Constructed for about $150,000 in 1894, now undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, TORONTO’s oldest concert hall and National Historic Site will soon be making yet another debut.Behind the tarps and iron fencing the MASSEY HALL crews are fully occupied restoring 100 stained glass windows, building glass-walled walkways, renovating the old building & constructing a new one, along with modern loading dock facilities, new artist dressing rooms and improved technical facilities for large touring productions. It’s one busy place at 92 Shuter Street.On the horizon, amongst all of this, will be two new music venues, one in each building – the largest will seat 500, and the other will be an intimate ‘coffee house’ performance space in a redesigned Centuries Lounge. The main concert hall will seat over 2,000. Retractable seating will allow wide-open, general admission floor space.MASSEY HALL’s last major renovation took place in 1948. Financed by the federal and provincial governments as well as the city, this one will be over the top. <RENDERINGS – Massey Hall>
FOR YOUR INFORMATION – This unusual boat measured 125 by 25 feet. There was an opening at each end where people could board. The inside remained stationary, while the outer casing, equipped with small paddle-like projections, revolved around it. This allowed the ship to roll sideways along the surface of the water like a rolling pin.
<PHOTO ABOVE – the inventor of the Roller Boat, FRED KNAPP>
In 1897, while a large crowd was watching, the ship demonstrated a top speed of 5 miles per hour in TORONTO Bay. The idea was dropped because the vessel was too slow and very expensive. <PHOTO above – City of Toronto Archives; WATERCOLOUR below by THOMAS HARRISON WILKINSON, 1847-1949>
I had planned to be on my way tomorrow (Saturday) to NOVA SCOTIA, but Mother Nature had other plans. She cut me off with the unpredictable forthcoming arrival of Hurricane Dorian. <BELOW – Hurricane Dorian forecast track and intensity, editorial cartoon by MICHAEL DE ADDER, The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, Nova Scotia><“As you can see, this hurricane could have hit Alabama.” MICHAEL DE ADDER, cartoonist with the Halifax Chronicle Herald said:“You know that hurricane Trump thought was going to hit Alabama. It looks like it’s going to hit my house instead.”, September 6/2019>
The Weather Network, Friday afternoon, September 6th – “A hurricane watch covers all of Nova Scotia as Dorian begins its trek towards Atlantic Canada. It is currently a Category 1 storm and will gain speed today as it heads for Nova Scotia. Landfall will likely be just east of HALIFAX. Strong winds, rain and storm surges are expected on Saturday.”
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.
Even people who live at One Bloor Street East may not know who created their condo’s sculpture. <ABOVE – Night time design proposal, Ron Arad Studio>The installed sculpture is 88 feet tall, and consists of two 31-metre stacks of intertwined metal tubing, looking as if it’s climbing the building, and occupying a smallish space where Bloor meets Yonge.The artist, RON ARAD, industrial and architectural designer, was born in Tel Aviv in 1951. He’s a busy man, and his work occupies public spaces in London, Tokyo, Seoul, Milan, Tel Aviv, Singapore – and now TORONTO. On a much smaller scale, Mr. Arad has also designed perfume bottles, bookshelves, memorials, and eyewear.The title ‘Safe Hands’ refers to the safety you’ll feel once you’re inside this building at the corner of Yonge and Bloor Street East.
<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.
TORONTO’s articulated light rail (ALRV) streetcars have laboured long and hard since the late 1980’s. They weren’t expected to live so long, but they have, thanks to a huge investment by the TORONTO Transit Commission. Once there were 52 of them, and now only a couple remain in service. And those two take their last rides on Monday, September 2nd. One will head west from the Russell Carhouse near Queen E. & Greenwood Ave.; the other will depart from Bathurst and Wolesley Streets. The very last departure will be from the Wolesley Loop to the Russell Carhouse. Rides are free from 2:00 to 5:00 pm.