COULD DRIVE-IN THEATRES BE A FILL-IN ANSWER TO CINEMAS – DURING THIS PANDEMIC?

In all of Canada there are only 52 drive-in theatres left, down from 250. In the United States there are 336, where there once were 4,000. Surprisngly there are quite a few drive-ins scattered around the Greater TORONTO Area.  For a different kind of movie experience – watching the sun go down and seeing a first-run feature on a giant screen – add a ‘drive-in night out’ to your bucket list.<The Mustang Drive-In, GUELPH>  Today there are drive-ins in Toronto, Hamilton, Barrie, Newmarket, London, Guelph, Oakville, Newmarket and Port Hope. In the not-so-distant past the city by itself had 10 of them, but with urban sprawl, increasing land values, and $80,000 to install one digital projector, most have found the operating costs crippling.<Port Hope Drive-In was built in 1952.  It’s still going strong.  PHOTO – Terry Lagler>  “I can’t make a drive-in look sexy at two in the afternoon. But when the sun goes down, and the kids are on the swings, and you can smell the popcorn and the neon comes alive, it really is quite special.” – BRIAN ALLEN, president of Premier Operating Drive-Ins<The Polson Pier driving range and drive-in, Port Lands, TORONTO>

FIRST REPORTED HERE ON FEBRUARY 22/2019, U OF T’S PLAN FOR ‘GATEWAY’ JUST MIGHT HAPPEN – UH, OH!

February 22, 2019 – The University of TORONTO plans a ‘gateway’ addition to Downtown’s Cultural Corridor. It’s under consideration by U of T’s governance, and could replace the former McLaughlin Planetarium, closed in 1995.The architects are Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who were behind New York City’s High Line & the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.The project will be home to the School of Cities, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, the Institute of Islamic Studies, the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies and the Archaeology Centre. It will also provide facilities for the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Music.A recital hall with a large window will look out on the Toronto skyline. Above the hall – there’ll be a 400-seat event space with similar skyline views. A café will be opened on the ground floor and the designers will include a multi-storey atrium leading up to the recital hall.  <Renderings by bloomimages, courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro>OBJECTIONS are piling up, now that development is a real possibility. One of them comes from Ross Winter, B.Arch, M.Arch, MCP – “The Robarts Library (aka ‘Fort Book’) was a notable example of an inappropriate building thrust upon the community by the University of Toronto – inappropriate in form, scale, and materials.  Efforts are only now being made to humanize or better integrate it with its surroundings . . . “This proposal is fronted by Queen’s Park and backed by Philosopher’s Walk, meaning it will stand out like a sore thumb and not be absorbed into adjacent streetscapes.    The design here is overwrought and the site overbuilt. I urge the decision makers, at all levels, to reject the proposal.”

THERE’S STILL REAL MONEY IN TORONTO REAL ESTATE. INTEGRAL HOUSE SELLS FOR $18,000,000.

One of the most famous houses in TORONTO and North America has just sold for $18-million, along with a $13-million home in Forest Hill, and a $9-million condominium in Yorkville. In this pandemic market, these would seem to be all positive signs. Integral House was commissioned by the late mathematician and musician JAMES STEWART. Five storeys tall, it was finished in 2009, built into the side of a Rosedale ravine. It cost around $24-30-million to build, plus an additional $5.4-million for the original home which was torn down. GLENN LOWRY, director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, calls the house “one of the most important private houses built in North America.”  The 18,000-square-foot curvaceous home has 5 floors, a concert space, a stairwell ensconced in handblown blue glass, and heated limestone floors. It took six years to build. The concert space seats 150. Small theatre groups, music festivals, dance companies and fashion designers have all used the house for fundraisers and/or concerts.  JAMES STEWART passed away on Wednesday, December 3/2014 from a rare form of cancer. “My books and my house are my twin legacies. If I hadn’t commissioned the house, I’m not sure what I would have spent the money on,” he once said.  <INTERIOR PHOTOS by James Dow, Edmonton, Alberta>

WE MADE THE LIST – CANADA IS ON THE PRELIMINARY LIST FOR NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL TO EUROPE

From The Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver – “From today, Wednesday, July 1st, Canadians will be allowed to go on European vacations. The European Union is expected to approve business and leisure travel from 14 countries, excluding the United States.“On the preliminary list – Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. The United States, Russia, Brazil & India did not make the EU list.”  The four of them had the most confirmed cases of COVID-19.>