‘TRUE PATRIOT LOVE” FROM MANULIFE HQ., BLOOR ST. EAST @ JARVIS ST., REMEMBRANCE DAY/2017

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TORONTO’S WARTIME HOUSES HAVE BECOME UNAFFORDABLE IN A HOT REAL ESTATE MARKET

<NORTH YORK wartime housing, 1967>

Between 1941 and 1947 a crown corporation called Wartime Housing Limited built thousands of houses across Canada for war workers, veterans and their families. These Wartime Houses became some of Canada’s first suburban communities.

Wartime Houses are iconic architectural forms — a rectangle with a triangle on top. They were part of a government initiative to provide affordable rental homes to working class people.

<PHOTO ABOVE – NOW magazine>

There are three Wartime Housing sites in TORONTO. The houses are now privately owned, and many have been gentrified through additions and demolitions.

<PHOTO – National Film Board>

Artist MEAGHAN HYCKIE – “It does feel strange not to be able to afford a house in the East York neighbourhood of small, Second World War-era homes I grew up in.

“Does private home ownership and development result in a more livable city? Is a bigger house a better house? And what part should government play in suburban planning and building conservation?”

<PHOTO – Wartime Housing in Windsor, Ontario>

With that in mind, Ms. Hyckie has curated ‘A Reasonable Assurance of Permanency’ at TORONTO’s Urbanspace Gallery, 401 Richmond St. West, until January 6, 2018.

<Meaghan Hyckie is represented by the Olga Korper Gallery. A recent resident at the Banff Centre, her work is part of collections throughout Canada, the US and the UK.>

RELATIVELY EASY ACCESS TO WORK VISAS IS MAKING TORONTO ATTRACTIVE TO TECHNOLOGY EXPERTS

US President Donald Trump is delivering a gift to TORONTO by clamping down on the H-1B non-immigrant visa program. Under H-1B, 44% of foreign applicants have been denied entry to the United States in the last six months. Tech companies have often used this system to find potential employees internationally.

Eric Schmidt of Alphabet called this “the stupidest policy in the entire American political system.”

Under Canada’s non-immigrant program, TORONTO gained 22,500 new tech jobs in 2016, almost double that of SAN FRANCISCO.

The University of TORONTO, Canada’s largest, has become very much interested in technology and the students who go along with it. International applications there have increased by 25% this fall.

In the works at U of T – an increased emphasis on Artificial Intelligence.

RYERSON U’S CITY BUILDING INSTITUTE WONDERS IF TORONTO IS BUILDING THE RIGHT KIND OF CONDOS

The Greater TORONTO Area (GTA) condo boom has been underway now for over a decade. In the middle of 2017, development reached its highest level yet. Most of the new GTA homes are in buildings taller than 5 storeys.

“Bedrooms in the Sky”, a report released yesterday, examines what’s coming down the pipeline in the GTA over the next five years. Are we on target to meet the shift in housing demand as millennials get older and seek larger spaces, and baby boomers downsize from detached houses?

The GTA will need more family-oriented housing units in mid-rise and low-rise buildings – unlike the stock built during the past several years.

To read the report by Ryerson’s City Building Institute & Urbanation “Bedrooms in the Sky” go to https://www.citybuildinginstitute.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/FINAL-BedroomsInTheSky.pdf

BREAKING NEWS! THERE ARE TWO STONEHENGES IN THE WORLD – AND ONE IS IN NOVA SCOTIA

While in Nova Scotia last week I came across a micro-STONEHENGE in a MIDDLEBORO field. This version wasn’t created by Druids or slaves, but by NIGEL ALLEN, a Crown Attorney, who prosecuted some of the province’s most notorious criminal cases.

In 1997, looking for a way to relax after intense days in court and the office, Mr. Allen decided to create a traditional Scottish ‘circle’<PHOTO ABOVE – CBC Halifax>

The nearby Wallace Quarries, stone provider for Canada’s parliament buildings and government offices, had plenty of 6-10-ton rejects on hand. Twenty of them were placed in the field, arranged with the Spring Equinox and the movement of the sun in mind.

People began showing up and still do. Some named them The Twelve Apostles; a King Stone; a Queen Stone; maybe they were put there by extraterrestrials; a group of Wichens from Newfoundland popped by, played their drums and conducted rituals.

It’s one of many oddities you can find in NOVA SCOTIA and a good one. You just never know what lies down a red-dirt back country road.

<PHOTO OF THE STONES by Peter Smith/Amherst Head>

TORONTO’S VENERABLE MASSEY HALL IS ADDING TWO VENUES FOR UPCOMING MUSICIANS

Presently MASSEY HALL is fully occupied restoring 100 stained glass windows, building glass-walled walkways, demolishing one building & constructing another, and expanding its loading docks.

On the horizon, amongst all of this, will be two new music venues, one in each building – the largest will seat 250-500, and the other will be an intimate ‘coffee house’ performance space in a redesigned Centuries Lounge.

<MASSEY HALL, as it will be in 2020, with the new building in the rear>

IN A BIG CITY LIKE TORONTO ‘LITTLE THINGS’ CAN MAKE YOUR DAY – A FEW EXAMPLES

     <Queen West @ Abell Street>

<Bobbie Sue’s Mack & Cheese>

<Dalmation fireplug @ the Grosvenor Street Fire Station>

<Filmores Hotel and its ever-changing sign, Dundas Street East>

<Opposite side of a fence facing an Ossington subway platform>

<Shops of Don Mills>

<Sculpture at Concord City Place>

<Dressed for it on College Street West>

<Welcoming chicken at the Tollkeepers Museum, Bathurst Street @ Davenport Road>