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>.

SYLVIO PERLSTEIN, 80, BUYS ART THAT’S STRANGE & NOT NORMAL, BECAUSE HE WANTS TO

SYLVIO PERLSTEIN, 80, has been collecting avant-garde 20th and 21st century art, both masterpieces and curiosities, for more than five decades. “It was not a business. It’s not a collection,” he said. “In Portuguese, the word is ‘esquisito’, things that are strange and unusual.”

As a devotee of surrealism, Mr. Perlstein likes to buy early work, before an artist’s impulses are ossified. He pounces when he sees “something not normal”.

Among the pieces Mr. Perlstein has assembled – works by Man Ray, Magritte, Max Ernst, Donald Judd, Dora Maar, Keith Haring, Picasso, Edward Weston, Walker Evans, Bruce Nauman, Moholy-Nagy, etc.

  <ABOVE – that’s me on the left, the art in the middle, security guard on the right>

Three floors of Hauser & Wirth, 548 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, NYC, just off Manhattan’s High Line are regularly filled with art.  Visitors to The Big Apple should check it out.  The exhibitions are FREE, and could save you a trip to the Museum of Modern Art.  The details – 1-212-790-3900 – https://www.hauserwirth.com/hauser-wirth-exhibitions

SHOCKING NEWS, BUT NOT SURPRISING – DOUG FORD’S HYDRO DISMISSALS WILL COST NEARLY $14-MILLION

Ontario Premier DOUG FORD has been saying that dismissing the electrical utility’s CEO and board is cost-free. A Globe and Mail analysis reveals the departures will cost nearly $14-million. Ex-CEO MAYO SCHMIDT will receive $9-million and board members a total of $4.9-million.  Shares have dropped as analysts worry political interference will negatively affect the company. – Globe and Mail, July 13/2018

ABOVE – ‘The $9-million man, MAYO SCHMIDT, chose to retire instead of resigning after about six months on the job, and will get close to the $10.7-million he’d have received in severance, along with stock options.  His pension of about $163,000 annually and benefits remain intact. – from columns and reportage in the Toronto Star, July 13/2018

MEDIA PIONEER MOSES ZNAIMER HAS BEEN PROMOTING RESTAURANT CIVILITY FOR YEARS

Noisy restaurants are everywhere it seems. With rare exceptions it’s become impossible to have a meal in peace – to talk to your partner without shouting – forced to suck up as much noise as one can stand. Oftentimes as soon as you enter, a tsunami of yelling washes over you. Welcome to dining out/2018!

MOSES ZNAIMER, CEO and founder of ZoomerMedia, owner/operator of two first-rate radio stations, CEO of CARP (for those 50+), owner of Vision TV and founder of TORONTO’s Television Museum, believes “the next great environmental issue ought to be Noise Pollution” – which, in restaurants, comes with a bill + tip.

For info on TORONTO and area restaurants that are relatively quiet, and food in general, visit the Anti-Noise Pollution League at https://www.facebook.com/antinoisepollutionleague/ If you’re mad as hell and won’t take it anymore, here’s an opportunity to make a list, vent and learn.  <IMAGE ABOVE – VOX.com

UNIQUE IN NORTH AMERICA: THE HOT DOCS TED ROGERS’ CINEMA SCREENS DOCUMENTARIES DAILY

Formerly the Bloor Cinema, Hot Docs bought it in 2016 with a $4-million gift from the Rogers Foundation. Rebranded the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, the Annex neighbourhood theatre projects documentaries, along with lectures, courses, festivals and special events seven days a week. The Cinema is part of the Bloor Street West Cultural Corridor.

<PHOTO ABOVE – Joseph Michael>  Address – 506 Bloor Street West.  To see what’s playing go to http://www.hotdocscinema.ca

ALLAN GARDENS, FOUNDED IN 1858, ONE OF TORONTO’S OLDEST PARKS, WAS A GIFT FROM GEORGE W. ALLAN

One-time Mayor of TORONTO, president of the city’s horticultural society and long-time senator, GEORGE WILLIAM ALLAN donated a five-acre oval parcel of land to the city in 1858. It’s an early example of public philanthropy.  The botanical reserve was meant to be the centerpiece of a subdivision of villa estates – patterned after Regent Park in London & Gramercy Park in New York.

A rickety pavilion was built in the centre of the oval as a concert and horticultural venue.  It was torn down in 1878 and replaced by a grand three-storey enclosed structure.  <PHOTO – Toronto Public Library>

A tall, cascading fountain went up outside. Management of both the park and pavilion was passed on to the taxpayers of TORONTO.  ABOVE – a rare photo of the Horticultural Gardens photographed by OCTAVIUS THOMPSON and published in his “Toronto in the Camera” in 1868. The maple planted by the Prince of Wales, in 1860, is just to the left of the pavilion in front of the fence. <Toronto Reference Library>

Then the pavilion burned down, as a lot of buildings did in those days, replaced by today’s Palm House and conservatory.

For more information on Allan Gardens and its history – https://torontofamilyhistory.org/simcoesgentry/5/allan-gardens