NOT MANY CITIES HAVE TWO BOTANICAL GARDENS – BUT THERE ARE TWO OF THEM WITHIN THE GTHA

The ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS are located roughly 40 miles southwest of TORONTO midway between BURLINGTON and HAMILTON (GTHA).  A National Historic Site, the gardens cover 2,400 acres with 27 kilometres of walking trails.

The RBG is home to more than 50 at-risk species, and it’s a major stop-over point for thousands of migrating birds.

TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN, 777 Lawrence Avenue East at Leslie, is one of Canada’s finest urban gardens.  It’s compact, somewhat hilly but easily walkable.  Accessible by public transit, bicycle and automobile, the Toronto Botanical Garden, Edwards Gardens and Wilket Creek Park lead from one into the other.  And it’s all FREE, including the parking.

EDWARDS GARDENS, 775 Lawrence Avenue East, is a former private estate, featuring an extensive rockery, rhododendrons and wildflowers bordering Wilket Creek Valley, with perennials, roses, an arboretum and a Teaching Garden on its uplands.
And Wilket Creek Park is part of our city’s crisscrossing ravine system, with several kilometres of paved bike trails.  From the EGLINTON SUBWAY STATION take Bus #54 Lawrence Avenue East, or Bus #51 Leslie East.  http://www.torontobotanicalgarden.ca

THE WHOLE WORLD’S IN A MESS RIGHT NOW – SO FORGETTABOUTIT – GO AND SEE “MAMMA MIA! 2″

The Mamma Mia gang is back with the effervescent music of ABBA. For two hours you can forget about Trump, Ford, Kim Jong Un, Putin, tariffs, guns, wars, borders, scandal – all that stuff. Enjoy a new musical which doesn’t take itself at all seriously – it’s the La La Land of 2018, and it’ll make you feel real good.
Note of caution – you’ve got to love ABBA.

IN CASE YOU HADN’T NOTICED, A RACE IS ON FOR THE TALLEST SKYSCRAPER IN TOWN

TORONTO is a construction site. For the last 5-10 years this city has been growing up, up and up – and shows no signs of stopping.

Case in point – the Pinnacle One Yonge site, formerly the home of the Toronto Star, is planning three massive towers not far from the waterfront.  The project – Phase One’s 65-storey tower. Phase Two – 95-storeys, and Phase 3 – 80-storeys. Phase One has been approved in principle.  Almost 2,000 residential units (including 120 affordable rental housing units) are proposed for phases 2 and 3, as well as 852 parking spaces and 2,228 bike parking spots.

Meanwhile, DAVID MIRVISH and architect FRANK GHERY are working on two towers & a contemporary art museum in the King West and Duncan Street area (92-storeys and 82-storeys).

And architect NORMAN FOSTER has his name on The One, developed by MIZRAHI DEVELOPMENTS at Bloor and Yonge (85-storeys). It will even have an exclusive postal code.

<PHOTO ABOVE – The One under construction at Bloor West and Yonge>

YORKDALE, TORONTO’S MOST SUCCESSFUL SHOPPING DESTINATION, IS REDUCING ITS CARBON FOOTPRINT

At a time when the Progressive Conservative provincial government is doing everything it can to screw up the environment, OXFORD Developments is working on a vast green roof and solar panel installation atop Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

The solar panel installation is the largest in Greater TORONTO, with more than 600 panels, producing 235,000 kWh annually – equal to the annual energy consumption of 40 houses, and providing a quarter of Yorkdale’s inner & outer lighting.  <PHOTO – Louis Thomas Kelly>

The green roof covers 150,000 square-feet and saves energy by reducing atmospheric heating, air pollution and makes use of surface water run-off. The rainwater collection system supports the rooftop ecosystem.

Avéole, an urban beekeeping company, has installed two rooftop hives with 5,000 inhabitants – and plans to eventually house 50,000 honey bees – improving pollination all around the neighbourhood.

Elevated Eats occupies space above a parking garage – an urban garden that produces 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables. The garden’s produce is forwarded to local food banks.  <PHOTO – Louis Thomas Kelly; details from urbantoronto.ca>

A POD OF GALLERIES HAS ASSEMBLED AROUND LISGAR PARK – IN TORONTO’S QUEEN ST. W. NEIGHBOURHOOD

The Propeller Gallery at 30 Abell Street is now over 20 years old, and is one of TORONTO’s longest standing artist collectives. Exhibitions here change every two or three weeks – and feature work by both members and artists who are not members.  To keep up to date on what’s happening at Propeller go to https://www.propellerctr.com

The Modern TORONTO is a new gallery focusing on abstract painting and sculpture. It’s located at 68 Abell Street and shows great art not commonly seen in Canadian museums. The layout of the gallery itself is quite amazing, and makes excellent use of an elongated space.

Works by JIRI LADOCHA (‘Architectonics’) are now on The Modern’s concrete walls. Website – http://www.themoderntoronto.ca

The Helen and Walter Zwig Foundation Collection, also at 68 Abell Street. This TORONTO couple, both now deceased, had a taste for adventure – which led them by sailboat to Europe, the US, the South Pacific and Central America. They circumnavigated the globe, often alone.  Their gallery features work drawn entirely from their collection. The Zwig family is planning to update exhibits on a regular basis.  Website – https://www.zwigcollection.ca/

Craft Ontario specializes in Canadian-made art of all kinds, is now open at a new address – 1106 Queen Street West, not far from the Drake Hotel. Legally known as the Ontario Crafts Council, this is a member-based, not-for-profit organization based in TORONTO.  Website – https://www.craftontario.com/

Across Lisgar Park with its cafe and bar – THE THEATRE CENTRE, 1115 Queen Street West.  It invests in ideas, nurtures artists, presents new work and new ways of working. The company provides space, mentorship and exposure to writers and actors – and presents a year-round programming schedule.  Website – http://www.theatrecentre.org

And there’s LISGAR PARK itself. Opened in 2017 it’s TORONTO’s newest park. Not to everyone’s taste, the park features a well-used playground for kids, and adds much-needed public space for a high-rise community.  As well there are canopy trees, sculptural seats and planting areas, along with a grid of ‘art poles’ providing night lights <PHOTO ABOVE>.