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  • The area of Humber River Bay may yet be radically transformed by the development of the vast Christie's site. The Globe and Mail reports.

  • Torontoist notes how the City of Toronto is starting to let apartment dwellers know if they might die in a disastrous fire like Grenfell.

  • Wired reports on the vast Google plan to make not just Quayside but the entire waterfront a high-tech prototype.

  • TVO's John Michael McGrath argues that the city does not need Google to design good neighbourhoods.

  • Apparently many people are escaping the Toronto affordable housing crisis by moving into vans. The Toronto Star reports.

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  • The scale of the changes impending for Bloor and Dundas is, literally, immense. blogTO reports.

  • Alas, the venerable Green Room hidden behind Bloor and Brunswick is set to leave its abode. blogTO reports.

  • I love this proposal at Spacing by Michael McClelland for an archeology park in storied downtown Toronto.

  • I agree with Simon Bredin at Torontoist that it would be a shame for Torontonians to losing public access to the Hearn Generating Station.

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  • These Forest Hill homeowners' claim that renovating neighbours stole their intellectual property seem silly to me. The Toronto Star reports.

  • Shawn Micallef notes that the traditional architecture style of Toronto is of one pastiche or another. Maybe modernism especially?

  • Toronto Life shares photos of a beautiful waterfront home in the Beaches, one I have passed by frequently. Only $6 million!

  • Ellen Scheinberg of Spacing tells how detective work tracked down the house that was subject of Lawren Harris' "Toronto House".

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  • Spacing's John Lorinc considers confusion over what the idea of "mixed-use" development on the waterfront is.

  • Dave Leblanc looks at the PATH, the underground tunnels in downtown Toronto making up a huge mall. It counts. The Globe and Mail reports.

  • It turns out that the #worldslargestrubberduck was actually really good for waterfront businesses. The Toronto Star reports.

  • Toronto Life interviews RioCan head Jonathan Gitlin, who thinks rent control will be terrible for renters.

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  • blogTO looks at the mirrors being scattered across the University of Toronto campus downtown. (Art.)

  • blogTO notes that old Toronto street signs are going up for sale.

  • Abandoned silos across Toronto are being refurbished for a variety of purposes. blogTO reports.

  • This blogTO photo essay about the vestiges of abandoned streets and related infrastructure across Toronto is evocative.

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  • Alex Bozikovic looks at the plans for 1 Bloor Street West, The One. This tower may well become a national icon.

  • Will a Google company play a leading role in the construction of the east waterfront neighbourhood of Quayside? The Toronto Star reports.

  • The idea of the Parkdale library becoming the centre of a bigger cultural hub is provocative. NOW Toronto reports.

  • This art show at York featuring works by artists from the old internal suburbs of Toronto sounds great. The Globe and Mail reports.

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  • The National Post notes that Toronto city council voted against naming a stadium after the late Rob Ford.

  • blogTO notes that Humber Bay Shores wants to run a private neighbourhood bus service, for want of a TTC presence.

  • Andrew Hunter, former Canadian curator at the AGO, calls for a decolonization of art galleries across Canada.

  • Joanna Lavoie describes the concrete sculptures of Duane Linklater newly installed across the Don valley.

  • At Torontoist, Dennis Duffy reports on the 19th century criminal gangs once populating the Don Valley. Seriously.

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  • Visits to food banks in Toronto have returned to Great Recession levels, Global News notes.

  • Torontoist notes that the reluctance to build sidewalks in lower-density areas has serious negative consequences.

  • The photos blogTO shares of some Toronto intersections a century ago are remarkable. (There was nothing at many.)

  • Jennifer Pagliaro states the obvious in the Toronto Star: mass transit planning is driven by short-term political convenience, not long-term planning.

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  • blogTO argues East Chinatown, at Broadview and Gerrard, is an up-and-coming neighbourhood.

  • East-end Toronto, from Leslieville to points east, definitely is up-and-coming. The Globe and Mail reports.

  • It looks like the Kirby GO Station was approved for political reasons, not because of actual local need. The Toronto Star reports.

  • Steve Munro notes that, on the 23rd, the TTC Overhead Shop will have an open house explaining the streetcars' pantograph.

  • In July, Torontoist looked at Toronto architect Eden Smith, connected to the Arts and Crafts Movement in Canada.

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  • Torontoist introduces its readers to the now-vanished neighbourhood of The Ward.

  • The heated discussion of condo development in Yorkville has been taken to the level of community mediation.

  • Yorkville is an ever-changing neighbourhood, evolving far past its low-rent hippie days of the 1960s. The Globe and Mail explores.

  • NOW Toronto notes how the York Square development in Yorkville is set to be leveled, past value notwithstanding.

  • Global News reports on how in some booming neighbourhoods, like Leslieville, local parents cannot find places for kids in local schools.

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  • At Torontoist, Sean Marshall praises the Keesmaat legacy.

  • At Spacing, John Lorinc notes how the new downtown core of Toronto is arguably the landmark legacy of Jennifer Keesmaat.

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Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (1) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick


Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (2) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick


Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (3) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick


The strikingly halved house at 54 1/2 St. Patrick Avenue, lone survivor of what was a stretch of row houses on this street north of Queen Street West and just a couple minutes' walk west from University Avenue, has received international attention, from sites like Atlas Obscura and Amusing Planet. In April of 2013, blogTO's Chris Bateman explained how this building came to be and just how it managed to survive.

The row of houses was built between 1890 and 1893 on what was first Dummer Street, then William Street, then, finally, St. Patrick Street. The names of the roads in this part of the city area have been shuffled more than most: St. Patrick Street used to refer to the stretch of road that's now part of Dundas west of McCaul; McCaul used to be William Henry Street, then West William Street, for example.

For much of its past the street was blighted by poverty. Early photos show severe faces, crumbling wall cladding, and backyards strewn with detritus. More recently the area between University and Spadina has been home to a large Chinese community.

Starting in 1957, most of the block bound by Queen, McCaul, St. Patrick, and Dundas Street was purchased in pieces by Windlass Holdings Ltd., the company that developed the Village by the Grange, sometimes using aggressive tactics to secure land deeds.

The owner of 54 St. Patrick Street - once part of the original terrace - complained to the Toronto Star that the company's actions were "an extreme example of blockbusting," claiming he had received over 300 directives on his property in a single year.

Despite some resistance, the owners of the homes sold up at different times, and the row was pulled down in pieces like tooth extractions. The sole-survivor pictured here was once in the third house in the row from the south - the similar buildings next door are a later addition built on top of a laneway.

Instead, the company demolished its neighbour to the north with surgical precision, ensuring not even the woodwork on the facade of the hold-out building was disturbed. An internal supporting wall became a blank exterior when the house next door came down.


Also in 2013, Patty Winsa wrote in the Toronto Star about the house from the perspective of its current owner.

The 120-year-old residence at 54 ½ St. Patrick St. bears the scars of a development battle.

The Victorian row house was awkwardly severed from its neighbour in the 1970s when the owners refused to sell, and it lacks the symmetry of another side.

It is literally “half a house,” says its current owner, Albert Zikovitz, laughingly from his adjacent office in the Cottage Life Magazine building. “Everybody looks at it.”

The house is one of a few single-family homes left on the densely packed street near Queen and University. But Zikovitz, who purchased the house last year after the owner went into a retirement home, says he won’t tear it down.

“I love the house,” says Zikovitz, who is president of the magazine. Plans are in the works this year to restore the exterior of the building and turn the interior into office space.


Work was being done on the house when I passed by Tuesday evening. Here's to hoping this anomaly survives: the reflexive double-take of passersby is fun.
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  • Wired features an article talking about what Burning Man, and Black Rock City, teaches us about how cities work.

  • At The New Republic, Colin Kinniburgh talks about some strategies to fight gentrification, some potentially useful and others not.

  • Bloomberg View observes that China's Pearl River Delta--briefly, most of urban Guangzhou from Hong Kong up--is set to have a huge property boom.
  • Bloomberg describes how Algeria, hostile to taking on debt, is going through a period of deep austerity.

  • Open Democracy looks at how the Belarusian language, despite improvements, is shut out of the country's education system.
  • This Toronto Star article describing the detritus left by refugees fleeing New York just before they get to Canada is very sad.

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  • At Torontoist, Ellen Scheinberg tells the story of the Harris Delicatessen, first Jewish deli of Toronto.

  • Spacing's Chris Bateman describes how the City Park tower complex in Church and Wellesley were the first Modern apartment high-rises in Toronto.

  • At the Toronto Star, Scott Wheeler notes the complaints of some Junction residents that gentrification is driving out the poor.

  • Is the recent drop in housing prices giving buyers too much power over sellers? The Toronto Star reports.

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  • blogTO notes the new name of Toronto's Regent Park, "DuEast", after Dundas Street East.

  • In the Toronto Star, Shawn Micallef argues a recent festival shows the potential of east-end high-rise neighbourhood Main Square.

  • Also in the Star, Francine Kopun looks at the half-billion dollars put into renovating Sherway Gardens.

  • Ainslie Cruickshank reports on how the many who care for late councilor Pam McConnell are mourning her.

  • In The Globe and Mail, Miriam Katawazi reports on finds from remarkable, long-delayed inventory of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

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  • This U>long-form CBC article looking at Ken Pagan, the man who became infamous through his beer can toss, has insight.

  • I like Christopher Hume's article describing changes of zoning around apartment highrises, to allow shops.

  • John Lorinc's suggestion that taxes collected from foreign buyers be put towards social housing is provocative.

  • Robert Zunke is the man, sometime construction worker, assembling shrines on the Leslie Street spit.

  • Torontoist describes Blockobana, the queer black space at this year's Toronto Caribbean Festival.

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  • In The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee looks at how the new high-rise CityPlace district, on the waterfront, is becoming a neighbourhood.

  • Steve Munro celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Spadina streetcar, here and here.

  • Justin Ling at Vice reports on the new disappearances of queer men in Toronto that have left the community on edge.

  • At the Toronto Star, Ben Spurr notes that the bike route at Bathurst and Adelaide, overcrowded, is going to be improved.

  • Aeryn Pfaff describes at Torontoist the historic and continuing important of Hanlan's beach for the queer community of Toronto.

  • Tenzin Nawang Tekan describes the importance of the mono for Tibetans and Tibetan-Canadians, starting in Parkdale.

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  • CBC reports on how the Hudson Bay port of Churchill could profit from global warming opening up sea lanes but suffer from heaving land wrecking infrastructure.

  • Brett Bundale reports on how Halifax, Nova Scotia, is booming, unlike the rest of the Maritimes.

  • This article describing how the London police remain vague about the number of dead in Grenfell Tower is horrifying.

  • Global News reports on how many in Harlem dislike the idea of renaming their neighbourhood's south "SoHa".

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  • Sarah-Joyce Battersby writes for Metro Toronto about how civic activists need to look before the downtown for paradigms of sustainable growth.

  • Steve Kupferman argues at Toronto Life that Toronto is not yet on the brink of a housing market collapse.

  • The Globe and Mail's Alex Bozikovic describes how the Bentway, a public space underneath the Gardiner by Fort York, is an unexpected success.

  • Scott Wheeler notes in the Toronto Star how the World's Largest Rubber Duck successfully drove traffic to the waterfront.

  • Jennifer Pagliaro notes in the Toronto Star what I think is a fundamentally misconceived opposition to a newly approved condo tower at Yonge and Eglinton.

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  • Nikhil Sharma at Torontoist looks at the latest City of Toronto TransformTO report on adapting to climate change.

  • The Toronto Star Fatima Syed looks at how community organizations in Toronto are getting involved in running local parks.

  • Politico.eu notes how Malta, despite having plenty of sun, is having difficulty getting solar energy (and other alternative energy) up and running.

  • The Inter Press Service examines the potential complexities involved in China's involvement in Argentina's nuclear energy program.

  • VICE reports on the desperate need to get Ojibwa consent before building a nuclear waste disposal site on their traditional lands.

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