“RIDING THRU’ A HOLE IN THE GROUND” – NEW YORK CITY’S SUBWAY NETWORK IS IN BAD SHAPE

This weekend The New York Times published an in-depth article on New York’s subway system, which is descending into misery, and failing millions of riders.

Providing a sprawling 24-hour service, the MTA has been plagued by track fires, stalled trains, signal problems and this past week, a derailment.<PHOTO ABOVE – Overcrowding in TORONTO’s Bloor/Yonge due to some technical difficulty>. Torontonians love complaining about their subway (a pipsqueak alongside NYC’s), but the TTC system is being modernized & expanded. It ranks very high when it comes to on-time performance.
Most recent annual on-time performances based on data from each transit system – including Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver.
New York City – 65%
San Francisco – 86%
Madrid – 91%
Vancouver – 96%
TORONTO – 96%
Boston – 97%
Montreal – 98%
Hong Kong – 99%

Read the entire New York Times article on how-not-to-run-a-subway at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/18/nyregion/new-york-subway-system-failure-delays.html

Hang in there NEW YORK!  Rescue is coming from TORONTO.  ANDY BYFORD has resigned as CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  Mr. Byford has been appointed President & CEO of the NYC Transit Commission (the MTA).  After 28 years in public transit, beginning with the LONDON Underground, then the TTC, Byford may be just what New York needs.  Good luck down there ‘Fix-It Big’ ANDY.  You’ll be missed.

UNIVERSITY OF TRINITY COLLEGE, 1827, IS MUCH YOUNGER THAN IT LOOKS

University of Trinity College, 6 Hoskin Avenue, is one of the smallest colleges (1600 students) within the University of Toronto.  Founded by Anglican Bishop John Strachan in 1827, it was federated into the secular University under government pressure, in 1904.

Originally in Trinity-Bellwoods Park on Queen Street West, the present campus was erected between 1925 and 1961.

The chapel, built in 1955, was a gift from Salada Tea CEO Gerald Larkin.  Trinity combines elements of Gothic Revival, Jacobethan and Tudor Revival architecture.  Subway stop: WELLESLEY, and then westbound Bus #94 to Hoskin Avenue, or MUSEUM, then walk west half a block, and south down Philosopher’s Walk.

THE PALACE ARMS IS LIVING OUT ITS FINAL DAYS – REDEVELOPMENT IS ON THE WAY

A 19th century rooming house on King Street West at Strachan, once home to poor men, will soon become a condo. The story of this old survivor is a fascinating one. In June/2015 photographer PAUL SALVATORI was given access to the building and his photo essay appeared in NOW magazine.  Paul Salvatori: “The Palace Arms for years served primarily as a 91-unit rooming house for poor men. Nearing its final days, I had the unique opportunity to explore it. I had no expectations, wanting only to better understand the historical (and often unfairly maligned) building as it is today.”

“I notice signs of human activity like the towel on the right, which could belong to one of the squatters who lives directly outside the washroom. The room is dark – only my camera flash illuminates it here.” – Paul Salvatori. For the full story and Paul Salvatori’s photographs go to NOW’s website.  Address below.

https://nowtoronto.com/news/think-free-blog/touring-what-remains-of-the-palace-arms-one-last-time-photo-/

STRACHAN AVE. BORDERS A FORMER NEIGHBOURHOOD OF STEAM ENGINES & HEAVY INDUSTRY

       You’d never know it these days with multiple condo buildings sprouting up. But the area west of STRACHAN AVENUE was once home to the CN Rail Yards, Central Prison, and acres of heavy industry.

The railway yards brought with them companies manufacturing boilers, heavy machinery, farm equipment, billiard tables, electrical appliances, carpets, lamps, toys, bedding and pumps.

During World Wars I and II many of the factories produced armaments, bombs and weapons. It was a beehive of industrial this and that and remained so until the 1970’s.

<PHOTO ABOVE – Central Prison, 1884>

<Wartime armaments piled up in what’s now Liberty Village>

<Strachan Avenue as it was in 1913>

<Strachan Avenue railroad crossing, 1913>. When the railways yard and manufacturing companies moved to suburbia in the 1970’s & 80’s, the area was left with heavily polluted soil accumulated over several decades. That had to be cleaned up before repurposing.

The City of TORONTO, property owners and developers saw great potential in a neighbourhood so close to downtown, the entertainment/gallery/fashion districts and the Lakeshore. With the gentrification of the west end, this area became what it is today – a perfect place to build condo housing, renovate warehouses, and create a whole new community.  Making a very long story short – that’s when today’s Liberty Village came into being.

<The remaining railway lines are now under cover>

<Black and white photos above – City of Toronto Archives, Rail Road Historical Association, Toronto Reference Library>

TORONTO’S WARTIME HOUSES HAVE BECOME UNAFFORDABLE IN A HOT REAL ESTATE MARKET

<NORTH YORK wartime housing, 1967>. Between 1941 and 1947 a crown corporation called Wartime Housing Limited built thousands of houses across Canada for war workers, veterans and their families. These Wartime Houses became some of Canada’s first suburban communities.

Wartime Houses are iconic architectural forms — a rectangle with a triangle on top. They were part of a government initiative to provide affordable rental homes to working class people.

<PHOTO ABOVE – NOW magazine>. There are three Wartime Housing sites in TORONTO. The houses are now privately owned, and many have been gentrified through additions and demolitions.

<PHOTO – National Film Board>. Artist MEAGHAN HYCKIE – “It does feel strange not to be able to afford a house in the East York neighbourhood of small, Second World War-era homes I grew up in.  Does private home ownership and development result in a more livable city? Is a bigger house a better house? And what part should government play in suburban planning and building conservation?”

<PHOTO – Wartime Housing in Windsor, Ontario>

RELATIVELY EASY ACCESS TO WORK VISAS IS MAKING TORONTO ATTRACTIVE TO TECHNOLOGY EXPERTS

US President Donald Trump is delivering a gift to TORONTO by clamping down on the H-1B non-immigrant visa program. Under H-1B, 44% of foreign applicants have been denied entry to the United States in the last six months. Tech companies have often used this system to find potential employees internationally.

Eric Schmidt of Alphabet called this “the stupidest policy in the entire American political system.”

Under Canada’s non-immigrant program, TORONTO gained 22,500 new tech jobs in 2016, almost double that of SAN FRANCISCO.

The University of TORONTO, Canada’s largest, has become very much interested in technology and the students who go along with it. International applications there have increased by 25% this fall.  In the works at U of T – an increased emphasis on Artificial Intelligence.

RYERSON U’S CITY BUILDING INSTITUTE WONDERS IF TORONTO IS BUILDING THE RIGHT KIND OF CONDOS

  The Greater TORONTO Area (GTA) condo boom has been underway now for over a decade. In the middle of 2017, development reached its highest level yet. Most of the new GTA homes are in buildings taller than 5 storeys.

“Bedrooms in the Sky”, a report released yesterday, examines what’s coming down the pipeline in the GTA over the next five years. Are we on target to meet the shift in housing demand as millennials get older and seek larger spaces, and baby boomers downsize from detached houses?  The GTA will need more family-oriented housing units in mid-rise and low-rise buildings – unlike the stock built during the past several years.

To read the report by Ryerson’s City Building Institute & Urbanation “Bedrooms in the Sky” go to https://www.citybuildinginstitute.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/FINAL-BedroomsInTheSky.pdf