‘THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON’ – THE 100 WORKERS’ MONUMENT IN SIMCOE PARK

The 100 Workers Monument in Simcoe Park, Front Street West, consists of two long, low red granite walls.  On top are 100 bronze plaques, each naming a worker who died while on the job. There is one name for each year from 1901 until 1999. The plaque for the year 2000 is blank. 100 Workers is by John Scott & Stewart H. Pollock.  The second part of the monument, The Anonymity of Prevention, is a bronze sculpture of a worker wearing full safety gear, appearing to chisel into the wall of 100 Workers. This sculpture was done by Derek Lo and Lana Winkler.

REMEMBERING THE BILTMORE – A YONGE STREET FIXTURE FROM 1948 TO 1982

The BILTMORE, 319 Yonge Street, was one of three downtown cinemas known for showing double and triple bills for a modest admission price. The others were the Downtown and the Rio – all within a few metres of each other. The BILTMORE was constructed by the wealthy OKUN brothers, who’d made their fortune selling ladies hats under the Biltmore label.This flagship theatre had 916 seats, 300 in the balcony – and sat on land now occupied by a large shopping centre and a multiplex of 26 movie screens.<EXTERIOR PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archives>

SUMMER OF THE MOOSE/2000 – THANKS TO THEN-MAYOR MEL LASTMAN & CHARLES PACHTER

In the summer of 2000, then-Mayor Mel Lastman asked sculptor/painter Charles Pachter to design 326 moose sculptures.  He did.  With coupons  for paint and a long list of sponsors, the naked moose were painted up by TORONTO artists and distributed around the city (map above).  Some were awful; many were beautiful; a few still exist.  PHOTOS: Sherbourne Street (SimonP), Old City Hall, CN Tower mountie (MKuhn), New City Hall pool (Boldts.net)<And here’s a real moose – photographed crossing a northern Ontario road – by Bryan Blenkin/Alan Rowe>

COULD DRIVE-IN THEATRES BE A FILL-IN ANSWER TO CINEMAS – DURING THIS PANDEMIC?

In all of Canada there are only 52 drive-in theatres left, down from 250. In the United States there are 336, where there once were 4,000. Surprisngly there are quite a few drive-ins scattered around the Greater TORONTO Area.  For a different kind of movie experience – watching the sun go down and seeing a first-run feature on a giant screen – add a ‘drive-in night out’ to your bucket list.<The Mustang Drive-In, GUELPH>  Today there are drive-ins in Toronto, Hamilton, Barrie, Newmarket, London, Guelph, Oakville, Newmarket and Port Hope. In the not-so-distant past the city by itself had 10 of them, but with urban sprawl, increasing land values, and $80,000 to install one digital projector, most have found the operating costs crippling.<Port Hope Drive-In was built in 1952.  It’s still going strong.  PHOTO – Terry Lagler>  “I can’t make a drive-in look sexy at two in the afternoon. But when the sun goes down, and the kids are on the swings, and you can smell the popcorn and the neon comes alive, it really is quite special.” – BRIAN ALLEN, president of Premier Operating Drive-Ins<The Polson Pier driving range and drive-in, Port Lands, TORONTO>

FIRST REPORTED HERE ON FEBRUARY 22/2019, U OF T’S PLAN FOR ‘GATEWAY’ JUST MIGHT HAPPEN – UH, OH!

February 22, 2019 – The University of TORONTO plans a ‘gateway’ addition to Downtown’s Cultural Corridor. It’s under consideration by U of T’s governance, and could replace the former McLaughlin Planetarium, closed in 1995.The architects are Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who were behind New York City’s High Line & the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.The project will be home to the School of Cities, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, the Institute of Islamic Studies, the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies and the Archaeology Centre. It will also provide facilities for the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Music.A recital hall with a large window will look out on the Toronto skyline. Above the hall – there’ll be a 400-seat event space with similar skyline views. A café will be opened on the ground floor and the designers will include a multi-storey atrium leading up to the recital hall.  <Renderings by bloomimages, courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro>OBJECTIONS are piling up, now that development is a real possibility. One of them comes from Ross Winter, B.Arch, M.Arch, MCP – “The Robarts Library (aka ‘Fort Book’) was a notable example of an inappropriate building thrust upon the community by the University of Toronto – inappropriate in form, scale, and materials.  Efforts are only now being made to humanize or better integrate it with its surroundings . . . “This proposal is fronted by Queen’s Park and backed by Philosopher’s Walk, meaning it will stand out like a sore thumb and not be absorbed into adjacent streetscapes.    The design here is overwrought and the site overbuilt. I urge the decision makers, at all levels, to reject the proposal.”