massive condo buildings and bisected by the Bathurst West Rail Yards, there’s a limited amount of green space.
Mayor JOHN TORY is battling it out with developers whose vision is more condo and office towers along with a 12-acre park over the rail corridor. The city’s plan is to forget the towers, and build a 21-acre ‘Rail Deck Park’. It can be done. CHICAGO has proven it.
Meanwhile, for TRAINSPOTTERS this is one of the best places downtown to watch rolling stock pass by – especially at rush hour.
This red brick structure in a painting by Group of Seven artist LAWREN HARRIS, sold at auction in 2016. The buyer cleverly asked ELLEN SCHEINBERG, historian, heritage consultant (and house detective) to find it – if it was still with us. TORONTO has neighbourhoods filled with similar homes, but after some research ERA Architects narrowed things down. “They identified this as a Second Empire house and gave me an idea of which neighbourhoods might have this type of home,” said Ms. Scheinberg <PHOTO BELOW>.
City of TORONTO Archivist PATRICK CUMMINS then came on board. “He wasn’t exactly sure where it was, but he knew it was in Yorkville.”
With that clue, and some help from Google Maps, Scheinberg tracked the house down at the corner of McMurrich Street and Roden Place. The search was over. You’ll find a much more detailed report on SpacingTORONTO’s website – http://spacing.ca/toronto/2017/10/12/search-elusive-lawren-harris-toronto-house/
<Yet another hidden TORONTO tale>
<WATERFRONT EAST as it looks today>. TORONTO’s eastern waterfront may soon be in revival mode. SIDEWALK LABS, a sister company of GOOGLE and a division of ALPHABET INC., has become very interested in developing the city’s aquatic border lands. So much so, that upon final approval SIDEWALK will invest $50-million (US) in a year-long planning process for 12-acres (4.9 hectares) – the so-called Quayside Project. Plans are to eventually expand that to a greater investment over a much larger area.
Should all this happen, the development would contain 3.3-million square feet of residential, office and commercial space – as well as new headquarters for Google Canada.
This could end up being North America’s largest ‘smart city’ built around information technology, using data about traffic, noise, air quality, and the performance of systems including trash disposal and the electrical grid.
Mayor JOHN TORY – “This is a moment for TORONTO. By having Sidewalk interested in coming here, we’re building up our credentials as the place to be in the world.” <PHOTOS & IMAGES – Sidewalk Labs>
THE BENTWAY, named after the undulating Gardiner Expressway, will eventually stretch from Strachan Avenue to Bathurst Street – a 1.75 kilometre strip linking Exhibition Place, Liberty Village, Niagara, Fort York, Bathurst Quay, Wellington Place and City Place.
A skating trail under the Gardiner Expressway? It’s a brilliant idea supported by Mayor JOHN TORY, and by the end of December/2017 it will be a new gathering place for TORONTO’s growing population.
Along with the skating trail plans include gardens, markets, art, recreational amenities, exhibits, festivals, theatre and musical performances. Unused land under the expressway is being turned into useful public space. Bravo!
A $25-million gift from the Judy and Wilmot Matthews Foundation made this possible. Ms. Matthews is a granddaughter of E. J. Lennox (1854-1933), an architect who designed many of TORONTO’s iconic buildings, including Old City Hall and Casa Loma. THE BENTWAY is underway.
The atomic-age fountain can be found on top of the Rosehill Reservoir, which dates back to 1873-74, and was covered over in the 1960’s. It became TORONTO’s first environmentally friendly green roof, and is connected to the John Street Pumping Station 8 kilometres away.
Adjacent to the fountain – Rosehill Garden, a project of the city and fundraising neighbours, David Balfour Park and Ravine, a collection of Victorian-era homes and the best autumn colours anywhere in the inner city.
PROJECT #1 – the Downtown De-Fence Project has a rotating group of volunteers who make it their business to remove chain link fences from residential neighbourhoods. DAVE MESLIN, who founded the Project 15 years ago says “I want to feel like a live in a city where people know their neighbours. Fences send the opposite message. Taking down a fence symbolizes a commitment to building relationsships.”
ABOVE – Dave’s before and after photos: “It’s a makeover. It transforms the entire space around a lawn.” For more informaton – http://www.publicspace.ca & email – firstname.lastname@example.org
PROJECT #2 – The Patch Project, supported by the Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Space (STEPS). Developers by law must make 50% of the fencing around building sites available for some form of artwork. A 100-strong crew of local artists have been creating murals, live events and on-site heritage displays in neighbourhoods across the city.
“FUEL” by BAREKET KEZWER, an artist, muralist, graphic designer, curator, writer and optimist. She’S dedicated to making TORONTO more socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. She works with bright colours to get people’s attention and feel joyful about their city.
“POLLINATORS”, supported by OBEN FLATS, was created by NICK SWEETMAN using acrylic and aerosols. It will remain on Gerrard East at Sherbourne Street until a 13-storey building is built behind. The artist even went so far as to replace one panel defaced by taggers (a.k.a. cityscape destroyers). For more information – http://www.thepatchproject.com