THE ‘GIANTS’ ARE AT THE BORDERS OF TORONTO’S EXCLUSIVE YORKVILLE NEIGHBOURHOOD

Once a separate village, annexed by TORONTO in 1883, YORKVILLE is one of the city’s ritziest neighbourhoods – which isn’t entirely good. The money-making potential of properties in the village is coveted by developers, and lately they’ve begun some serious nibbling around the edges.

YORKVILLE is home to some of TORONTO’s most expensive condominiums, starting at over a million dollars and ascending from there. Two subway stations are nearby, Canada’s largest museum is around the corner, and up-scale Bloor Street West’s shopping is next door. Brand names from Bloor have been spilling over into Yorkville for some time now.

<ABOVE – taking in the scene at Bloor and Bay Streets>

<ABOVE – the Royal Ontario Museum is having some work done.>

<ABOVE – almost finished a new condominium tower at Cumberland and Avenue Road>

FORTUNATELY though, much of Old Yorkville remains – for now anyway.. It’s a truly beautiful neighbourhood, perfect for pedestrians and urban explorers.  The construction cranes aren’t yet everywhere.  May it ever be so.

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REAL ESTATE BROKER, DUNCAN FREMLIN, THANKS THE MAN WHO SAVED TORONTO’S CABBAGETOWN

<WILLIAM DENISON, former mayor, TORONTO Public Library photo>

DUNCAN FREMLIN, Broker, RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. – “From 1967 to 1972, WILLIAM DENISON was Mayor of TORONTO. During his time in office, swaths of (Victorian) Cabbagetown were bulldozed in favour of the St. James Town high rises, and if (Denison) had his way, the rest of the neighbourhood would soon follow.

In March/1978, City Council approved a sweeping expansion of St. James Town South, along Ontario, Bleecker & Wellesley Streets to Carlton.”  Then-mayor JOHN SEWELL disapproved.

<JOHN SEWELL, Mayor of TORONTO 1978-1980>

“Under JOHN SEWELL’s leadership, this project was, fortunately, stopped. Mr. Sewell (who was not above lying down in front of demolition equipment) and his associates saved what is now – a unique and precious neighbourhood.” – Parliament Street News, April/2019

‘STACKT’, CANADA’S LARGEST SHIPPING CONTAINER MARKET & CULTURAL SPACE IS NOW OPEN

<The site under construction. Photo courtesy ASTOUND>

LGA Architectural Partners have designed a two-block, 2.4-acre site on city-owned land at Bathurst and Front Streets. TORONTO is planning to eventually turn the space into a public park, but for now it’s pop-up shops, food and beverage vendors & an onsite brewery, mixed in with courtyards, pedestrian paths, and open spaces for community programming and events.

STACKT’s physical structure can be picked up and moved elsewhere – in a different configuration – at a future date. That’s the genius behind the project, leaving the site unscathed.

<A one-container retail unit. Photo courtesy ASTOUND design-build>

JANNA LEVITT, Partner at LGA Architectural Partners – “Retailers are looking for unique physical spaces and experiential opportunities for their customers. Shipping containers suggest an unusual and immersive retail experience while also offering a practical and sustainable building solution.” – CANADIAN ARCHITECT

<Belgian Moon brewery anchors the site. Photo courtesy Pomp & Circumstance>

EVERY TIME I PASS THAT ‘CHUM’ NEON SIGN ON RICHMOND W., IT TAKES ME BACK TO COLLEGE DAYS

1050 CHUM (50,000 watts) played Top 40 Hits from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, then switched to an oldies format with music from 1989 to 2009. Next came a sports format, and in 2011 it became TSN Radio 1050, and now the format has switched to news, and the station is known as CP24 Radio 1050.

CHUM-FM at 104.5 began broadcasting on September 1, 1963. It was the first private TORONTO station to play classical music all day long. On July 1st, 1968 it switched to progressive rock. Until 2009 it was the most listened-to and influential radio station in Canada. Now, with its transmitter on top of the CN Tower, CHUM-FM features an adult contemporary format. It’s still one of TORONTO’s most popular radio stations.

There is a CHUM Memorial Blog from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.  You’ll find it at – http://wp1050chumto.blogspot.com/p/1050-chum-djs-of-1960s-and-70s.html

DREAM WEAVER PREMIER DOUG FORD, ANNOUNCES A $28.5-BILLION TRANSIT ‘PHANTASMAGORIA’

<$28.5-billion total cost; $11.2-billion covered by Queen’s Park; $17-billion by the city & the federal government; 15-kilometres, length of new Ontario line to be completed in 2027; $5.5-billion cost of 3-stop Scarborough extension to be built by 2030> – Toronto Star, April 11/2019>

DEAD ON ARRIVAL?  Is it possible? Will it ever be built . . . and paid for? Many Torontonians are skeptical, but Premier Ford says he’s going full speed ahead on transit in the Greater TORONTO Area (GTA).

“It’s going to be the largest infrastructure transit project in North America. It’s going to be $28.5 billion that we’re looking to invest to get people moving from Point A to Point B.

“That’s just the transit side. We have some fabulous ideas for the Queen Elizabeth Way and the Gardiner Expressway, as well as the 401 because not every single person hops on the subways. But we’re going to have an incredible transit system and a transportation system to get people moving and get people from Point A to Point B, but get goods from Point A to Point B,” the premier said in BURLINGTON earlier this week.

Getting from Point A to Point B will mean a massive withdrawal from the provincial treasury, which is already weighed down by a $13-billion overdraft. Is there a flying pig somewhere in the neighborhood?

Federal Finance Minister BILL MORNEAU says he wasn’t consulted, and TORONTO’s mayor JOHN TORY was kept in the dark until the last moment. It was DOUG FORD’s show.  <IMAGE ABOVE – Spacing Magazine>

IS THE PROVINCE CAPABLE OF BUILDING TRANSIT IN TORONTO? – “NO!” SAYS EX-MAYOR DAVID MILLER

DAVID MILLER, mayor of TORONTO from 2003 to 2010 wonders if ONTARIO has the knowledge and skills needed to build a $28.5-billion transit system. His conclusion – not very likely.

In point form, Mr. Miller’s reasoning . . .
#1 – Premier Doug Ford believes in cars.
#2 – Conservatives have a legacy of transit destruction in TORONTO.
#3 – We’re mired in talk about building subways that never arrive.
#4 – Subways need density; LRT’s medium density.
#5 – Provincial track record on transit is simply awful.
#6 – Outsiders shouldn’t be deciding TORONTO’s transit future.
#7 – Rapid transit knowledge rests with the TTC – not Queen’s Park.
#8 – Public-private partnerships seldom work.
#9 – The Scarborough subway extension has become a political football.

#10 – “The TTC is owned by the people of TORONTO and needs to be planned and run in their interest by the people they elect, not by the province, and certainly not by this premier.”

<Present Mayor JOHN TORY (L) and DAVID MILLER; Toronto Sun photo>

DAVID MILLER is a lawyer, environmentalist, former mayor of TORONTO, and former CEO of the World Wildlife Fund-Canada. He is currently Director, International Diplomacy for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD’ WAS ON MY SHELF GATHERING DUST FOR YEARS – I DECIDED TO GIVE IT ANOTHER GO

DON SHEBIB’s 1970 Canadian 16 mm masterworkGoin’ Down The Road’ holds its own even today. Starring Doug McGrath, Paul Bradley, Jayne Eastwood and Gayle Chernin, with songs by Bruce Coburn, the story is about two young Cape Breton Islanders who leave Nova Scotia and take off for the big city – that’s TORONTO – where the jobs are.

Everything goes well for a while, but then disaster strikes – the guys are laid off work in a bottling plant, food is scarce, they’re living in a dump, they’re homesick, Betty (played by Jane Eastwood who went on to a brilliant movie and television career) gets pregnant; and suddenly TORONTO doesn’t seem so friendly anymore.

I especially liked the shots of the city in 1969-70. Downtown looked especially morose, with some forlorn streetscapes dotted here and there, Many of the film’s sequences were improvised on the spot depicting the locals; there’s some nudity; and a surprising amount of swearing. In the early seventies that was revolutionary.

Even Quebec filmmakers were influenced by the realistic look. It shows in several French-Canadian films that appeared in the 1970’s. The MONTREAL Gazette called it “a superb movie, the finest Canadian effort ever, and excellent by any standards.”

A digital restoration of the film was released in 2017.Goin’ Down The Road’ has been designated and preserved as a ‘masterwork’ by the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada; and the TORONTO International Film Festival ranked it in the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time.