TORONTO’S RESTAURANT INDUSTRY WILL SOON BE WELCOMING MICHELIN’S DINING GUIDE TO CANADA

We’ve waited a long time for Michelin, the French company, known for its famous Three-Star rankings. Dining out in Toronto will soon be joining up with the Michelin guide books in 30 countries around the world. It’s the first time for Canada. The travel guides were created in 1899 by the French tire company and cleverly planned to promote more demand for cars. According to admired chefs a One-Star rating is a high honour.  Around the world, just 136 restaurants hold elusive Three-Star ratings. They’re not easy to come by.
According to Ann Hui, National Food Reporter for The Globe and Mail wrote “Federal Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault and Toronto’s Mayor John Tory, will be among many others expected at Tuesday’s announcement, the sources said.”

PROBABLY MOST CANADIANS WOULD REMEMBER THE PHOTO BELOW, TAKEN ON APRIL 17, 1982.

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, signed Canada’s Constitutional Proclamation on April 17, 1982 as Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (father of Justin) looked on, along with Canada’s Minister of Justice,Jean Chrétien, and André Ouellet, Registrar General. The Proclamation brought Canada’s ‘Constitution Act, 1982′ into force, making our country wholly independent. <Photo from Canadian Press>

WHERE PARLIAMENT ST. MEETS DUNDAS ST. EAST YOU’LL FIND A GATHERING PLACE AND THE ARTS

Complete with Story Murals and the Toronto Council Fire Native’s Cultural Centre this community keeps on growing. The murals are connected with the Centre’s Spirit Garden Project, and it’s funded in part by Canadian Heritage and the Toronto Arts Council (TAC). Muralist Philip Cote <photo above> has painted Indigenous stories all across Toronto. Chances are you’ll come across Philip’s murals as this is a special time for our city’s “Year of Public Art” The Arts Council helps by animating the streets.  “Philip Cote, Anishinaabe-Algonquin, painter, historian, young spiritual elder and educator’s work could be found in public spaces big and small.  Thanks again, Philip.
Council Fire began in 1976 with a small group meeting for worship at St. Barnabas Church. They’d noticed increasing numbers of Native people were gravitating to the downtown core. Many were becoming homeless, and as a result began to attract and serve a client base of infants to seniors, as well as those new to Greater Toronto. The drop-in area in particular has become a popular place now to meet friends, have coffee and play bingo. Now the Council Fire is going through restructuring and revitalizing. The Cultural Centre in the future envisions providing the same level of quality support and services now as it grows along with the community.

‘HUGH’S ROOM LIVE’ MIGHT HAVE FOUND A NEW PLACE TO CALL HOME ON BROADVIEW AVENUE

The original ‘Hugh’s Room’ was established in Toronto’s West End Rochesvalles neighbourhood in 2001. It was a mixture of supper club and music room hosted by Odetta, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Richie Havens and Loudon Wainwright III, among many others. Then it began losing money in 2017 as it was turned into non-profit ‘Hugh’s Room Live’.  Three years later reality struck and Hugh’s left its home because the lease was beyond reach. The plan then became searching for space to purchase, and they thought they’d found one on Broadview Avenue, just south of Gerrard Street in the East End. One difficulty was dealing with property taxes, reduced 50% by the City for being a music venue for owners and operators.   Hugh’s’ had to face this until he had occupied the new building for one year. Raising $2-million would be a challenge for anyone these days, and surviving on arts music organizations that meant planning to do something innovative. If all works well a retired carpenter, Andrew Smith, devoted himself to live music, and was making miniature city music venues. He named one of them the old Hugh’s Room and some other silent venues with the name ‘Toronto, Lost Music City’. Will Broadview’s old church be a success? This may well be a triumph! There’s been good luck before for Hugh’s and there might be plenty more coming.

DOWNTOWN PROGRESS IN TORONTO CENTRE WITH HELP FROM CITY COUNCILLOR KRISTYN WONG-TAM

 

From Councillor Wong-Tam – “Over the last 12 months the Toronto Centre team responded to over 5,000 resident service requests. We launched several local campaigns – protecting tenant’s rights, saving small businesses, advancing cultural designation for the Church-Wellesley Village; and successful charge for Yonge/TOmorrow, and of course there’s more.”1) – Massey Hall Revitalization after 3 years. The entire revitalization will soon be part of a bigger facility called The Allied Music Centre, featuring a multi purpose, multi stage performance and education complex. 2) – Then there’s The  Downtown East Action Plan to get elevated levels of service to systemic issues such as neighbours’ homelessness, mental health and addiction crises, new funding for affordable and addition services – as well there’s needle pick-ups, and more Parks Ambassadors in a strong network across the ward. 3) – The Ontario brand of a much-needed new subway line proposed by the province, connecting The Science Centre to Exhibition Place – a long distance between those two. There’ll be 15 stations, including three in Toronto Centre. 4) – Improvements to the Glen Road Bridge and Tunnel across the Rosedale Valley Ravine. Work is expected to begin imminently and will last two years. 5) – The North Market Redevelopment is now underway! The St. Lawrence Market complex has been a city landmark for more than 200 years. It’s one of the most valuable historic sites in Toronto. Expected to be operational in 2023. 6) – And a few more . . . . Revitalization plan for Dundas and Sherbourne neighborhoods; St. James Town food hub; plus an Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. 22,000 square feet of office space downtown at 200 Dundas Street East. It will be the largest Indigenous innovation hub in the world.  And there you more or less have it. Thanks to City Councillor Kryistyn Wong-Tam, Ward 13, Toronto Centre.

AMONG OUR BIG CITIES, TORONTO & VANCOUVER BRING US LOW VACANCIES & HIGH-RISE RENTS

Vancouver, Canada’s West Coast metropolis within British Columbia, have both been inundated with floods, fires, windstorms and deaths over the past year. And yet the city kept on going, handling a second year of the pandemic. Still, this fine major city presented the lowest vacancy rate (1.2% in purpose-built rentals; 0.8% for rented condos; and highest rents up to $2,398. for a two – bedroom condo.) Toronto’s vacancy increased by 4.4% as some people left the city centre. Toronto’s metropolitan region of about six million added 1,609 purpose built rental units and 8,280 investor-held rental condos – about 37% of the 22, 280 condos completed overall in the last year. The CMHC report (Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation) implies that international migration will likely fuel growth in rental demand and place downward pressure on vacancy rates, assuming migration continues to recover from pre-COVID levels. – <Detailed information from DARRYL DYCK and both The Canadian Press and The Globe and Mail, February 19, 2022>

‘T3BAYSIDE’ ARE TO BE ULTIMATE TIMBER OFFICE BLDG’S NEAR TORONTO CENTRAL & THE LAKE

T3 will be the first of two heavy timber office buildings at Bayside that will be equipped with various amenities. It will be the ultimate contemporary, professional work environment and that’s saying a lot. There’ll be light-filled interiors, spectacular city and lake views, open floor plates that are highly efficient, ground level incorporating retail on all sides, shopping and restaurants, cultural venues and walking along the promenade at the water’s edge. When construction is totally finished this will be the tallest wooden office building in North America – and it’s on Toronto’s Queen’s Quay.   <Rendering below – T3BAYSIDE when it’s built.>

TORONTO IS BRIMMING OVER WITH STUDIOS, CREWS, FILM STARS, DESIGNERS, CAMERAS, MAKEUP & MORE.

How wonderful that all this is happening in our splendid city, with more to come. It’s a bit confusing, but the list below brings out what’s happening. Last night I went through Johanna Schneller’s lengthy list in The Globe and Mail. It’s quite a whopper.

On the Basin Media Hub $250-million, a complex with half-a-million studio spaces and offices; – Downsview Park Studios have a million square feet opening in 2024; – The U.S. company TPG Real Estate partners bought Cinespace, home to 23 production stages in Toronto and another 33 in Chicago; – These days even Toronto crews are being recognized at the Emmys and the Oscars.

Guillermo del Toro from Mexico lives in Los Angeles but works in Toronto where he’s known for his Academy Award Oscar for fantasy films “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Shape of Water”; – then the streaming services arrive with their entire television series; – the Ontario film and TV industry hosted 340 projects in 2019, took in $2.16-billion;created 44,540 jobs;

Netflix made deals early to rent eight ongoing stages at Pinewood and Cinespace – as many as nine productions at a time; – CBS managed getting a long term rental with a studio in Mississauga – another large city next door; – “Right now there is space available for spring and summer, but it’s slow”, according to Justin Cutler, the Ontario Film Commissioner. 50% of production remains domestic.

 

A $60-MILLION EXPANSION, PLUS A 6-FLOOR TOWER FOR ‘THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO’ MAY SOON BE REAL

The A.G.O. is looking for proposals to house Contemporary Art in one of Canada’s largest art galleries, just below The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  The A.G.O.’s street-level building in downtown Toronto will enclose a 55,000-square-foot expansion. On top of that the new tower will surround galleries of Contemporary Art on six levels. Manager of Public Relations, Andrea-Jo-Wilson said “The AGO needs more space to showcase works and to create opportunities for public engagement and learning. For the record, the AGO’s collection has grown by 20,210 works of art in the past 5 years.” Two other art-museum expansions are in the works right now – The Vancouver Art Gallery and The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia are in the process of designing expanded facilities.  <From Alex Bozikovic, Architect Critic, Globe and Mail. The photos are from Ellis Don.> 

THEY’RE AT IT. CONCORD SKY IS GEARING UP FOR THE FUTURE – WHERE YONGE MEETS GERRARD ST. E.

Here comes redevelopment of several small storefronts, south of Gerrard on Yonge Street, by Concord Adex, with plans calling for an eighty-four-storey tower featuring a mix of retail, office and residential space. Concord Sky at 391 Yonge St. is being designed by New York’s Kohn Pedersen Fox with architects Alliance of Toronto. Set for one of Canada’s tallest skyscrapers and designed by world-renowned KPF architects, Concord Sky provides unmatched views of the Toronto skyline and proximity to all the city has to offer.

“We put our name on Concord Sky and intend to be exceptional stewards of this property for future generations..”  said  Terry Hui, Concord Adex / Concord Pacific President and CEO (CNW Group/Concord Pacific.  Concord Sky’s prime downtown location at 391 Yonge will offer convenience as far as the eye can see when it’s completed in 2026.