It seems that everywhere you go in TORONTO street artists have been at work. The city is now home to some of the best murals and public art in laneways, streets and parks – (if you don’t mind my saying) anywhere.
<‘HOME’ by Sean Martindale & Joshua Barndt, 251 Ranee Avenue, created in 2012> To help find many of these art works & to discourage tagging, StreetARToronto (StART) & Civic Hall Toronto have created an easy-to-use online map. The current database is focused on work painted from 2012 to 2018.
<By Shayone Panth, Danforth Avenue at Paramount Road, 2012><By Dan Bergeron and Paul Aloisi, 550 Bayview Avenue, 2012>
<By Community Centre 55, GRIP Crew, 147 Lee Avenue, 2018>
<BELL utility box, by Andre Kan, Torresdale Avenue at Finch Av. West, 2015> In addition to identifying the artist & organizations responsible, the database includes stories and themes behind each unique piece of art. Individually and collectively these murals were designed to celebrate TORONTO’s motto “Diversity Our Strength”.
<By Aisha Ali, Purdon Drive @ Wilmington Avenue, 2015> Additional filters will be installed and the growing database will be updated regularly to add more artwork, so check back often! To learn more – https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/streets-parking-transportation/enhancing-our-streets-and-public-realm/streetartoronto/ . . . . . StreetARToronto – The Map! – https://streetart.to/
The Leslie Street Spit, TORONTO’s ‘artificial-natural’ habitat, extends 5 kilometres into Lake Ontario at the foot of Leslie Street.
The Spit was created largely from construction excavations, and is now home to numerous wild animals, birds and butterflies, as well as weekend joggers, cyclists and hikers.
<PHOTO ABOVE – constructing the Spit, 1990 to 1994, City of Toronto Archives>TOMMY THOMPSON PARK is on the man-made peninsula, and contains some of the largest existing natural habitat on the TORONTO waterfront. Wildlife, especially birds, flourish in the park, making it one of the best nature-watching areas in the GTA.<PHOTO – view of the city from the park, January 16/2019> The Park contains 10 kilometres of accessible paved trail.<PHOTO – Toronto at night from Tommy Thompson Park>
<PHOTO by Frank Lennon/Toronto Star via Getty Images> Who was TOMMY THOMPSON (1913-1985)? The Park’s namesake was a TORONTO Parks Commissioner who really loved his job. Among many of his achievements was the conversion of Toronto Island into one enormous park. He’s best known for a sign in the city’s spotless network of parks – “Please Walk On The Grass”.For detailed information on The Spit, Tommy Thompson Park & other parks in the region (including opening times and photographs) go to – https://trca.ca/parks/tommy-thompson-park/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3oOh852J4AIVR57ACh1vowCuEAAYASAAEgL_yvD_BwE
<Surface parking lot, 3933 Keele Street; photo – MARK RICHARDSON> DOWNTOWN TORONTO has very few surface parking lots, but that’s not the case in the inner and outer suburbs. There are at least eleven city-owned parking lots under consideration near transit hubs, which might become development sites. Needless to say, there’ll be blowback to the Mayor’s Housing Now Initiative from drivers and some city councillors.
<ABOVE – one of three commuter parking lots at WILSON subway station has been declared surplus by the city, and might become an affordable housing development site – Google Maps/CBC>
Housing advocate MARK RICHARDSON – “There have been councillors in the past who’ve pushed back against the closing of these parking lots. But they’re literally on top of transit stations, where dense housing needs to go.” <PHOTO – Martin Trainer, CBC News> Mr. RICHARDSON has launched a website with a map and photos of underused parking lots that might qualify for the Mayor’s plan. Check out the map at this address –
In the 1960’s it opened as the O’Keefe Centre for the Performing Arts <PHOTO ABOVE>, then it was called the Hummingbird Centre . . . then the Sony Centre, and now a $30.75-million deal has been made with the Meridian Credit Union to rename this newly renovated, 2,500-seat theatre Meridian Hall.
Civic Theatres TORONTO, which runs the St. Lawrence Centre, Sony Centre and the Toronto Centre for the Arts, is changing its name as well. In future, it will be called TOLive. Civic Theatres was created in 2015 to find ways to improve these three underperforming theatres.
Taken together, in 2018, there were 613 performances, with over 493,000 attendees. The 2019 budget is growing to $28.1 million — almost $4 million over 2018 — while the organizations subsidy remains $5.3 million, which is down $600,000 from 2017.
<O’KEEFE CENTRE OPENING NIGHT for ‘Camelot’, pre-Broadway, 1960’s>
Designed by NEW YORK-based Weiss/Manfredi Architects and TORONTO’s Teeple Architects, the 13-storey structure will rise at 112 College Street, near Queen’s Park.
The unique building will no doubt stand out against its surroundings – some of which are already landmarks. Shaped as a truncated trapezoidal pyramid, the PIE Complex will have shared rooftop terraces, and the bottom two floors will be recessed – “lifting” the building off the ground level.