It’s a great opportunity for those with a camera, and without a car. There are photographic opportunities around almost every corner. With 103 construction cranes now at work, buildings are going up and coming down amazingly fast.The cityscape is evolving. A good case can be made for either liking it or lumping it. Walking is one of the best ways to take in these rapid changes. The good news is that many heritage buildings are being passed over – or at least their facades are being saved. Take your bike out on a Sunday morning and be prepared for a surprise.
<Laura Muntz, ‘The Pink Dress’, 1897, oil on canvas, private collection, Toronto> The National Gallery’s Senior Curator, KATERINA ATANASSOVA, said: “To me, this period is the most important period in the history of Canadian art.”<ABOVE – Clarence Gagnon, ‘Old Houses’, Baie-Saint-Paul, 1912, oil on canvas, private collection, Toronto> Ms. Atanassaova said the Canadian style of Impressionism is different because of our northern climate. The light of Canada differs from the light one would find in a warm Mediterranean climate. Also, Canadian artists often had to work very quickly, because their fingers were in danger of freezing if they didn’t.<ABOVE – Helen McNicoll, ‘Sunny September’, 1913, oil on canvas, private collection, Toronto> For the record – more than a thousand attended on opening night. ‘Canadian Impressionism’ will be on display in Munich until November 19th. Then it moves on to Lausanne, Switzerland, and from there to Montpellier, France. In the fall of 2020 the tour will come to an end at home base in Ottawa – then we’ll get to see it.
MOSES ZNAIMER, owner of CFZM (AM740) : “People today are not aging the way they did 20, 40, 60 years ago. We’re not aging the way our parents did and we’re certainly not aging the way our grandparents did.” With this in mind, he has created a radio station unlike any other in Greater TORONTO.AM740 has a huge footprint – from Southern Ontario deep into the United States. It occupies both AM & FM frequencies. For those who long for the ‘good old days’ of big bands, comedy and drama, starlight serenades, Peggy Lee, Anne Murray, Eddie Fisher, the Supremes, Elvis, Bing Crosby, etc. – CFZM is where it’s at.<The HAPPY GANG on the morning show – Neil, Sam and Jane><Morning NEWS ANCHOR – Jane Brown><AFTERNOONS WITH Norm Edwards><NORM’S CO-HOST – the fun-loving Eva D.><‘FIGHT BACK’ with Libby Znaimer – one of TORONTO’s most civilized talk shows><Night time belongs to ROBBIE LANE and the hits of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s>
Cinemas make neighbourhoods, and The Paradise is fortunately in comeback mode after near demolition in 2007. Thanks go to the design & construction crew – and vintner MORAY TAWSE who bought the building in 2012.As time passed, the exterior was plastered with tags and graffiti – not a pleasant sight for those who passed by 1006 Bloor Street West. <PHOTO – Andre Sousa Photography>Rebuilding is a slow process, but the end is coming soon, and the finished building should be fully functional in 2019. The 218 seats (formerly 400) will hopefully fill up for live music, talk series, comedy, programming for kids, other events – and of course, movies.<PHOTOS ABOVE – @paradiseonbloor><PHOTO ABOVE by JASON WAGER . . . @jasonwager . . . @paradisecinema><PHOTO – the auditorium before the rebuild; Archives of ONTARIO> The theatre was designed in 1937 by TORONTO’s first Jewish architect, BENJAMIN BROWN (1890-1974), embellished by HAROLD KAPLAN and ABRAHAM SPRACHMAN a few years later.<ABOVE – the lobby, containing a rather quaint popcorn machine and not much else; Archives of ONTARIO> Plans are to make quality food and drinks available – one of the few cinemas in the city that will provide such customer services. The PARADISE joins another 10 or so restored neighbourhood cinemas – the first one to come on line in 2019 was the Grand Gerrard Cinema.
Development is underway, around the corner from Ryerson University, on a full block of Yonge Street from Gerrard East to Gould. This block and its sketchy past may soon have a bright future.An 85-storey streamlined condo tower will take the place of a pizza house, the Made in China restaurant, Cellar Tech, the Rio theatre, Remington’s male strip joint and a collection of other small businesses.The tower – YSL (Yonge Street Living) residences will be in one of the tallest buildings in the city. Living space will be mixed with retail and office space, designed for Cresford Developments by New York’s Kohn Pedersen Fox.Several historic storefronts along Yonge Street will remain, as well as the former home of the Evergreen Yonge Street Mission. <PHOTO – The Varsity>The S. Williams Block (above) at 363-365 Yonge will be reconstructed with new materials to match the existing facade.Plans are to keep the stone Gerrard Building, which at one time housed Child’s Restaurant downstairs and CBC television offices upstairs.The neighbourhood has a perfect Transit Score 100 out of 100, and a perfect Walk Score of 99 out of 100.ABOVE – another remnant of the past – the RIO Cinema, which specialized in triple bills and untoward activities. It’s a neighbourhood that seldom sleeps. And now this significant part of the downtown strip, is on the way to reinventing itself..
Anyone who was watching television in the 1950’s would be familiar with the Indian Head Test Pattern. A service to technicians and tv repairmen, the pattern was visible with music until sign-on time around 4:00 pm. That’s when programming began, with sign off at midnight.In the 1950’s television was taking over. The only Canadian networks were the CBC and French-language Radio-Canada. A few local stations had connections to the national nets, but many did not. These small-market stations with many hours to fill, built their own star systems, and waited patiently for a microwave hookup. ABOVE – 1) Marconi television sets, 1950’s, made in Montreal; 2) CHEK-tv, Victoria, British Columbia – an advanced control room for 1957; 3) A Dumont studio camera, 1950’s; 4) The Dipsy Doodlers, CJON-tv, St. John’s, Newfoundland, 1957; 5) The Bunkhouse Boys, CKCW-tv, Moncton, New Brunswick, 1950’s. CBC’s nationally televised ‘Front Page Challenge’, on air from 1957-1995 ran long enough to set a North American record. <ABOVE – Pierre Berton, Fred Davis, Betty Kennedy & Gordon Sinclair on the ‘Front Page’ set.>Watching televsion soon replaced movie nights out, and in a few households TV Dinners were replacing home-cooked meals. Small market stations developed their own ‘star’ system. Familiar faces appeared in person at local food markets and at church on Sundays. <ABOVE – Nople Bircumshaw and the lion cub, CHCT-tv, Calgary, Alberta, 1957>ABOVE – 6)“At Home with Mary Ashwell”, CFPL-tv, London, Ontario, 1955; 7)Swimwear fashion show on CKCW-tv, Moncton, New Brunswick, 1957; 8) Channel ID’s featured station mascots.And then Videotape was born – a revolutionary new process for recording and reproducing the sound and picture of television programs on magnetic tape. Stations began buying the costly machines, and some programming was pre-recorded. – Ampex Corporation, 1957.
<PHOTOS – City of TORONTO Archives, 1980-90’s>