TORONTO, VANCOUVER, LONDON & SYDNEY PROPERTY MARKETS ARE LOSING TRACTION IT SEEMS

What went up is coming down, according to the Globe and Mail’s ‘Report on Business’, January 12/2019. The real estate boom is cooling around the world, and CANADA’s two top real estate markets are decelerating.

In SYDNEY residential property values have dropped 8.9%
LONDON prices in prime neighbourhoods have been lowered by 20%
NEW YORK median prices fell 5.8% in 2018
Greater TORONTO Area (GTA) total home sales fell 16% in 2018
Average TORONTO home prices slid 4.3%
In the VANCOUVER region housing sales dropped by 31.6%
Benchmark VANCOUVER home prices slipped 2.7%

The Swiss investment bank UBS, warned in a recent report that in both TORONTO and VANCOUVER “rising rates, stricter market regulations or an economic downturn could put the lights out on the party, given the high valuations and strained affordability.”

TORONTO’S “HOUSE ON A HILL”, CASA LOMA, TOOK THREE YEARS TO BUILD AT A COST OF $3.5-MILLION

Financier HENRY PELLATT (1859-March 8/1939), shown above on the right at a military event, commissioned architect E. J. LENNOX and hired 300 workers to create the largest private residence in Canada.  <Black & white photos – City of TORONTO Archives & Sidewalk Labs>

Among the amenities – 98 rooms, an electric elevator, a massive oven, a central vacuum, two secret passages, stables, three bowling alleys, a swimming pool and shooting range (both unfinished), a telephone in almost every room – and an estimated 50 servants to run the place.  Construction ended in 1914 – just in time for World War One.

<The Conservatory as it is today, by JOHN VETTERLI>

<CASA LOMA in the winter of 1917>

<THE STABLES, reachable by tunnel from the castle>

<The approach to Casa Loma’s stables and gardens, 1908>  By 1933, the city had seized Casa Loma for approximately $30,000 Mr. Pellatt owed in back taxes. He would die almost penniless, less than six years later in the home he shared with his former chauffeur. He and his wife, Lady Mary Pellatt (first Chief Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada), had managed to live in the castle for just one decade.

<The OAK ROOM, most decorated room in the house, 2018, photo by DENNIS JARVIS>

<THE LIBRARY, 1914>  These days CASA LOMA is a museum, landmark & special events venue, open to the public year ‘round. Operated by the City of TORONTO, the castle and stables remain one of our city’s most popular tourist attractions.  HENRY PELLATT’s name lives on.  Also, several well-to-do neighbourhoods have grown up around the castle.  It’s become quite the prestige address.

Subway stop – DUPONT, and then walk northwest uphill, or ST. CLAIR subway stop, and then streetcar #512 westbound to Spadina Road, and walk south.

CANADA HOLDS DOWN #10 & #20 SPOTS ON NEW YORK TIMES’ ANNUAL ’52 PLACES TO GO’ TRAVEL FEATURE

#10 – ONTARIO’S ICE CAVES . . . “See them now, as climate change may pose a threat. The caves are a regularly occurring feature, notably along the shoreline near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, just across the border from a Michigan town of the same name.  “The wind, shifts in the ice and the effects of the sun constantly remake the formation. February is the most reliable month for a visit.” – IAN AUSTEN, NYT

#20 – CALGARY’S NEW CENTRAL LIBRARY . . . “From the architectural firm Snohetta, the Library creates not just a design destination, with daily tours, but also a gateway in the form of an arched cedar-clad passageway linking downtown to the city’s evolving East Village, a booming neighbourhood where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet.” – ELAINE GLUSAC, NYT; PHOTO – CRACMACS.ca

MOVIE HISTORY – 4 DECADES AFTER IT WAS MADE, “HAIR”, HAS BEEN RE-COLOURED & RESTORED

BLOUIN Art Info – “maybe four decades have gone by, but “Hair”, the movie seems to be a story as fresh as it was when first released. The 1979 anti-war drama film was based on the 1968 Broadway musical “Hair: An American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”.

<PHOTO ABOVE – the Canadian cast of “HAIR” at TORONTO’s Royal Alexandra Theatre in 1969.  The musical ran for 52 sold-out weeks, complete with the controversial nude scene>When a tribe of freedom-loving hippies is confronted with the realities of war and an oppressive government hell-bent on conflict, they become even more committed to their ideals of freedom, liberty from social shackles and the space to form individual expression…through “long, beautiful Hair”

CANADA’S HOUSE OF COMMONS AND SENATE ARE MOVING INTO NEW DIGS FOR THE NEXT 12 + YEARS

<PHOTO – carpeting design for the temporary Senate chamber>

Probably it will take longer than a dozen years, but Canada’s Senators and Members of Parliament have left behind their home in the Centre Block and are in the process of moving. While they’re gone, the Centre Block will be refurbished, cleaned, and restored.  The temporary Senate chamber, all in red <ABOVE>, will be across Wellington Street from Parliament Hill. Once it was OTTAWA’s beaux-arts railway station, then a government conference centre, and now an elaborate home for the 105 members of the Upper House of Parliament.

The temporary House of Commons is a glass-and-steel addition within the courtyard of the West Block on Parliament Hill. It was designed by MONTREAL firms ARCOP and EVOQ. The glass ceiling will capture heat in the winter and expel it in the summer.  Underground levels include a welcome centre where visitors will go through security screening before entering. Parliament is one of Canada’s top tourism sites and despite the move, tourists will still be able to visit it.

<PHOTO – THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang>

FOUNDED IN 1991, CINECYCLE KEEPS GOING, DEVOTED TO BIKE REPAIRS, COFFEE AND FILM

This sign once marked the entranceway to CINECYCLE’s first location, from 1991 to 1995, behind 217 Spadina Avenue. The bicycle was built by Leo Stonetsky using 16mm film reels for the wheels, and the photo was taken by John Porter.

CINECYCLE’s founder and director, MARTIN HEATH, is the recipient of the Tom Berner Award for “providing extraordinary support to the cause of independent film making in TORONTO.” A former print maker, film handler and projectionist, Martin is a longtime supporter of the city’s music scene.

Martin’s personal projects have included a 100-minute film “The Son of Tutti Frutti” which played weekly at TORONTO’s Roxy Cinema in 1972; an inflatable Mobile Cinema which toured Ontario for 3 summers (1976-1978); and his collection of 2,000 films and 50 projectors.

Through the years, CineCycle’s coach house address, behind 129 Spadina Avenue, was once a stable, home to a fine fur company, and a sweat shop.  The “work to rule” graffiti is from a worker’s action that took place here in the 1930’s.

Bike repairs are by appointment; films are screened on an irregular schedule   For a fascinating history of CINECYCLE and its founder, as well as a screening schedule go to http://www.super8porter.ca/CineCycle.htm

VERY MUCH A DOWNTOWN UNIVERSITY, RYERSON IS PLANNING YET ANOTHER TOWER

<IMAGE – an aerial rendering showing the 202 Jarvis neighbourhood; City of TORONTOOver the past few years RYERSON UNIVERSITY has been building and rebuilding a number of architecturally significant additions to its downtown core campus.  The latest – and possibly last because of a land squeeze – will be a 41-storey tower designed by Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects & TORONTO’s Zeidler Partnership Architects. The address, if approved, will be 202 Jarvis Street.

PHOTO ABOVE by steveve – another of Ryerson University’s projects is the Centre for Urban Innovation, still under construction.

The Centre combines old and new structures fronting on residential McGill Street and Gerrard Street East. The designers – Moriyama and Teshima Architects.<PHOTO ABOVE – the Ontario College of Pharmacy, 1887, once occupied the Innovation Centre site.  It was demolished. City of Toronto Archives>

PHOTO ABOVE was taken by Craig White in 2018. It’s an aerial view of the 27-storey Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex under construction on Church Street, north of Dundas.  Among its features – an 8th floor green roof, which will triple the Ryerson Urban Farm’s yield of vegetables; a much-needed student residence expected to be finished by March/2019, with accommodation for 332; podium levels dedicated to nursing, nutrition, midwifery, occupational and public health.

ZAYELL JOHNSTON’S “CRAZY NOTION” – TO WALK 9,000 KILOMETRES (5,600 MILES) ACROSS CANADA

To walk coast-to-coast across CANADA, even in perfect weather, is a gargantuan task. ZAYELL JOHNSTON, 27, decided to do precisely that, beginning his project at Mile ‘O’ in VICTORIA, British Columbia, and ending up nine months later on the Atlantic coast in CAPE SPEAR, Newfoundland. Along the way – blistering heat, torrential rain, blizzards and hail; daily walking average – 50 kilometres.

“I don’t know how I got the crazy notion of walking across the country, but I didn’t want to drive across it,” Johnston said. “At the beginning of the journey, you could say I was running away to kind of reflect on where I was in life.”

Johnston set up a Go Fund Me campaign and raised only $620. At the end of the trip he used the fund to send cheques of roughly $50 each to the Canadian Mental Health Association in all ten provinces.

His next goal – paying off a student loan, becoming a forest firefighter and building up his abs. ZAYELL is a native of YORKTON, Saskatchewan.  <CBC News, @BonnieAllenCBC; photos by Zayell Johnston/Facebook>