TORONTO HAS PUBLISHED TWO MORE CULTURAL LOOPS GUIDES – THE LATEST: ETOBICOKE & YORK

These are fine guide books with detailed descriptions, maps and photography – and they’re all free. ‘Explore York’ details several tours on foot or on a bike you could take in this part of the inner city. Everything from public art, historic buildings, places to eat and local wildlife are contained in the slick little books. Scarborough and North York are in the series as well. For more information – http://www.toronto.ca/culturalhotspot<Reggae Lane (2015), 1529 Eglinton Avenue celebrates the musical legacy of Little Jamaica. This 1200-square-foot mural was designed by local youth, under the mentorship of artist Adrian Hales.><Squibb’s Stationers (1927), 1974 Weston Road, is TORONTO’s oldest bookstore and third oldest stationers.><Weston Public Library, 2 King Street, built in 1913, is one of 10 TORONTO libraries funded by the Carnegie Foundation, based in New York. It features ornate decoration inside and outside.><Weston Plank Road Company, 2371 Weston Road, built in 1841. Plank roads were constructed from wooden planks or split logs to make roads smoother.><The former Odd Fellows Hall, 24 Church Street, was once a Methodist Episcopal church, and the Odd Fellows turned it into a lodge. Today, the building is a private residence.>

A USEFUL NEW SERVICE FOR TORONTO FILM BUFFS FROM ‘NOW MAGAZINE’ – MOVIE TIMES ONLINE

There’s a comprehensive list of showtimes, names of cinemas, listings and reviews – now available.  Just click on the titles for theatres and showtimes.  Keep the address handy – http://movies.nowtoronto.com/#/nowplaying.

VANCOUVER-BASED ARTIST, DINA GOLDSTEIN, HAS NEW SUBJECT MATTER – AMERICAN PRESIDENTS

Donald Trump – played by a woman – should be flattered. He’s the first of Ten Commandments in Ms. Goldstein’s new series. The President is in silk pyjamas preparing to finish off the next tweet, fast-food nearby, and the television going full blast. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me’ – the First Commandment.‘You shall not murder’, is the commandment showing President Abraham Lincoln in the hallway with abandoned jackets and book bags at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. All Ten Commandments can be seen online at this address – http://www.dinagoldstein.com/the-10-commandments

YOU’LL TAKE MANHATTAN? NOPE – MANHATTAN WILL TAKE YOU, WITH SOME HIGH-END CONDOS

On MANHATTAN, the golden isle, epicenter of all North American cities, there’s a surplus of luxury condos that could take more than six years to sell. In 2011, the average price of a new one was $1.15-million. By 2019, the average went up to $3.77-million, and with that, sales dropped. Monthly rentals in NYC now range from $1,140 to $2,229, which is very close to the TORONTO numbers – US dollars versus CAD’S of course. Top price for a 24,000-square-foot pied-a-terre near Central Park went for all of $240-million. Nearly half of new condos in Manhattan that came to market after 2015 – 3,695 units out of 7,727 – remain unsold, according to Nancy Packes Data Services. As well, about 79,000 people live in shelters, or on the streets of New York. <photo – S.L. Green, NYC>  In TORONTO the number of homeless people is estimated to be 19,000. In the two cities, skylines have changed dramatically but – in both cases – many of these new buildings just aren’t filling up. <photo – Trust Condos, Toronto>

A UNIQUE SCULPTURE ON LESLIE ST. IS A REMINDER OF KOREA’S SUFFERING WWII ‘COMFORT WOMEN’

PYEONGWAUI SONYEOSANG, otherwise known as the Comfort Woman, is out in the snow in front of the Korean Canadian Cultural Centre, 1133 Leslie Street. This replica, created by husband-and-wife team Kim Woo-Sung and Kim Suh-Kyung, commemorates the abducted women forced to ‘comfort’ the Japanese armed forces during the Second World War. Photos by RICHARD LONGLEY, NOW Magazine, February/2020

TORONTO, KNOWN AS A CITY OF CHURCHES, HAS FOUND NEW USES FOR SEVERAL OF THEM

   Written and photographed by RICHARD LONGLEY – With land so expensive in this city, and an ongoing need for new housing, some elderly churches have been turned into condos. The Third Church of Christ Scientist, 196 St. George Street, for instance now crouches beneath a 20-storey, 169-unit condo tower.College Street Baptist Church, 510 College Street, is one of Toronto’s most luxurious adaptations. Heritage brickwork and gargoyles have been conserved, and one unit sold for $10.95-million.Deer Park United, 26 Delisle, was partly demolished, leaving only its tower and sections of its side walls. Plans are for a 28-storey, 292-unit condo tower and town houses with stones from the demolished church incorporated into the walls.Howard Park Methodist, 384 Sunnyside, no concierge, pool or gym and walls that are four feet thick. An interesting mix of residents, and a congenial condo board.Bathurst Street United Church, 736 Bathurst St. was once a theatre, now it’s the Randolph Theatre and College, cited by the Ontario Heritage Trust as a prime example of adaptive use of places of worship. ‘From Churches to Condos’, NOW Magazine, June 6, 2019

IN THE VAST UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO COLLECTIONS – 200 YEARS OF VALENTINE’S DAY CARDS

The University of TORONTO’s Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library is sharing its new collection of Valentine’s Day cards.Numbering around 500, the cards date back to the 19th century, and were a gift from David Mason Books.The collection ranges from elaborate fold-out valentines and ones with moveable parts to cards the size of post-its.The collection will soon be available online. <PHOTOS – Laura Pedersen>