Toronto's West Queen West, along Queen Street West to the west of Bathurst, is home to many small indie fashion stores. Late at night, the front windows of stores like Mericani (630A Queen Street West), WTFash (632 Queen Street West), and The Store on Queen (662 Queen Street West), look almost like art gallery displays.
- With news that Toronto police is now treating the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman from his Cabbagetown a week ago as suspicious, the search for Kinsman is taking on new importance. Please, if you can help in any way, let Toronto police or his friends--anybody--know.
- The Toronto Star's Hina Alam reports on the huge crush over the Canada Day weekend to see the World's Largest Rubber Duck.
- The Parkdale Villager's Hilary Caton reports on the push to make West Queen West a protected district.
- The National Post shares the Canadian Press' poll reporting on general anxiety, including among the well-off, on affordable housing in Canada.
- The Globe and Mail's Kenny Sharpe writes about controversy at Ryerson University over the legacy of founder Egerton Ryerson.
- Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith talks about "cis", "trans", and the non-obvious meaning of this classification.
- The Big Picture shares photos of a recent sailing festival in Boston.
- blogTO reports on the trendy charcoal-black ice cream of a store across from Trinity Bellwoods.
- Centauri Dreams considers the idea of a "runaway fusion" drive.Crooked Timber wonders how a bad Brexit agreement could possibly be worse than no Brexit agreement for the United Kingdom.
- D-Brief warns of the possibility of sustained life-threatening heat waves in the tropics with global warming.
- The Everyday Sociology Blog considers how sociology majors are prepared, or not, for the workforce.
- Language Hat links to a wonderful examination of the textual complexities of James Joyce's Ulysses.
- The LRB Blog looks at how British big business is indebted to the Conservatives.
- Marginal Revolution reports on China's emergent pop music machine.
- Steve Munro reports on the latest on noise from the 514 Cherry streetcar.
- The NYRB Daily has a fascinating exchange on consciousness and free will and where it all lies.
- The Planetary Society Blog reports on a successful expedition to Argentina to examine Kuiper Belt object MU69 via occultation.
- Peter Rukavina celebrates Charlottetown school crossing guard Dana Doyle.
- The Globe and Mail describes how the flooding of Lake Ontario is starting to impact buildings built near the waterfront on the mainland, like some of Toronto's new condos.
- All of Toronto's beaches will be, CBC reports, at least partly closed on account of the flooding.
- Lucas Powers' photo essay at CBC tracks the impact of flooding on the Toronto Islands.
- Steve Munro continues his study of buses on Queen Street, noting that the frequency of buses needs to be increased to keep pace with streetcars.
- Edward Keenan argues in the Toronto Star that Michael Ford's call for a study for Queen Street transit will reveal that streetcars are the better way.
- Daily Xtra notes that, in the 1930s, the shops of Yonge and Dundas supported a queer community. The tours described sound interesting.
- Torontoist's Tricia Wood arguesthat the proposed high speed rail route in southern Ontario is wasteful spending, reflecting a two-tier transit network.
- Steve Munro crunches data on the Queen Street route to find that buses have an advantage over streetcars.
- The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr notes that the TTC is planning to noticeably expand its express bus network.
- NOW Toronto's Lisa Ferguson writes about potential NIMBYism in the opposition to new high-rises in High Park.
The Toronto Star's Peter Goffin reports on the online response to the TTC's plan to close down the Queen streetcar line this summer.
The TTC’s announcement that it will replace streetcars with buses during repairs to Queen St. this summer has jumpstarted conversation on social media.
Facebook and Twitter were flooded Wednesday morning with Torontonians bemoaning the change to their commute, criticizing the timing, and complaining about the construction projects that are causing the conversion.
Some were worried that putting more buses on the road would create more pollution.
“Buses are more harmful for the environment than streetcars, as streetcars run on electricity and not fuel,” wrote TJ Phelan on Facebook.
Global News' David Shum describes how, this summer, the Queen streetcar line will be replaced by buses.
For the first time in TTC history, transit riders will have to make due with buses along the entire 501 Queen streetcar route this summer.
From May 7 to Sept. 3, streetcars will not be travelling the busy corridor due to a number of construction projects.
“Because of a number of construction projects along Queen Street that would disrupt regular streetcar service, it was decided that replacing them with buses would allow for a better customer experience in the short-term,” TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said.
In total, 65 buses will be replacing 27 streetcars from the Neville Loop in the east end to the Long Branch loop in Etobicoke.
Michelle Da Silva's brief article in NOW Toronto notes that Queen Street West in Toronto will finally get some free public WiFi--indeed, already has it. Now for the rest of Toronto to follow suit!
Accessing free WiFi in Toronto can often mean ducking into a McDonalds, Starbucks or other fastfood chains. In “world class” cities, such as Tel Aviv, New York City, Seoul, Barcelona, Bangalore and Osaka, free Internet access is readily available everywhere.
The neighbourhood of West Queen West is hoping to change that. Starting February 23, anyone walking along Queen West between Niagara and Markham streets will be able to access free WiFi by logging onto FREE WQW WI-FI.
The service is being offered by the West Queen West BIA and Besify, a Markham-based Internet firm. This stretch of Queen West marks the first phase of a project. Rob Sysak, executive director of the WQW BIA, says that phase two of the project, which includes Queen West between Gladstone and Dovercourt, will launch in March.
blogTO notes that construction will make the 501 Queen a rather shorter route this coming year.
The TTC note is here.
The 501 streetcar spent much of 2016 avoiding a portion of Queen Street West, between Spadina and Shaw, thanks to construction. While there were shuttle buses on route, many riders chose to take the detour, which brought streetcars down along King Street West.
That portion of the route has reopened, but for most of 2017, the TTC will replace the western part of the 501 - past Roncesvalles Avenue - with buses.
"Starting Jan. 8, and throughout 2017, buses will replace streetcars on the portion of the 501 Queen route west of Roncesvalles Ave. to accommodate City of Toronto work on the Queensway Bridge, TTC streetcar track and overhead work, and the renewal of the Humber Loop," reads a note on the TTC website.
The TTC note is here.
- Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith writes about Christmas cards and memory.
- blogTO notes the impending expansion of the Drake Hotel.
- The Broadside Blog describes a documentary, The Eagle Huntress, about a Mongolian teenage girl who becomes a hunter using eagles, that sounds spectacular.
- Crooked Timber asks readers to help a teenager who has been arrested by the LAPD.
- Dangerous Minds notes some weird monsters from Japanese folklore.
- The Dragon's Tales suggests that the Hellas basin hides the remnants of its ocean.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the finding that Russia was trying to get Trump elected.
- The Volokh Conspiracy considers the issue of hate speech and immigration.
- Window on Eurasia quotes a former Ukrainian president who argues Russia does not want to restore the Soviet Union so much as it wants to dominate others.
- The Yorkshire Ranter notes how the Daily Telegraph is recommending its readers use tax shelters.
- Arnold Zwicky looks at the language of side-eye and stink-eye.
The Globe and Mail's Marcus Gee tells the story of a Queen West convenience store now closing down on account of the gentrification of its neighbourhood.
Until Thursday, Sandy Chen and Henry Zhou ran a convenience store on Toronto’s Queen Street West. As the neighbourhood around them went from seedy to artsy to trendy, their Queen’s Grocery & Variety at the corner of Queen and Lisgar streets remained stubbornly the same.
Year after year, day after day, they stood sentry behind the store counter, cheerfully hawking (as the sign outside proclaimed) “pops, snacks, ice creams, ATM, TTC, Lotto” and other necessities of urban living.
But cities are always evolving and even Queen’s Grocery couldn’t resist forever. Real estate values have soared on Queen, one of the hottest streets on the continent. Someone bought the building from their old landlord last spring. Faced with a doubling of their rent, the couple, now in their 50s, decided to wind up the business that sustained them for 17 years.
As they prepared to close on Wednesday, a handwritten sign announced “Everything must go!!!” Inside the store, already half empty, Ms. Chen was slashing prices and giving lots of stuff away free. The sound of hammering and drilling came through the wall as renovators encroached. A contractor who looked in said the space would become (what else?) a vegetarian restaurant.
It is a process that is underway on city streets from London to Chicago to Shanghai. Rundown downtown neighbourhoods are reviving. New money and new blood is rushing in. The local hardware becomes a yoga studio, the greasy spoon a coffee bar. This stretch of Queen used to boast two car-wash joints, now priced out and long gone.
The Toronto Star's Jim Coyle describes what seems to be the successful first stage of Alexandra Park's revitalization.
On a golden early-autumn day, under flawless blue skies, local residents took to the streets Saturday to celebrate fresh starts and brighter futures in the downtown neighbourhood of Alexandra Park.
The 18-acre tract — originally built in the 1960s as public housing, squeezed between the bustle of Kensington Market, Chinatown and Queen St. W. — has long been terra incognita to many in Toronto, and regarded by some who did know it as a no-go zone of gangs and hidey-holes.
But all that’s changing under a revitalization plan that began in 2008 with not much more than dreams and determination and, eight years on, celebrated the official opening Saturday of its first 40 new townhomes.
The party brought drum bands and bouncy castles and ice-cream trucks and smoking barbecues onto the sunny streets, along with delighted residents like Hamza Waseem.
Waseem, 21, came to Canada from Pakistan at age 5 and has lived in Alexandra Park since 2004.
“As a community we were known for drugs, violence, crime,” he told the Star. “But now it’s bringing more safety, and we feel better for sure. We were closed off, we were isolated from the community,” he said. “This is opening us up and making it safer.”
- Beyond the Beyond links to an exhibition of art by a Brazilian inspired by War of the Worlds.
- blogTO shares photos of Vaughan's new library.
- Centauri Dreams reports on the difficulty of reaching Proxima b.
- The Dragon's Gaze reports on KS-39b, a hot Jupiter orbiting a subgiant.
- False Steps reports on a proposed late Soviet space shuttle.
- Inkfish notes a study suggesting that cuttlefish can count to five.
- Language Hat reports on efforts to revive indigenous languages in Australia.
- Language Log shares a sign in New York that combines Latin and Chinese scripts.
- The Map Room Blog notes a Korean movie about a mid-19th century mapmaker.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer wonders what the Trump meeting with Mexico's president was about, and is unimpressed by Jill Stein.
- Savage Minds sparks a discussion among its readers about what moment made them an activist for equality.
- Torontoist reports on how the Great Hall was saved.
- Understanding Society looks at a cutting-edge sociology anthology from 2008.
- The Volokh Conspiracy reports on the decision of an American court to allow a Muslim convert to Christianity to file a civil suit with a pseudonym.
- Window on Eurasia looks at Russia-Ukraine tensions, and wonders about the consequences of Karimov's death of Karakalpakstan and Uzbekistan generally.
Jeremy Willard writes at Torontoist about the many problems facing Toronto's queer businesses. I did not know that Come As Your Are had closed down.
From the outside, Come As You Are appeared like any other storefront on Queen West. But get a little closer, and the shop slowly revealed itself to passersby: vibrators sat in the front window, and lime green interior walls reflected the bright and adventurous toys sold inside. The shop was unabashedly sexy—and for years, it had been considered one of the most sex-positive and LGBTQ-friendly sex stores in the city.
But, that has come to an end. Come As You Are is now closed, reverting to an online-only store–and another one of Toronto’s queerer businesses has been forced to shut its doors.
The store gave no warning that its final day of business would be Sunday, August 28. Anyone passing by the following morning would have been surprised to see signs in the windows reading, “Goodbye Queen West.”
“We wanted to close quietly,” says Jack Lamon, one of the co-op’s worker-owners. “I guess we didn’t want to spend the last month doing a lot of emotional processing on the [sales] floor.”
Queer businesses are struggling now more than ever. This summer alone has seen the closure of the bar Zipperz—known for its drag king nights and thriving lesbian club scene—and the martini bar and restaurant Byzantium. Glad Day Bookshop, the world’s oldest surviving LGBTQ bookshop, is moving to a new location in the hope that expansion will save the struggling business.
NOW Toronto's Kevin Ritchie describes the Great Hall's renovations.
Queen West venue the Great Hall will officially relaunch on September 21 after two years of renovation.
After Marioca Properties took ownership of the 126-year-old building at Queen and Dovercourt, Triangle Developments began a $3.5-$4 million overhaul to fix accessibility and capacity issues and restore its Victorian-era architectural details.
Port Perry-based company Adamson installed a new sound system and lighting rigs with moving fixtures in both the Main Hall and the downstairs venue formerly known as the Black Box. (A new name will be announced next month.) The builders have added more exits and washrooms, expanding the capacity from the 200s to roughly 500 people in the Main Hall and 420 in the Black Box.
An elevator has been installed to carry both patrons and equipment from street level to both rooms.
“There was a time when someone booking a show would go, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna play on this mediocre sound system with a few LED lights,’” says Lina Beaudin, head of business development and programming at the Great Hall. “They would have to bring in all this equipment to make a show amazing. Now it’s ‘Come on in and play.’”
I've been to the Great Hall, on Queen and Dovercourt, before. It's a wonderful performance space. Marcus Gee's article makes me glad that it's getting proper attention.
No earthquake, flood or hurricane destroyed old Toronto. No war laid it waste. Bulldozers and cranes knocked down scores of fine buildings in the rolling wave of destruction called urban renewal.
Countless Victorian houses fell to the wrecker’s ball. So did the old Trinity College, the grand General Post Office and the castle-like University Avenue Armouries. So did Chorley Park, the Rosedale mansion that was once the official residence of the lieutenant-governor.
Steve Metlitski shakes his head at the folly of it all. The developer, who comes from Belarus and arrived in Canada in 1989, was appalled when a friend took him to Guild Park atop the Scarborough Bluffs. Spread about its grounds are fragments from majestic buildings torn down in the post-war building boom: columns, arches, facades – the ruins of what once was. He thinks it’s “criminal, just insane” that Toronto was so careless with its architectural heritage.
Built in 1889, the Great Hall at Queen and Dovercourt was home to the first West End YMCA; most recently, it has served as a community arts centre and performance space. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
In his small way, Mr. Metlitski is trying to preserve a part of what is left. As the owner of Triangle Development, he is overseeing a painstaking, top-to-bottom renovation of one of Toronto’s last Victorian gems: the Great Hall at Dovercourt Road and Queen Street West.
Opened in 1890 as the first West End YMCA, the building has a colourful history in several chapters – first as the Y before the organization opened a new building up the road at College Street and Dovercourt in 1912; then as home of the Royal Templars of Temperance, a group that fought the scourge of alcohol abuse; then headquarters of the Polish National Union, when it published a Polish newspaper and took in Polish refugees of the Second World War; and finally, in the last couple of decades, as a community arts centre and performance space where musicians from Feist to Metric to Daniel Lanois came to play.