rfmcdonald: (photo)
Control room window gone transparent

I was quickly walking through Bloor-Yonge station Sunday evening, heading towards the southbound platform, when I looked over and saw that the control room's window, normally set to an opaque mirror, was transparent. Why would I not pause to take a quick shot of the revealed interior?
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Yesterday morning, I got off from the shuttlebus at Yonge and Bloor and decided to look up. The towers that are on three corners of this intersection are tall, One Bloor East being particularly fetching. The southwest corner that was formerly home to Stollery's is vacant, but I entirely expect it to be filled.

Looking up at the Bay

Looking up at CIBC

Looking past the former Stollery's

Looking up at One Bloor East
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Towards Yonge and Bloor #toronto #skyline #tower #condos #yongeandbloor

Almost all of the towers you see in this photo, taken looking northwest from Church Street towards Yonge and Bloor, were built in the last few years.
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Jennifer Pagliaro's article in the Toronto Star explores the political mechanics behind the impending construction of a super-high condo tower at Yonge and Bloor. The City of Toronto lacks much control over the process, it seems.

An unprecedented development — an 80-storey Toronto condo tower that will be second in height only to the CN Tower — sets a new standard for density at a crucial downtown intersection. Those extremes have created schisms at city hall over more than a year, during a planning process that has left key questions lingering: How much is too much? And who decides?

What occurred with this tower, which Yorkville developer Sam Mizrahi has dubbed “The One,” does not reflect how all building applications are dealt with in this city. But it is an example of how, some councillors say, the city is being built higher and higher, under duress.

As real estate wars see developers buying smaller and smaller parcels of land at rising prices, they are increasingly building skyward to cover their costs.

That’s been noticed at city hall. City councillors and staff say developers are applying more frequently to build well above the prescribed height and density for a neighbourhood. Councillors say there is little recourse to accommodating exceptions, with a provincially legislated appeals body capable of overturning council’s planning choices.

With the province in the midst of a review of that powerful body, the Ontario Municipal Board, city advocates say it’s finally time to get serious about removing Toronto from its grasp.

In the absence of reform, this is how one very tall, very dense building got the green light at council.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
From "Green Leaves" by John Packman #toronto #yongeandbloor #publicart #johnpackman #green #leaves #stollerys

Photographer John Packman's "Green Leaves" wraps around the site of the former Stollery's on the southwest corner of Yonge and Bloor, printed on the boards which block the future construction site from public view. The city outside can be seen dimly reflected in the glossy image.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
The former Stollery's #toronto #yongeandbloor #stollerys #construction

I've blogged in the past about Stollery's, a men's clothing store on the southwest corner of Yonge and Bloor that was hastily demolished in January 2015 ahead of a heritage designation. There was discussion that an eighty-story mixed-use tower was intended for that site. As of June 2016, the whole lot remains empty, and level.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Office behind glass #toronto #yongeandbloor #blooryonge #ttc #subway #office #glass

This office on the Bloor level of the Bloor-Yonge TTC station was, for a change, not hidden from public view by darkened glass when I passed by on Wednesday.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
I've blogged before about the Cumberland Terrace shopping mall complex in Yorkville, north and west of Yonge and Bloor. In November 2014, I noted a public art project inside the mall--called a dying mall, unrenovated since 1974 and thus retaining a certain curiosity factor, by Shawn Micallef--aimed at reconnecting it to its Yorkville roots. In January 2015, I shared a photo of the curiously empty mall's lower level by Bay Station, at a mere quarter to nine in the evening.

I've recently had the opportunity to walk along Cumberland Street, past the glass-faced north wall of Cumberland Terrace, past the same passage with the same potted tree. The second photo was made by the camera on my new phone, a Nexus 4, the first with the older Huawei.

Cumberland Terrace at night, through glass #toronto #yorkville #cumberlandterrace #night #glass

Cumberland Terrace at night, through glass, take 2 #toronto #yongeandbloor #cumberlandterrace #night
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NOW Toronto's Kevin Ritchie writes about the impending closure of HMV's Bloor Street location, as the chain promises--promises--to survive in the new market.

Increasing rent prices in the city’s luxury shopping district are forcing music retailer HMV to shut its 50 Bloor Street store at the end of March.

The closure leaves five HMV locations in Toronto: the flagship store at 333 Yonge Street, the store at Eglinton and Laird and stores in the Eaton Centre, Dufferin Mall and Sherway.

“It comes down to economics. We’ve been desperately trying to find a way through with the landlord,” Nick Williams, HMV’s president and CEO, told NOW. “As you would expect the rent price on Bloor Street is prohibitive for most. We’ll look at what opportunities will become available elsewhere in that area but we just couldn’t make it work in that particular unit.”

[. . .]

In 2011, HMV Canada was acquired by Re:Capital, a subsidiary of London-based restructuring firm Hilco Capital (the company also acquired HMV's former UK parent two years later), which expanded the store's products from CDs and DVDs to include an e-commerce platform, vinyl records, headphones and accessories, apparel, and gifts and collectibles related to music and film.

Vinyl is a particular growth area. Records are now available in 65 of HMV’s Canadian stores and heavily represented on shelves in its flagship locations in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton. Williams says vinyl represents 20 per centof HMV’s overall sales so this year he plans to expand vinyl sections in smaller stores as well.

“[The market] is not as ever changing as it has been previously,” he explains, adding that CD sales have flattened out. “You have a consumer settling in and buying CDs and buy a lot of them, and you have those that are now buying and exploring, for the first time, vinyl.”
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The Toronto Star's Christopher Hume mourns, perhaps prematurely, for the end of Yonge and Bloor as a happening cultural destination.

The richer Toronto grows, the poorer it feels. The most recent reminder came with the death of Avrom Isaacs, long one of the two or three most important art dealers in Canada.

For several decades his gallery on Yonge St. just north of Bloor was Ground Zero for anyone interested in contemporary Canadian art. Just doors away was Carmen Lamanna, the other legendary Toronto gallerist, not so much Isaacs’ rival as a fellow traveller. A few blocks west in Yorkville, Walter Moos opened his gallery in 1962, a year after Isaacs moved to Yonge

Eventually, the Village, as it was then called, was enshrined as Toronto’s designated art district. At its height, there must have been more than a dozen art galleries in Yorkville, not all of them worthy, but part of the scene nevertheless.

Today, little remains. A few dealers have hung on, but even before Lamanna and Isaacs died, both had been forced to relocate, victims of rising rents and land values that they did as much as anyone to increase.

[. . .]

By the turn of the century, however, this stretch of the city’s main street had become a series of restaurants and after the demise of the Fiesta, none of them particularly noteworthy. Lamanna’s old place even did time as a massage parlour.

Pretty soon the three-storey mid-19th century buildings that comprise the streetscape will be part of a 58-floor condo tower that has also displaced the venerable Cookbook Store that stood at the corner of Yonge and Cumberland for 31 years.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
The Toronto Reference Library is a beautiful building, full of elegant curves from bottom to (in the final photo of the three) top.

Curves of the Reference Library #toronto #library #torontoreferencelibrary #architecture

Curves of the Reference Library, 2 #toronto #library #torontoreferencelibrary #architecture

Curves of the Reference Library, 3 #toronto #library #architecture #torontoreferencelibrary
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  • blogTO shares photos of Yonge and Bloor from the 1960s.

  • Crooked Timber's Corey Robin looks at trigger warnings in education.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes that Barnard's Star cannot support a massive planet in its orbit.

  • The Dragon's Tales has more on the Ukrainian war.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog examines racism.

  • Far Outliers notes how the Ryukyus fared under American occupation.

  • A Fistful of Euros looks at the divergences of Spain and the United Kingdom interest rate-wise.

  • Geocurrents notes another small Kurdish-speaking sect.
  • Joe. My. God. notes an attempt to appeal the Irish marriage referendum.
  • The Map Room's Jonathan Crowe notes a 2016 conference on fictional maps in Poland.

  • Marginal Revolution notes a microhistory of a block in New York City.

  • The Power and the Money examines Ukraine's debt negotiations and argues that Russia is not as big a player in global oil markets as it might like.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog and Window on Eurasia note how ethnic Russians in Ukraine are continuing to identify as ethnic Ukrainians.

  • Understanding Society considers realism in social sciences.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi talks about the Sad Puppies.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Tatarstan's potential separatism and suggests some Russian Germans still want an autonomy.

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  • Christianity Today notes how the Bible verses used to debate same-sex marriage have changed over time.

  • On the subject of same-sex marriage, Lawyers, Guns and Money observes the differences between this court case and past cases involving interracial marriage, Savage Minds looks at the anthropological perspective, and the Tin Man reflects on the achievement.

  • Locally, Torontoist looks at the political history of Pride, the National Post observes the decision of Patrick Brown, Progressive Consrrvative leader, to march in pride as the first leader to do so, Elton John's Torontonian husband David Furnish reflects on his history growing up gay in Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s, and an epochal 1976 kiss-in at Yonge and Bloor is described in the Toronto Star in the context of LGBT activism.

  • Internationally, CBC reported on the police attack on a gay pride march in Istanbul.

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The Church of Scientology's downtown Toronto location on Yonge just south of Bloor, where I had some readings performed on me on the streetSeptember 2004 and where I witnessed Anonymous protests in February 2008, has today come up in the news for back taxes. The Toronto Star's Stephen Spencer Davis reports.

The Church of Scientology of Toronto, which owns 696 Yonge St., owes more than $61,000 in property taxes and penalties for 2014, out of a total of just under $112,000. The organization made only partial payments of its 2014 property taxes, according to Supervisor of Collections Stephen Franceschini.

It also owes $57,348.15 in taxes and penalties on the interim 2015 property tax bill, according to Franceschini.

Property owners receive an interim tax bill near the beginning of each year, and typically a final bill in May. Payments on the 2015 interim bill were due March 2, April 1 and May 1, according to the city’s website.

“We have contacted the local Church in Toronto and they intend to get this paid forthwith,” Scientology spokesperson Linda Wieland said in an email.

The news comes as the organization says it still plans to convert the Yonge St. building into one of Scientology’s “Ideal Orgs,” which it first announced in early 2013. Scientology describes these facilities as “cathedrals” in desirable locations, “intended to meet increasing demand worldwide for Scientology services and initiatives.”


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