IN THE FALL OF 1987 I WAS IN PARIS STUDYING FRENCH, WHEN UP POPPED AN EXHIBIT CELEBRATING TORONTO

MADELEINE CZIGLER, McLeans Magazine, October 28/1987 (edited) – “Opening for the next two weeks – an architectural celebration of TORONTO the Beautiful. Le Nouveau Nouveau Monde (The New New World), the first show about a foreign city in the spacious headquarters of the French Order of Architects.The exhibit featured the Toronto-Dominion Centre and 18 other projects built since 1965, that have won rave reviews from French journalists and architects. Remi Lopez, president of the French Order praised TORONTO as “an exemplary showcase for the harmonious blending of the old with the new.”<I Xeroxed a bunch of newspaper articles published in Le Monde,  and distributed them to my French class.> The influential Paris daily wrote that Toronto has integrated “comfort, urban scale and the mixture of functions. It’s a city ahead of its time.” The show was organized by Toronto architects Ruth Cawker and George Baird, and urban planner George Kapelos, who said “There has been an explosion on all levels in Toronto.”  Up to then, Montreal was the city that the French public associated with Canada.<PHOTO ABOVE – Toronto in the 1980’s>  With this show, French awareness of TORONTO architects had increased dramatically. Frédérique Boitard, for one, who studied urban planning and architecture at the University of Toronto, who was then developing the site of Europe’s first Disneyland outside Paris, said “There has been an explosion on all levels in Toronto. It’s time for me to visit the city again.”

FRENCH ACTOR, JACQUES TATI, FORESAW THE FUTURE IN HIS 1967 COMEDY MASTERPIECE ‘PLAYTIME’

Given the forest of high-rise office & condo buildings in downtown TORONTO, ‘Playtime’ seems like an appropriate copy.  It’s set partly in a PARIS glass and steel office building.Jacques Tati (playing Monsieur Hulot) arrives for an important meeting, but gets lost in a maze of rooms, ending up in a trade exhibition of lookalike office designs and furniture.The old Paris touch is a brief reflection of the Eiffel Tower in a glass window. A heritage structure if there ever was one.  ‘Playtime’ is a wonderful film.  <ABOVE – living in a grid of television screensHeavy traffic BELOW>

WHAT MUST BE THE SKINNIEST, PENCIL-THIN SKYSCRAPER IN MANHATTAN RISES UP

There can’t be more than one. Manhattan’s Central Park Tower on 57th Street will be the tallest residential building in the world when it’s finished. At 131 storeys and 1,550 feet, it would be the tallest building in New York City – if it wasn’t for the spire on top of One World Trade Center. When it’s completed in 2020, the tower will be home to a seven-floor Nordstrom and condominiums on the top.

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.

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.