IN 1994 STEPHEN OTTO CO-FOUNDED TORONTO’S ‘FRIENDS OF FORT YORK

<Photo – Stephen Otto, by Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail>. The ‘Friends’ were opposed to a massive condo development that was inappropriate for such an important historic site. Mr. Otto wanted to help save access to what he considered ‘The Birthplace of Toronto’. City council meanwhile was considering thousands of apartments to be built onto what’s known today as The Railway Lands. To the rescue came Stephen Otto and his Friends, who managed to bring forth breathing space for the Fort, allowing its garrison to be integrated socially and physically within the city. “What we like,” Mr. Otto told a reporter “is (giving) the Fort the visibility and dignity we think is appropriate. It’s a National Historic Site, and should be treated in more than a passing way.” As we can all see these days, the site has been saved and Fort York is very much at home here.

After a long battle with lymphoma Stephen Otto died at his Toronto home on April 22, 2018 at the age of 78. He was named to The Order of Canada. –  Written by John Lorinc – Special to the Globe and Mail, published April 28, 2018.

RISING SEA LEVELS THREATEN 300-YEAR-OLD FORTRESS LOUISBOURG IN CAPE BRETON, NOVA SCOTIA

The Fortress of Louisbourg was established by French colonialists in 1713 on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. <Photo above by The Weather Network> A major shipping port, with a town population of several thousand, the Fortress was dismantled by the British in 1760, and named a National Historic Site in 1920. During Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s time in office funds were provided to renovate the Fortress, and since then it’s become one of the province’s top tourist destinations.Unfortunately Nova Scotia is now facing a threat from rising sea levels due to climate change.  Powerful waves have stripped wood from the site’s exterior and flooding is occurring more frequently. In November/2018, a large storm surge coupled with a high tide breached the Quay Wall. That’s the possible challenge Nova Scotia has today.  <Photo above by Ian Harte/Parks Canada>.

BRYAN & ALAN HIKED A LITTLE-KNOWN BEACH, EAST OF THE R.C. HARRIS WATER PLANT

Scampering down a hill on a sunny afternoon, through a gate and the Beach was their’s.BRYAN had this to say: “It took about 40 minutes of hiking to go one way. So beautiful and peaceful, like we were walking alongside an ocean.”  Said ALAN –  “Best of all . . . there were no other people.” <PHOTOS by Bryan Blenkin, May/2021>

TORONTO’S UP&COMING REALLY BIG SHOW – AS YONGE ST. DOWNTOWN IS TRANSFORMED

City Council has approved YongeTOmorrow and a monumental transformation of our city’s main street from College to Queen will be taking place. Over the next four years two lanes of traffic will disappear, replaced by bikes, sidewalk patios, planters, street vendors and pedestrians.  <photo above – City of Toronto>Local condo dwellers will no doubt enjoy the brand new Yonge. The city expects downtown Toronto to double its population in the next 20 years.  <Rendering City of Toronto>From Spacing Magazine – “This proposal is largely triggered by the fact that one of Toronto’s oldest watermains, located underneath this part of Yonge Street, requires urgent renewal. Since the street will be torn up and put back together, there is a ‘build back better’ opportunity that will not come for another generation. This is a no-brainer that should have no opposition.” So there’s a good reason for doing it and City Council has approved 21 to 5 – first time in more than 100 years.

OVERACTIVE MEDIA, PARTLY OWNED BY ‘THE WEEKND’. THINKS LIVE ENTERTAINMENT CAN RETURN TO THE CORE

You won’t see this $500-million sports, media and entertainment venue at Toronto’s Exhibition Place until its’ opening in 2025. Location – four acres on the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard, across from the lands of Ontario Place. Besides providing a future meeting place for sports, media and entertainment, the project is expected to host over 200 events a year, primarily music and entertainment, but also conventions, corporate occasions, tournaments, product launches, award shows – and lots more. The big numbers – $500-million stadium; 7,000 seat hall; 400-room hotelPresident of Overactive Media – CHRIS OVERHOLT, who launched The Air Canada Centre, one of Toronto’s biggest venues.

TORONTO ISN’T A CITY DULL & GRAY – IT’S A CITY OF COLOUR, & BRIGHTENS UP OUR DAY

These images have been collected over 10 years of ‘torontosavvy’. Some are recognizable, and others are just imaginative. Altogether this photo group shows off Toronto, a city in colour. <F.Y.I. – this is a Cabbagetown sparrow begging for a muffin . . . photo by George Pyron>

TORONTO OVERTAKES VANCOUVER FOR THE NETFLIX CDN. CORPORATE OFFICE

About two years ago NETFLIX set up a Toronto production hub, leasing studio spaces along the waterfront. The company recognized this city’s many talents, partners, international festivals and production crews, some of which also applies to Vancouver. In its forthcoming corporate office, Netflix expects 10 to 15 employees will be based in Toronto. First priority is hiring the Content Executive in June, who will work directly with creators, deciding on ideas for films and series.Other jobs will be posted in the careers section of the Netflix website.Toronto’s Mayor JOHN TORY said “a new Canadian office will call Toronto home! Our pitch: We’re a film friendly city that celebrates the screen industry. Quality and our talent pool diversity is unmatched. Our production and post-production industry is robust and expanding.”

VIA RAIL RIDES AGAIN BETWEEN TORONTO AND VANCOUVER, FROM MAY 17TH/2021

<Photo above – MacLean’s Magazine, Canadian Press, by Adrian Wyld>, VIA RAIL, Canada’s once coast-to-coast passenger rail service is on its way back, although there are still parts missing because of Covid-19.The Canadian Route is coming back with service between Toronto and Winnipeg, & as of May 17th from Vancouver to Toronto, a distance of 4.466 kilometres taking 4 days.On May 23rd a train will head west from Toronto to Vancouver. Three classes will be available – one way in either direction beginning with $314.00 per person . . . . For more information go to — http://www.viarail.ca

‘PLAIN JANE’ TOWER BLOCKS GET THE ROYAL TREATMENT FROM ARTIST JESSE COLIN JACKSON

Canadian artist Jesse Colin Jackson, based in Los Angeles, has been photographing tower block neighbourhoods since 2006. His “Radiant City” project, is focused on Toronto’s aging tower blocks and their significance. As they’re being revitalized Jackson’s work revealed the size and complexities these buildings embody. Oftentimes they’re home to incoming immigrants – essential housing for at least a quarter of this city’s population. The location of much of Toronto’s urban poverty, would be products of planning ideologies gone awry, locations of past glory, current dynamism and future potential. Jesse Colin Jackson has previously taught at the University of Toronto and OCAD University, also in Toronto – as well as the Department of Art at the University of California, Irvine.  <Photo above  –  #1) – The Buckingham, 714 + 716 The West Mall> #2) – 3151 Bridletown Circle;#3) – 190 Exbury Road & 2269 Jane Street;#4) –  Leaside Towers, 85 + 96 Thorncliffe Park Drive; #5) – Riverside Apartments, 2737 + 2757 Kipling Avenue