JANUARY/2018 – ‘The Shape of Water”, winner of 4 Oscars, was shot entirely in TORONTO and HAMILTON: Regent Cinema (formerly The Crest) went up for sale; Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. West, was rescued from oblivion by local business owners, music promoters, and the West End community itself; Theatre Passe Muraille, founded in 1968, celebrated its 50th birthday; CNN (Style) International voted TORONTO “a design-savvy city to watch in 2018); King Street streetcar pilot project increased morning rush hour transit ridership by as much as 25% – a gain of 16,000 additional riders; much-loved ‘Sam The Record Man’ sign spun its discs again above Yonge-Dundas Square, after a decade of negotiating and restoring; Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, presented the magnificent Bruschettini Carpet Collection, one of the most important private collections of Islamic art in the world; Stink Bugs invaded the Annex. More and more of them are setting up house in TORONTO.
FEBRUARY/2018 – University of TORONTO celebrated 200 years of Valentine’s Day cards; Yonge-Dundas Square’s Digital Signage Project installed 10 new high-definition screens: CIBC, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce announced plans to move its headquarters to the new financial district’s South Core sometime around 2021; Tapes of four GLENN GOULD studio sessions were released by Sony Classical – ‘Treasures for the Taking’; Archives of TORONTO opened a large exhibition on the city’s inner suburbs during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s; TORONTO at last imposed a 4% new tax on hotels and short-term accommodations; Syrian food suddenly became very popular in TORONTO.
MARCH/2018 – After a 14-year, $128-million renovation, ST. MICHAEL’S CATHEDRAL BASILICA, 65 Bond Street, became resplendent again; socially aware millennials are adopting rescue dogs – among them survivors of Hurricane Harvey in HOUSTON; an awesome collection of historic photos of TORONTO is now at your fingertips after great efforts by the City of Toronto Archives & Google’s Sidewalk Labs; Chicago’s mural artist JUSTUS ROE III, in a partnership with STEPS Initiative, painted up the gray concrete Roncy (Roncesvailles) Pedestrian Bridge; The Stratford-Perth Museum opened an exhibit dedicated to the life of famous hometown hero JUSTIN BIEBER; ‘Vital Signs Report/2018’ painted a clear picture that quality of life in this city varies depending on the neighbourhood, income, race, immigration status, gender, sexual identity, and age.
APRIL/2018 – Leslie Barns opened to service and house 100 of the TTC’s fleet of 204 Flexity Outlook LRT vehicles; After six years and millions of dollars, both the Hot Docs Cinema and the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival returned a profit; a terrorist van attack on Yonge Street in North York took 12 lives and wounded several; Terra Cotta House, 20 Jerome Street, built in 1905, is now a landmark, and the neighbourhood wants it saved; ‘The Well’ was named TORONTO’s biggest and deepest construction site on Spadina Avenue at Front Street.
MAY/2018 – For the first time in 15 years the TORONTO Zoo gave birth to six Arctic Wolf pups; After a 30-year search, Massey Hall’s Bach and Beethoven stained glass windows were found wrapped up in the basement of Roy Thomson Hall; Iconic One Spadina Crescent, 143 years old in 2018, has been restored and now houses University of TORONTO’s School of Architecture; with the death of WILL ALSOP, 70, TORONTO lost an ‘architectural friend’ in 2018, best known for the Sharp Centre for Design; the annual LGBTQ Film Festival – ‘Inside Out’ – became one of the largest in the world; Windsor Arms Hotel, 18 St. Thomas Street, in the Yorkville/Bloor West neighbourhood, has been refreshed and re-opened for business; a new financial hub – Southcore – is rapidly growing south of Union Station.JUNE/2018 – Donald Trump lowered the boom and started a trade war with Canada; eyeball to eyeball, an exasperated German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL stared down Donald Trump at Quebec’s G-7 Summit; another birth at the Zoo – 46-year-old Charles & 20-year-old Ngozi delivered a baby Western Lowland gorilla; the TORONTO Reference Library mounted an exhibit on Canadian comic book superheroes; a Progressive Conservative majority government, headed by Doug Ford, a controversial premier to say the least, won the provincial election.
JULY/2018 – Yorkdale, TORONTO’s most successful shopping destination, is reducing its carbon footprint with an array of solar panels; a mass shooting on Danforth Avenue took two lives and wounded fourteen; Ryerson University’s City Building Institute examined TORONTO streets and found some great ones; the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough told Americans how to have sex in a canoe; MOMA MARKOVICH (1902-1977) captured Ontario’s transportation history, one painting at a time.
AUGUST/2018 – The Royal Ontario Museum re-opened its Avenue Road entrance; Regina-born Murray Westgate, Esso’s ‘Happy Motoring’ television spokesman passed away; the Canadian National Exhibition, 140 years old, opened; the Ottawa Art Gallery re-opened in an impressive new building; the 150-year-old St. Charles clocktower was saved and will be part of a new Yonge Street development.
SEPTEMBER/2018 – Mississauga, TORONTO’s neighbour, landed a 260,000 square-foot television production centre to open in 2019; Shary Boyle’s 11-foot-tall vessel with legs was installed at the Gardiner Museum; Sugar Beach umbrellas moved north and connected with Daniels City of the Arts; cyclists were using pool noodles to keep cars at a safe distance; Scabrorough’s Guild Park displayed architectural relics from TORONTO’s past; Paris unveiled the Uritrottoir – the Sidewalk Urinal; TORONTO welcomed a bevy of movie folks to the annual International Film Festival.
OCTOBER/2018 – Mayor John Tory scored a huge re-election victory, thanks partly to Doug Ford; Westbank and Allied Properties got approval for a very big and distinct development on King Street West; city council was cut in half by Premier Doug Ford; University of TORONTO’s School of Cities partnered with India’s Tata Trusts to open a research centre in India; on October 17th marijuana usage became legal from coast-to-coast-to-coast in Canada; in 2018 the TORONTO Dance Theatre celebrated a half-century of extraordinary creativity; the Royal Ontario Museum began building 5,000 square-feet of exterior space, gardens, outdoor seating, and an open-air stage; the MZTV Television Museum in Liberty Village opened an exhibit on the forgotten television genius Philo T. Farnsworth; the TTC kept trying to keep drivers out of the Queens Quay streetcar tunnel; Canadians pondered whether or not they’d won the NAFTA agreement with the US and Mexico; an artist studio building on Dufferin Street was demolished.
NOVEMBER/2018 – Ontario Place lights up with work by 20 local artists; TORONTO Transit Commission (TTC) took delivery of its first new generation hybrid electric buses; a Magnetic Levitation train could be on its way to the Zoo; Premier Doug Ford revealed his plan for the province to take over TORONTO’s subway; TORONTO Public Library created a digital map celebrating the works of local poets; the first phase of Daniels Waterfront City of the Arts opened for business; TORONTO racked up an all-time record of 95 deaths from gun violence; the El Mocambo neon sign was re-installed; the New York Times wrote about TORONTO’s notorious Matharoo sisters; Manulife displayed 11,800 Canadian flags on its lawn for Remembrance Day; Richard Florida said TORONTO Is a ‘city state’ and should start acting like one; in the mid-terms Democrats won the House of Representatives in Washington DC; TORONTO did not win the Amazon HQ2 competition; the Art Gallery of Ontario raised $2-million for Canada’s first permanent Yahoi Kusama ‘Infinity Room’; the annual Santa Claus Parade was another huge success.
DECEMBER/2018 – The Prince Edward Viaduct is now 100 years old; TORONTO Community Housing staggered under a debt load; attendance records on the new subway stations showed Highway407 & Downsview Park aren’t performing that well; construction for Barbara Ann Scott Park downtown was well underway; imaginative designs for skyscrapers began to appear; Sidewalk Labs released its development plan for Waterfront TORONTO’s Quayside neighbourhood; and TORONTO went Christmas shopping. <ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, 2018 has been a very good year for our great city. MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE & ALL!>