One-time Mayor of TORONTO, president of the city’s horticultural society and long-time senator, GEORGE WILLIAM ALLAN donated a five-acre oval parcel of land to the city in 1858. It’s an early example of public philanthropy.

The botanical reserve was meant to be the centerpiece of a subdivision of villa estates – patterned after Regent Park in London & Gramercy Park in New York.

A rickety pavilion was built in the centre of the oval as a concert and horticultural venue.  It was torn down in 1878 and replaced by a grand three-storey enclosed structure.  <PHOTO – Toronto Public Library>

A tall, cascading fountain went up outside. Management of both the park and pavilion was passed on to the taxpayers of TORONTO.

ABOVE – a rare photo of the Horticultural Gardens photographed by OCTAVIUS THOMPSON and published in his “Toronto in the Camera” in 1868. The maple planted by the Prince of Wales, in 1860, is just to the left of the pavilion in front of the fence. <Toronto Reference Library>

Then the pavilion burned down, as a lot of buildings did in those days, replaced by today’s Palm House and conservatory.

For more information on Allan Gardens and its history –




St. Clair @ Yonge is a wealthy neighborhood in the heart of downtown, which over the years has lost its reason for being. Three beautiful cinemas were demolished, restaurants (including Fran’s) & shops have disappeared, and the usual chain stores have moved in. Help is on the way.

Chicago’s Studio Gang has unveiled its first project in Canada at the southwest corner of Yonge and Delisle. It’s unlike anything else in the city, rising 48-storeys, with elongated hexagonal modules pieced together in a honeycomb pattern.

<RENDERINGS ABOVE One Delisle & Yonge Street facade, Slate Asset Management>

Slate Developments owns a total of ten properties around Yonge and St. Clair, including structures on all four corners. Slate’s  comprehensive vision for this city-centre neighbourhood got the attention of Studio Gang.

<RENDERING ABOVE – looking south from Delisle – Slate Asset Management>

“We were attracted to the project because of the fact that Slate owned a number of properties around here,” JEANNE GANG explained, “so it wasn’t just one project. We could actually think outside of those boundaries.” –


The Market Gallery occupies the second floor of the St. Lawrence Market (south building). Over many years, exhibits have focused on TORONTO and its lengthy history – from subways to jazz clubs to world wars – and now comes the bicycle and its impact on the city’s past.

On display – 13 TORONTO-made bikes; archival photographs, advertisements, posters and artifacts from private and public collections; the city’s cycling success stories, and our Bicycle Locking Ring and Post, created here and used in cities around the world.

Riding a bicycle in TORONTO can oftentimes be death-defying. As the city grows, we’re getting better at building and maintaining bike lanes, but there’s still a very long way to go.

City councillors should take some time to visit “BIKE CITY” at the Market Gallery, 95 Front Street East, Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm; Saturdays 9 am to 4 pm. Adults $8; seniors & youth $7.

<St. Lawrence Market (south) – the Market Gallery is on the second floor>


In the early seventies Queen Street West streetcars rattled by some of TORONTO’s oldest and funkiest low-rise buildingsThe apartments above the stores were run-down, inhabited by derelicts, and dirt cheap. Surrounding low-rise office & sewing factory buildings were often used for no more than storage.

Artists and students at the nearby Ontario College of Art (now OCADU) moved into these rundown apartments and illegal loft spaces in which they could perform and work.  They set in motion funky theatres, grungy warehouse lofts, and an odd assortment of legal and illegal after-hours bars (booze cans) and salons, as well as venues for art bands, reggae groups and performance events.

<THE CLICHETTES, a famous Queen Street performance troop>

Human rights, racism, censorship, cultural diversity, feminism, homophobia, and nuclear disarmament were rising as the political issues of the day.

<THE BODY POLITIC and FIREWEED, two long-lasting publications from the era>

An electric feeling was in the air. The Rebel Zone was a perfect breeding ground for Do It Yourself culture. Living in the pre-internet era meant events were communicated by posters, handouts and in person. This led to an intersection of ideas, art, politics and music, creating an atmosphere of fearless creativity.

<The popular BAMBOO Club.  It kept on going for decades.>

<MOSES ZNAIMER introduced music videos to Canadian television at Citytv on Queen West>

This era of sexual and political rebellion (resulted in) countless benefit events that dotted the nighttime landscape throughout the city.  The Horseshoe Tavern was known for its punk rock concerts.

<THE CLICHETTES seemed to be everywhere.>

<GENERAL IDEA, a gift to the world of art and sculpture – to this day.>

QUOTES from an essay by LORRAINE SEGATO – singer, songwriter, filmmaker, social justice activist & then-resident of The Rebel Zone. IMAGES are from a 2016 exhibition by YTB (pop-up) Gallery.


Coming very soon – a brightly coloured mural by Spanish street artist OKUDA, on a formerly blank wall, facing traffic-heavy Jarvis Street at Carlton. The project is a partnership between STEPS (a public art-funding charity), the City of TORONTO’s StreetART program, and the owners of Parkside Student Residences. The city will provide $50,000 as part of its Graffiti Management Plan.

Upon completion, the mural will look like this.

The Residences are housed in a former 1970’s-era Brutalist hotel, not far from the University of TORONTO, OCAD University, George Brown College and Ryerson University in or near downtown.

<ABOVE – street level on JULY 7TH>

<ABOVE – street level on JULY 10TH>

<ABOVE – the finished mural on July 13th. As you can see, several alterations were made from the rendering above. This mural has already become a new landmark, and can be seen clearly from several blocks away.>


As of July 7/2018 . . .

European Union warns that US tariffs on EU cars & car parts could result in $300-billion in retaliatory EU tariffs
Trump has threatened a 20% tariff on all European auto parts, Mercedes Benz & other cars
Markets tumble as Trump claims Europe is as bad as China on trade
Missouri’s Mid-Continent, manufacturer of nails, has laid off 60 workers; warns Trump’s tariffs could destroy the industry
Factory output in Europe and Asia is slowing down
25% on foreign steel entering the US in effect from June 21
10% on foreign aluminum entering the US in effect from June 21
US steel companies have now jacked up their prices
European Union has now imposed $US3.3-billion in trade tariffs against American goods entering the Zone, a market of 500-million
EU tariffs of 25% are on Harley Davidson motorcycles, Levis jeans, bourbon, orange juice, cranberries, peanut butter, Tennessee whiskey, cigars, cigarettes, tobacco, mascara, other eye makeup products, motorboats, yachts, steel, 10% on playing cards
Harley-Davidson is shifting some motorcycle production to Europe; European sales in 2017 – 40,000 bikes
Trump’s taxes on imported solar power products will cost 23,000 US jobs in 2018
July 6th was the date China and the US began their trade war
25% tariff on an estimated $50-billion of Chinese goods entering the US
25% tariff on an estimated $50-billion of US goods entering China
Trump threatens a further 10% tariff on $200-billion in Chinese goods entering the US – up to $500-billion
Beijing warns Trump that these tariffs could cancel Chinese co-operation on North Korea
Mexico has targeted $3-billion in pork products, steel, motorboats, whiskey, aluminum, cheese products, Californian agricultural products, apples and potatoes at 20-25%
Trump plans to bar Chinese companies from investing in US technology – Wall St. Journal
51 US trade groups including Amazon, Walmart & General Motors warn Trump of tariff consequences
Estimates from the nonprofit Tax Foundation – US GDP would drop by $110-billion; a net decrease of 314,479 jobs
US Chamber of Commerce says 2.6-million US jobs are at risk (1.8-million in 2018)

Canada has levied $16.6-billion in tariffs ($12.6-billion in US dollars) on 250 US-made goods as of July 1st
Canada buys $24-billion worth of US agricultural products annually – for the record
US auto tariffs, if they’re enforced, could cost Canada up to 160,000 jobs – TD Bank
49% of Ontario’s economic output is linked to US trade – National Bank Financial
Trump’s tariffs on Canadian lumber are pricing Americans out of the US housing market
Canada exported $7-billion of steel to the US in 2017
The US exported $7-9—billion of steel to Canada in 2017
US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, says Canada is not a national security threat
US Commerce Secretary says America does not have a trade deficit with Canada on steel
Wilbur Ross says China is using countries like Canada to mask export shipping
Canada is considering a tariff & an import limit on steel from certain countries such as China
Trump belittled Canada’s prime minister and our national anthem while in South Carolina.  Very not nice.