TORONTO’S EX-TRANSIT CEO, ANDY BYFORD, IS HAVING ‘A SET-TO’ WITH NEW YORK STATE’S GOVERNOR

<PHOTO – ANDY BYFORD strap-hanging, by JEFFERSON SIEGEL, NY Daily News>

<PHOTO – New York State governor, ANDREW CUOMO>

ANDY BYFORD and New York State governor ANDREW CUOMO haven’t spoken to each other for the last four months. And Cuomo believes the governor’s role, as an elected official and micromanager, is to be responsible for New York City’s vast and mal-functioning subway system. According to the New York Times & The Post, Byford is on the verge of quitting.

NYC Council Speaker, COREY JOHNSON is calling for city control of the subways. He says “losing Andy would be a tremendous loss . . . In Andy We Trust.”

“The governor can’t stand a competitor for praise,” an MTA insider added. “It’s really a very bad situation, but Andy takes it well.”  VERONICA VANTERPOOL, an MTA board member said she was worried about losing Andy Byford – “I’m fearful that now we have someone who has worked so tirelessly to restore public confidence. If he leaves, it would be a significant setback for the agency.”

<PHOTO – New York Times Magazine>

<The MTA is responsible for much more than subways, and ANDY BYFORD is its CEO>

As for ANDY himself, whose fans are legion within the MTA – “I love New York, I love this job, I believe in this system, I believe in this agency, and I’m here for the very long haul.”

DON’T EVER LET POLITICIANS PLAY TRAINS WITH YOUR TRANSIT SYSTEM.

BOARDED UP FOR OVER 100 YRS., MASSEY HALL’S STAINED GLASS WINDOWS WILL SOON FACE THE SUN

There are 93 of them altogether. They were so dirty and encrusted in grime, that no one even knew they existed. But now, thanks to a team of five glaziers from TORONTO’s EGD Glass and Vitreous Glass, this vast array of stained glass is getting a second chance.  <PHOTO ABOVE – boarded up Massey Hall windows before renovations began>

Restoration expert EVE GUINAN, in an interview with David Friend of The Canadian Press, said “pigeons had gotten between the glass and the plywood, and it was full of straw and all sorts of material for nesting. There were bird skeletons, old beer bottles. It was quite a treasure trove.”<PHOTO – Chris Young, The Canadian Press>  Subject matter – portraits of legendary composers & musicians decades ago.

<PHOTO – Chris Young, The Canadian Press; holding Johann Sebastian Bach’s headMs. Guinan’s team dismantles each window, washes them and reassembles them. The painting cannot be modified. Touch-ups are made on another layer of glass on top of the original. For protection against the elements all of them will be placed behind a layer of clear glass.

<PHOTO – Chris Young – the original stained glass portraits of Franz Shubert and Charles Gounod on a light table.>

Another layer of soundproof glass will keep out street noises. On top of all that, blackout blinds will close off the windows during concerts.  The revitalization project of MASSEY HALL will be finished in 2020. The budget – $139-million, contributed by the federal and provincial governments, the city, developers and private donors.  “We don’t have to knock it down and build something new,” says Eve Guinan, with relief.

<Interior of MASSEY HALL, the “Old Lady of Shuter Street”, before renovations began>

NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE, AND WE THOUGHT IT ALWAYS WOULD BE

The medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité was built between 1160 and 1260, making it one of the world’s oldest and finest examples of French Gothic architecture. <PHOTO – Eduard Baldus, 1860’s>

It’s so much a part of France that embedded in the square outside is Paris Point Zero, marking the centre of the city and the country itself.  Now that the roof and other parts have been destroyed by fire, the world is mourning the loss of the treasures sheltered there – the enormous stained glass windows, sculptural decorations, the organ and altar (saved), the roof, the spire (destroyed), the paintings and religious collections.<Front page ’24 Minutes’, PARIS, April 16/2019>  The destruction of Our Lady of Paris comes at a time when the city itself has seen some of the world’s most vicious acts of terrorist violence. France is badly divided in 2019, but in the face of all this, PARIS will survive – as it has through the French Revolution and two world wars.<Front page, Le Journal de Montréal, Quebec, April 16/2019>  President Emmanuel Macron has announced that Notre-Dame will be rebuilt, stating “it’s part of the fate, the destiny of FRANCE, and our common project over the coming years. I am committed to it.”<Front page, Toronto Star, April 16/2019>

<Editorial cartoon by GRAEME MACKAY, Hamilton Spectator, April 16/2019>

THE ‘GIANTS’ ARE AT THE BORDERS OF TORONTO’S EXCLUSIVE YORKVILLE NEIGHBOURHOOD

Once a separate village, annexed by TORONTO in 1883, YORKVILLE is one of the city’s ritziest neighbourhoods – which isn’t entirely good. The money-making potential of properties in the village is coveted by developers, and lately they’ve begun some serious nibbling around the edges.

YORKVILLE is home to some of TORONTO’s most expensive condominiums, starting at over a million dollars and ascending from there. Two subway stations are nearby, Canada’s largest museum is around the corner, and up-scale Bloor Street West’s shopping is next door. Brand names from Bloor have been spilling over into Yorkville for some time now.  <ABOVE – taking in the scene at Bloor and Bay Streets>

<ABOVE – the Royal Ontario Museum is having some work done.>

<ABOVE – almost finished a new condominium tower at Cumberland and Avenue Road>  FORTUNATELY though, much of Old Yorkville remains – for now anyway. It’s a truly beautiful neighbourhood, perfect for pedestrians and urban explorers.  The construction cranes aren’t yet everywhere.  May it ever be so.

REAL ESTATE BROKER, DUNCAN FREMLIN, THANKS THE MAN WHO SAVED TORONTO’S CABBAGETOWN

<WILLIAM DENISON, former mayor, TORONTO Public Library photoDUNCAN FREMLIN, Broker, RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. – “From 1967 to 1972, WILLIAM DENISON was Mayor of TORONTO. During his time in office, swaths of (Victorian) Cabbagetown were bulldozed in favour of the St. James Town high rises, and if (Denison) had his way, the rest of the neighbourhood would soon follow.  “In March/1978, City Council approved a sweeping expansion of St. James Town South, along Ontario, Bleecker & Wellesley Streets to Carlton.”  Then-mayor JOHN SEWELL disapproved.

<JOHN SEWELL, Mayor of TORONTO 1978-1980>  “Under JOHN SEWELL’s leadership, this project was, fortunately, stopped. Mr. Sewell (who was not above lying down in front of demolition equipment) and his associates saved what is now – a unique and precious neighbourhood.” – Parliament Street News, April/2019

‘STACKT’, CANADA’S LARGEST SHIPPING CONTAINER MARKET & CULTURAL SPACE IS NOW OPEN

<The site under construction. Photo courtesy ASTOUND>  LGA Architectural Partners have designed a two-block, 2.4-acre site on city-owned land at Bathurst and Front Streets. TORONTO is planning to eventually turn the space into a public park, but for now it’s pop-up shops, food and beverage vendors & an onsite brewery, mixed in with courtyards, pedestrian paths, and open spaces for community programming and events.

STACKT’s physical structure can be picked up and moved elsewhere – in a different configuration – at a future date. That’s the genius behind the project, leaving the site unscathed.

<A one-container retail unit. Photo courtesy ASTOUND design-buildTo quote JANNA LEVITT at LGA Architectural Partners “Retailers are looking for unique physical spaces and experiential opportunities for their customers. Shipping containers suggest an unusual and immersive retail experience while also offering a practical and sustainable building solution.” – CANADIAN ARCHITECT<Belgian Moon brewery anchors the site. Photo courtesy Pomp & Circumstance>

EVERY TIME I PASS THAT ‘CHUM’ NEON SIGN ON RICHMOND W., IT TAKES ME BACK TO COLLEGE DAYS

1050 CHUM (50,000 watts) played Top 40 Hits from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, then switched to an oldies format with music from 1989 to 2009. Next came a sports format, and in 2011 it became TSN Radio 1050, and now the format has switched to news, and the station is known as CP24 Radio 1050.

CHUM-FM at 104.5 began broadcasting on September 1, 1963. It was the first private TORONTO station to play classical music all day long. On July 1st, 1968 it switched to progressive rock. Until 2009 it was the most listened-to and influential radio station in Canada. Now, with its transmitter on top of the CN Tower, CHUM-FM features an adult contemporary format. It’s still one of TORONTO’s most popular radio stations.  There is a CHUM Memorial Blog from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.  You’ll find it at – http://wp1050chumto.blogspot.com/p/1050-chum-djs-of-1960s-and-70s.html

DREAM WEAVER PREMIER DOUG FORD, ANNOUNCES A $28.5-BILLION TRANSIT ‘PHANTASMAGORIA’

<$28.5-billion total cost; $11.2-billion covered by Queen’s Park; $17-billion by the city & the federal government; 15-kilometres, length of new Ontario line to be completed in 2027; $5.5-billion cost of 3-stop Scarborough extension to be built by 2030> – Toronto Star, April 11/2019>  Is it possible? Will it ever be built . . . and paid for? Many Torontonians are skeptical, but Premier Ford says he’s going full speed ahead on transit in the Greater TORONTO Area (GTA).

“It’s going to be the largest infrastructure transit project in North America. It’s going to be $28.5 billion that we’re looking to invest to get people moving from Point A to Point B.  “That’s just the transit side. We have some fabulous ideas for the Queen Elizabeth Way and the Gardiner Expressway, as well as the 401 because not every single person hops on the subways. But we’re going to have an incredible transit system and a transportation system to get people moving and get people from Point A to Point B, but get goods from Point A to Point B,” the premier said in BURLINGTON earlier this week.

Getting from Point A to Point B will mean a massive withdrawal from the provincial treasury, which is already weighed down by a $13-billion overdraft. Is there a flying pig somewhere in the neighborhood?  Federal Finance Minister BILL MORNEAU says he wasn’t consulted, and TORONTO’s mayor JOHN TORY was kept in the dark until the last moment. It was DOUG FORD’s show.  <IMAGE ABOVE – Spacing Magazine>

IS THE PROVINCE CAPABLE OF BUILDING TRANSIT IN TORONTO? – “NO!” SAYS EX-MAYOR DAVID MILLER

DAVID MILLER, mayor of TORONTO from 2003 to 2010 wonders if ONTARIO has the knowledge and skills needed to build a $28.5-billion transit system. His conclusion – not very likely.

In point form, Mr. Miller’s reasoning . . .
#1 – Premier Doug Ford believes in cars.
#2 – Conservatives have a legacy of transit destruction in TORONTO.
#3 – We’re mired in talk about building subways that never arrive.
#4 – Subways need density; LRT’s medium density.
#5 – Provincial track record on transit is simply awful.
#6 – Outsiders shouldn’t be deciding TORONTO’s transit future.
#7 – Rapid transit knowledge rests with the TTC – not Queen’s Park.
#8 – Public-private partnerships seldom work.
#9 – The Scarborough subway extension has become a political football.  And #10 – “The TTC is owned by the people of TORONTO and needs to be planned and run in their interest by the people they elect, not by the province, and certainly not by this premier.”

<Present Mayor JOHN TORY (L) and DAVID MILLER; Toronto Sun photoDAVID MILLER is a lawyer, environmentalist, former mayor of TORONTO, and former CEO of the World Wildlife Fund-Canada. He is currently Director, International Diplomacy for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.