MERIDIAN HALL FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, FRONT ST. EAST, WITH CANADA’S LARGEST SOFT-SEAT AUDITORIUM

The use of Carrarra marble throughout the main lobby transmits a sense of grand opulence to the Centre, along with artist York Wilson’s famous mural, ‘The Seven Lively Arts’. A personal comment on that mural – as a student at Toronto’s Ryerson University, there was an exam on theatrical history, focused on the. mural. A copy was distributed, and we had to write several paragraphs about what we saw in the mural, end-to-end, for two hours. I haven’t forgotten that challenge. It was always on my mind whenever we took in a show. There have been several names attached to the building – The O’Keefe Centre, The Hummingbird Centre, The Sony Centre, and now it’s The Meridian Hall.

ON THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF SHERBOURNE & ADELAIDE STREETS SITS A FINE GEORGIAN HOUSE

Built in 1842 by first-class blacksmith, Paul Bishop, the House is really a pair of historic townhouses located at 363-365 Adelaide Street East downtown. Those houses, constructed in 1848, also by Paul Bishop, sit upon foundations laid by William Jarvis for his home in 1798. William Jarvis was a member of the Queen’s Rifles, as well as Provincial Secretary and Registrar of Upper Canada. After William Jarvis’s death in 1817, his son Samuel divided the two acres of land where the townhouses sat on smaller parcels, and sold them. Bishop’s House went through a number of owners and was expanded in the early 1820s. <You’ll find many more details on Paul Bishop’s historic House in Wikipedia.>

MARCUS GEE, GLOBE AND MAIL COLUMNIST, STANDS UP FOR THE TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION

Marcus writes – “The TTC, now celebrating it’s 100th anniversary, is the third busiest system in North America after New York’s and Mexico City’s. It’s a comprehensive, city-wide grid. You only have to travel to just about any American city to see how good we have it. . . . . Both federal and provincial governments are investing billions. The result is a series of huge projects, from the Finch West LRT and the Eglinton Crosstown to the Scarborough subway extension. And there’s the upcoming Ontario Line, a whole new subway route for Central Toronto. The TTC is buying 60 more of those sleek new streetcars, replacing old diesel buses with cleaner diesel-electric hybrids and trying out a battery-powered model. Subway service is speeding up by getting new trains . . . . It’s spending many millions making stations more accessible.” There’s much to consider, thanks to Marcus Gee.

38% OF TORONTO CONDOS AREN’T ALWAYS OCCUPIED BY OWNERS – GLOBE AND MAIL SEPT/2021

The number of non-owners who occupied properties went up by 34,915 in 12 months to January/2020. The Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) said “when a property is not owner-occupied in the cities with major universities, they are most likely rented or vacant. When it’s more rural they might be used for recreational purposes.” CHSP reported the percentage of foreign-owned property remained steady from 2019 to 2020, with the highest share in the Vancouver region. That area was close to the University of British Columbia – where 17% of foreign owners topped the list, followed by 7% in Toronto. The data is based on early 2020.

FRED HERZOG LOVED VANCOUVER & IT SHOWS IN HIS ARCHIVE OF COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

<‘Modern Colour’ Vancouver – by Fred Herzog, courtesy – Estate of Fred Herzog & Equinox Gallery.> German-born, Vancouver-based (1930–2019) he was a pioneer of colour street photography in the 1950s, when only black and white was considered fine art of the medium. In 1953, he was regularly covering city streets, camera in hand. snapping photos of the docks, the airport, the street, the people. Adds Herzog – “I loved the city for its grittiness”—a quality he captured in vivid colour using Kodachrome slide film.

NATURE’S PERFECT NEST DESIGN – MADE BY BEES, HORNETS . . . . OR WASPS? PHOTO – BRYAN BLENKIN

Bryan says the photo above is “Nature’s Perfect Design.” Yes, they’re good at making nests, but be careful with stinging insects. We’re not sure what stung Bryan yesterday morning during a trip to The Toronto Dump. The trip was fine at first, but then he discovered an insect on the car seat, and picked it up. The insect stung him, and Bryan tossed it out the window. Not certain what it was exactly. . . . . .  I got stung a couple of weeks earlier at College Park on my upper lip, by what I believe was a hornet. That sting took about three weeks to subside.

IN THE 1960’S SURFACE CAR PARKS WERE ‘KING’ IN TORONTO – BERCZY PARK WAS ON ITS WAY

While tearing stuff down to make way for the car was considered progress, Toronto’s city centre was littered with autos and their surface parks. But eventually wiser heads prevailed, and these days all but a couple of surface parking lots are gone. Some have been converted into below-grade parking. Nearly all of the lots have been developed, while a triangular-shaped Berczy Park with its’ dog fountain was built behind the Flatiron Building.  This much-loved park seems to be a change for the better in this old part of Toronto.  <Photo – St. Lawrence Market Neighborhood, ca1970’s, City of Toronto >

CABBAGETOWN’S WINCHESTER STREET CHURCH AND THEATRE DATES BACK TO 1891

Former home to St. Enoch’s Presbyterian Church it’s one of the few bold examples of Romanesque Revivals in Toronto – with round arches over windows and doors, deep entry points, thick masonry walls, brick or stone facades, and rounded towers. The architects, Gordon and Halliwell, designed nearly 200 commercial, institutional, ecclesiastical and residential buildings over Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. Best of all today is the church, now a longtime home to The Toronto Dance Theatre. The company’s name is known far and wide – from New York’s Joyce Theatre, a six-city tour of India, a sold-out season at London’s Royal Opera House, performances at the Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa and the Festival TransAmériques in Montreal, as well as numerous performances in Toronto and across Canada . . . . . . . <Information from the PSN newspaper>

TRUST THE NEW YORK TIMES TO RENDER A LIVELY PAGE. THIS ONE APPEARED ON SUNDAY, OCT. 3, 2021

From the Paris Dispatch – ‘Europe’s New Cycling Capital, or a Pedestrian’s Nightmare?’ Politicians (as in Toronto) want to make cycling cities, but the Parisians aren’t following any rules, and street crossings can be risky. <The photo above> “On a recent afternoon, the Rue de Rivoli looked like this: cyclists blowing through red lights in two directions. Delivery bike riders fixating on their cell phones. Electric scooters careening across lanes, Jay walkers and nervous pedestrians scrambling as if in a video game. Paris (population 10-million) now ranks among the world’s top 10 cycling cities.” Copenhagen is the model Paris aspires to.

TORONTO CITY COUNCIL IS PROCEEDING WITH ANOTHER SECTION OF YONGE STREET – DOWNTOWN

The city core takes in over 100,000 pedestrians daily, along with special events, such as lengthy parades and marches. The section from College Street to Gerrard is now undergoing revitalization. It’s replacing an aging water main that runs below Yonge Street. Thousands of new condo units have been or are being, built in and around the strip, and every one of them requires running water. In the above section (off the image) a permanent spine occupies the middle of this part of the street – the equivalent of two established traffic lanes. Enlarged sidewalks are very much needed, and there’ll be a minimum of 4 metres’ widening on each side. As you can tell Downtown is happening.