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.”
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.>
We had photo radar once, but then Progressive Conservative premier, Mike Harris, cancelled it, saying it was a cash grab. Well folks, it’s back tomorrow (Monday, June 29) at 50 locations around TORONTO. The cameras will capture an image of speeding vehicles, and the owners will get a ticket in the mail. Anyone driving over 49km/hour will be hit with a whopping fine of $718.Indirectly, the coronavirus can be thanked for this. The virus cleared traffic off TORONTO’s major streets and boulevards – which seemed to be an open invitation to drive as fast as you can. Do it this coming week, and the city will reach deep into your wallet. It’s about time.
With warm weather upon us, and much of the city shut down, what better time than now to do some renovating? The Ontario government is doing precisely that at Queen’s Park. One thing about our federal and provincial governments – they preserve their aging hand-me-downs when it comes to buildings.
<ROSS arrived just in time to take this picture in REGENT PARK, before the crane changed its positioning.>
Now the Bike Share system is getting much bigger, expanding into 30 new neighbourhoods. Adding 160 stations and 1,850 bikes to the system, it will span 200 km2 in TORONTO. As well, more bike lanes will soon be put into place.After years of debate, the powers-that-be are now paying attention to cyclists, their needs and the city’s needs. This is at least one positive outcome from the coronavirus.
Both Canada & the United States added employment gains in May, which came as a surprise to economists in both countries.
<‘GOING UP! Is a CBC children’s book about an elevator ride to a birthday party, written by Sherry J. Lee; illustrated by Charlene Chua, available on Amazon>
<‘BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF TORONTO‘, looking northwest, postcard, 1914><YONGE/DUNDAS SQUARE, Gil Meslin @g.meslin, 2018><CN TOWER & ROUNDHOUSE PARK, Toronto Railroad Historical Association><MARKHAM HOUSING/2004, Tony Bock/Toronto Star><SPRAYING DURING GYPSY MOTH INFESTATION, May & June/2017><SNOW & ICE STORM, Pearson International Airport, 9:30 am, April 15/2018><CASA LOMA, Toronto’s castle, in the foreground; city in background. Photo by @zenomads . . . . #StreetsOfToronto, 2020>
Toronto-Dominion Chief Executive BHARAT MASRANI has praised Canadian leaders for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic more quickly than their U.S. counterparts. “New York is going through a really rough patch,” he said. “The pandemic peak is going to probably come earlier, but it’s going to be much steeper and a higher peak than what people were expecting.””Mr. Masrani spent seven years running the Bank’s U.S. operations, with 26,000 employees. The situation he sees unfolding in New York City is having a “deep psychological impact” on one of the world’s leading financial centres, he said. “Every day it changes, based on new data.” Toronto-Dominion (TD) has more branches along the U.S. eastern seaboard – 1,200 of them – than in all of CANADA. Mr. Masrani said New York City is like the Bank’s second home, which means TD will be on the front lines helping American customers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.Mr. Masrani: “We have this motto at TD for many years now that we don’t make bad loans during good times, in order to allow us to make good loans in bad times.” Having been the Bank’s former chief risk officer, he knows what he’s talking about. <Information above is from the Globe and Mail’s ‘Report on Business’, by Andrew Willis & James Bradshaw, April 4/2020>
Thanks to collaboration among researchers from Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, McMaster University in Hamilton and the University of Toronto the agent responsible for the outbreak of COVID-19 has been isolated. The team was able to culture the virus from two clinical specimens in a Level 3 containment facility. <PICTURED ABOVE – left to right, Dr. Robert Kozak, Dr. Samira Mubareka, Dr. Arinjay Banerjee>“We need key tools to develop solutions to this pandemic. While the immediate response is crucial, longer-term solutions come from essential research into this novel virus,” said Dr. Samira Mubareka, microbiologist and infectious diseases physician at Sunnybrook. “Researchers from these world-class institutions came together in a grassroots way to successfully isolate the virus in just a few short weeks,” said Dr. Rob Kozak, clinical microbiologist at Sunnybrook. “It demonstrates the amazing things that can happen when we collaborate. Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork,” he said.