I stopped off at the Coffee Time on the northeast corner of Dupont and Lansdowne this afternoon en route to Big on Bloor Festival, picking up a jumbo coffee and a beef samosa before I veered south onto Lansdowne towards Bloordale. I blogged about this restaurant and its (to my mind) unfairly grim reputation. (My Flickr link is here.) This time, as I approached the restaurant from the east, I saw the Food Basics grocery store lying just to the west, I thought about the controversy around this store and its neighbourhood.
This Food Basics is an anchor store for the Fuse Condos development, on the northwest of Dupont and Lansdowne. This new grocery store opening was welcome by some, who saw no reason this store could not co-exist with the FreshCo in the Galleria Mall just a few minutes east at Dupont and Dufferin. To some, this was a betrayal: Fuse Condos had produced a Metro grocery store, a higher-end grocery store with more selection, and some buyers were quite upset. There was even a petition calling for a Metro.
All this was satirized in The Beaverton, and aptly analyzed in the Toronto Star by Edward Keenan. Keenan pointed out that this behaviour was wildly out of place given the decidedly working-class nature of Wallace Emerson. Food Basics, obviously, got installed regardless.
Still: how long will this neighbourhood, this cluster of west-end neighbourhoods, remain what it has been? I wonder.
The Coffee Time restaurant located at 1005 Lansdowne Avenue, on the northeastern corner of Lansdowne and Dupont, has long had a bit of a scary reputation. The restaurant's lone reviewer at Yelp rates it only one star, noting that the crowd hanging out here, in a traditionally poor neighbourhood close to apartment towers once linked to crime including drugs and prositution, is "interesting."
The transformation of the neighbourhood into one populated by tall condos and relatively affordable rentals is ongoing. Will this Coffee Time survive, or will its legacy be reduced to passing mentions in archived discussion threads about a neigbourhood transformed beyond recognition, like here and here? And what will become of the crowd?
NOW Toronto's Joshua Sherman tells the story of a Jane's Walk organized by Shari Kasman around the parking lots of Dufferin and Dupont.
"Thanks for coming to this beautiful parking lot on this beautiful, sunny day in Toronto.”
Shari Kasman is speaking into a red-and-white megaphone. And it’s not sunny at all. It’s a drizzly May 6 Saturday afternoon outside the Galleria Mall at Dufferin and Dupont.
Kasman, a local artist and author, is starting her latest guided tour, Parking Lots & Parking Spots: Galleria Mall & Beyond. It’s one of nearly 180 that took place last weekend in Toronto as part of the annual Jane’s Walk festival, named for the late urban activist Jane Jacobs.
While other local Jane’s Walks explore the historic aspects of the city, this tour is dedicated to the unglamorous and utilitarian: where Torontonians in a small pocket of the west end park “from the perspective of a non-expert,” Kasman tells NOW ahead of the event, making it clear this tour is no joke.
She may not be a parking authority, but Kasman, who already has two other Galleria-based Jane’s Walks under her belt, has been busy reading up on the subject for the past few weeks.
This summer, as I walked west along Dupont towards my Dufferin Street bus stop, I was greeted by a brilliant front yard garden full of iridescent zinnias. Their bright colours, some verging on the neon, were a welcome site. Even in October, there are still enough of these flowers to be noteworthy to passersby.
The Globe and Mail's Jeff Gray reports on the proposal to radically redevelop the Galleria Mall, my neighbourhood's centre at Dupont and Dufferin.
An ambitious plan to demolish Toronto’s dated west-end Galleria Shopping Centre and replace it with a sleek mix of condos, shops, office space, a new community centre and a large park is expected to get a rough ride as it includes a cluster of towers, one as high as 42 storeys, more than twice the height now allowed on the site.
“I think it is completely out of context and the character of the neighbourhood,” Ana Bailao, the local city councillor, said of the proposal from a joint venture of ELAD Canada and Freed Developments, which were to file a master plan with the city on Friday.
Ms. Bailao said the towers could create shadow impacts, and she has concerns about traffic and the strain on public transit that the dense development could create.
Still, she said there were many good things in the plan to rip up and redesign the site near Dupont and Dufferin Streets, a rapidly gentrifying area traditionally home to the city’s Portuguese community.
Ms. Bailao praised the developers for launching community consultations over the past year and incorporating that input into their designs, which include a fully funded and expanded community centre to replace the aging existing one.
CBC News' Shanifa Nasser takes a look at the very recent train derailment in downtown Toronto. Since a huge stretch of track extending west to my street was involved, I'd think I'm entitled to some concern.
Two trains are travelling in opposite directions, one headed eastbound at 48 kilometres per hour and another westbound at 80 kilometres per hour, before sideswiping each other at a railway crossover in midtown Toronto.
Why did the westbound train operator see the stop signal so late? No, this isn't a high school math problem. It's a key point in the investigation into a Canadian Pacific train derailment that spilled 1,100 litres of diesel fuel near the residential Annex neighbourhood early Sunday morning.
New details emerged Monday as officials looked into the crash that left four rail cars leaning and damaged the tracks.
Neither train was speeding, the Transportation Safety Board says, and CP Rail ruled out mechanical problems, instead pointing the finger at human error, something it reiterated on Monday.
"After careful review, we determined that all track, equipment and signal systems worked as designed, and our preliminary investigation indicates human error is to blame," the railway said in a statement, adding, "We know one incident is too many."
On Monday, the union representing CP Rail workers called that conclusion "premature" but said it understands two of its workers are being investigated.