THE LAST OF TORONTO’S JOY OIL GAS STATIONS PASSES THE TIME BEHIND A CHAIN LINK FENCE

They were such winsome little things, created in DETROIT by Charles and Margaret Austin in 1928. The first one arrived in TORONTO in 1936. It began selling gas for a few cents less per gallon than its competitors. Law suits from the big trusts weren’t far behind as JOY OIL spread across the city.The architecture was based on movie sets from Disney’s 1937 film ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’In the 1950’s the company ceased operations, and all of TORONTO’s – except the one at Lakeshore and Windermere Avenue – shut down. It was moved across the road, renovated between 2006 and 2008, and locked behind a chain link fence. There it remains.The hope is that someone somewhere will rescue the little station. There have been proposals from a food service company to a bike rental shop – but the castle is still waiting.

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THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO IS PLANNING A NEW TOWER FOR ITS ST. GEORGE CAMPUS

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.

LOOKING FOR A $3,000,000 TORONTO CITY CENTRE HOUSE? WELL OPPORTUNITY IS KNOCKING.

This tall, skinny house is on the market and just might sell. Depending on who you talk to, the property near Dundas St. E. and Broadview Ave. “is either a wonder of modern architecture well worth that amount, or an ugly, overpriced monstrosity.”<Toronto Star Housing Reporter DONOVAN VINCENT; photo – ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE>

The details – list price $2,999,000; 3 bedrooms, 6 baths; taxes $2,707; parking spaces – 1; land size 15 x 86 feet. <Photo above – the Wright Sisters GroupThe listing refers to the home as “truly unique” and a “modern marvel with four levels of functional minimalism.”

<The house and its neighbourhood – DAVE DUNVILLE, Vimeo>

CHALLENGING TORONTO’S PLANNING POLICIES – A TRIPLE DUPLEX BY BATAY-CSORBA ARCHITECTS

These days TORONTO is breaking its architectural mold, and this Triple Duplex is one possible example. The design was created in response to a challenge from Globe and Mail architecture critic ALEX BOZIKOVIC, who invited four firms to submit models that challenge the city’s housing policies. The Triple Duplex is one of them.

Batay-Csorba Architects said the TORONTO metropolitan area has 6-million residents, and that number is expected to double by 2041. There’s a need for creative housing solutions, and this low-rise building would contain six units, requiring two adjacent lots. The duplexes would be placed back-to-back – with one in the front, one in the middle and one in the rear.

“When viewed from the street, the building’s sensitive massing is in keeping with the small-scale charm of the neighbourhood and disguises its density with that of the context,” the team said. – renderings by NORM LI

SOMETHING VERY BIG & DISTINCT IS MOVING ONTO KING STREET WEST – IT’S BEEN APPROVED

Developed by WESTBANK and ALLIED PROPERTIES, the design of this project differs from any other in the downtown core or anywhere else in TORONTOBIG, a Copenhagen, New York and London based group of architects, designers, urbanists, landscape professionals, interior and product designers, researchers and inventors, will create this assemblage of structures from 489 to 533 King Street West.  “With KING STREET WEST, we wanted to find an alternative to the tower and podium you see a lot of in TORONTO, and revisit some of MOSHE SAFDIE’s revolutionary ideas. But rather than a utopian experiment on an island (as in Montreal), it will be in the heart of TORONTO. It would be strange if one of the most diverse cities in the world had the most homogenous architecture.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

SIMPLE TOOLS, GREAT SKILL AND ARTISTRY GAVE ONTARIO THE SHARON TEMPLE

You’ll need a car to reach the SHARON TEMPLE, a National Historic Site in the Village of Sharon, roughly an hour’s drive northeast of TORONTO.  Built from 1825-1832 by a small religious community known as The Children of Peace (former Quakers), the site encompasses 9 historic buildings in a park-like setting.Completed in 1832 and restored in 2011, The Temple is located at 18,974 Leslie Street, East Gwillimbury Townshiphttp://www.sharontemple.ca or 905-478-2389.  COLOUR PHOTOS – http://www.smallhomebigstart.com
Other buildings on the site – David Willison’s Study, 1829;  Ebenezer Doan House of 1819; the “cookhouse” where communal meals were served; the “drive shed” with its period carriages; and David Willson’s round outhouse.

<PHOTOS ABOVE – The Sharon Temple in 1860 and 1900>

ICONIC ONE SPADINA CRESCENT, 143-YEARS-OLD, NOW HOUSES U. OF T.’S ASPIRING ARCHITECTS

<PHOTO ABOVE – One Spadina when it was KNOX COLLEGE from1875-1915>

Thanks to the University of TORONTO and the foresight of John H. Daniels, the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design has a sparkling new home. The old neo-Gothic building with its spires, peaks and turrets has been thoroughly renovated and connects to a new, award-winning northern wing.

<PHOTO One Spadina under construction, Jasonzed/urbantoronto.ca>

Designed by architect James Avon Smith, a specialist in religious buildings, the structure housed the Presbyterians’ Knox College from 1875 to 1915. During World War I it reopened as the Spadina Military Hospital for wounded soldiers. Amelia Earhart was among the nurses.

<PHOTO ABOVE – the view from One Spadina, by Ross Winter, architect/photographer>. When the war ended, the building was converted into provincial government offices. Then came the first calls for straightening Spadina Avenue and a proposal for a circular arena complex. Next occupant in 1943 – Connaught Laboratories, producing penicillin and training scientists and lab technicians.  Escaping demolition for the never-completed Spadina Expressway, One Spadina’s tenants included the university’s fine arts and sociology departments, a student newspaper, an eye bank, a low-level radioactive waste storage facility, and the campus parking office.

<PHOTO ABOVE – the new northern wing, now part of One Spadina The building received an Architectural Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in New York (AIANY)>

<PHOTO – © John Horner, courtesy American Institute of Architects (AIA)>

One Spadina’s Eye Bank got the attention of Matt E., a former student “I’d heard rumours about the eye bank in there and it always gave me the creeps, mainly because I just imagined some dark little room with shelves covered in disembodied eyeballs.”  The old building was also the site of one unsolved murder, and an accidental Hallowe’en death when a young woman fell off the roof.  <PHOTO ABOVE – Ross Winter, architect/photographer>