rfmcdonald: (photo)
2017-09-14 08:26 am

[PHOTO] Green Gables House circa 1966, seen at the Ryerson Image Centre

Green Gables House circa 1966 #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #greengableshouse #greengables #toronto #ryersonimagecentre #nytimes #thefarawaynearby

Yesterday, I linked to a National Observer report about an exciting new exhibit at the Ryerson Image Centre, of a cache of old New York Times photos acquired by that museum of photography and put on exhibit. The Faraway Nearby is indeed a good exhibit--I stopped by last night. My attention was caught particularly by a photograph taken of Green Gables House in 1966, long before the house had acquired its accretion of ersatz farm buildings and vast parking lots. The contrast with some of the photos I have been sharing--in particular, with yesterday's photo post--is enlightening.
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2017-07-20 01:35 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Five links on Toronto, from housing issues to renaming Ryerson

  • blogTO notes apartment complexes will soon be rezoned to allow them to host more businesses.

  • Torontoist's Tamara Yelland argues against Matt Gurney's dismissive take that people who can't afford Toronto housing should go.

  • Global News reports on the bidding wars for condo rentals in Toronto.

  • At CBC, Doug George-Kanentiio argues in favour of renaming Ryerson University, perhaps giving it a First Nations name.

  • The Toronto Star's Martin Regg Cohn reflects on his experiences around the world, seeing statues to past regimes taken down.

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2017-07-04 02:54 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Five links in Toronto, from Andrew Kinsman to West Queen West to Egerton Ryerson

  • 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.

rfmcdonald: (photo)
2017-06-07 07:36 am

[PHOTO] Lori Blondeau, Asiniy Iskwew, at Devonian Square, Ryerson University

Lori Blondeau, Asiniy Iskwew

Cree/Métis/Salteaux artist Lori Blondeau's Asiniy Iskwew, part of the Scotiabank Contact Festival, is on display in Devonian Square in the heart of Ryerson University's downtown campus.

Asiniy Iskwew (2016)—whose Cree words translate to “Rock Woman”—continues the artist’s interest in rocks connected to Indigenous traditions, such as petroforms (large stones or boulders outlining anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, or geometric forms), and rock art (paintings on or carvings into rock surfaces). In this series of photographs, Blondeau celebrates and gives homage to Plains Indigenous rock formations, significant ancient sites created for sacred and rite-of-passage ceremonies, and for recording battles and histories. She draws from oral histories of Mistaseni—a 400-tonne sacred boulder marking an important Indigenous gathering place that the Saskatchewan government dynamited in 1966 to make room for a man-made lake. Capturing performative interventions in the landscape, the images depict the artist standing statuesquely atop glacial boulders, draped in blood-red velvet cloth. Strong and solemn, her figure reflects the resilience of Indigenous cultures.

Situated in Devonian Square, a meeting place with a man-made pond in the centre of Ryerson’s campus, the photographs are seamlessly adhered to the contemporary site’s two-billion-year-old boulders imported from the Canadian Shield. The location resonates with its complex connections to the ancient sites of Blondeau’s research, as the Square serves as a gathering area, but one that is artificially constructed for an urban environment. This divergence points to issues of displacement and environmental preservation, offering a potent reminder of Toronto’s pre-colonial history and the controversial treaties that renounced Indigenous rights to ancestral lands. Here, Blondeau occupies the site—as if summoning its spirits—and proclaims (her) Indigenous history and irrefutable connection to the land.

Asiniy Iskwew in the background
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2016-11-25 11:41 am

[PHOTO] Three photos from The Edge of the Earth, Ryerson Image Centre

The latest exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre, The Edge of the Earth, is an exhibtion of unsettling photography looking at the ways humanity has changed the Earth in the Anthropocene, and the way the Earth looks now.

Peter Goins' 1988 photograph of the cone that marks the site where the Trinity bomb exploded in 1945 is stunning in its simplicity.

From Peter Goins, Trinity Test Site (June 1988) #toronto #ricearth #petergoins #trinity

Benoit Aquin's photo of an Inner Mongolian city swept by a dust storm in 2006 likewise says much.

From Benoit Aquin, Equestrian Statue of Genghis Khan, Xilinhot, Inner Mongolia, 2006 #toronto #ricearth #innermongolia

The nearly cartographic precision of Mishra Jenner's overhead photo of a Texas county criss-crossed by oil fields is stunning.

From Mishra Jenner, Watson Oil Field, Yoakum County, Texas #toronto #ricearth #texas

This exhibition is running until the 4th of December. I highly recommend it.
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2016-11-05 04:24 pm

[URBAN NOTE] "Ryerson University Wants Its Campus To Become a “Public Realm”"

Will Koblensky's Torontoist post highlights a Ryerson University plan that sounds entrancing. Why, indeed, isolate a campus already deeply embedded in Yonge Street from the city?

Typical university campuses are often themed. Take U of T’s Hogwarts-like architecture, or York University’s city-unto-itself feel.

Ryerson University has the distinction of being among downtown’s crowded corridors without imposing a uniform streetscape connecting its many buildings.

That’s already begun to change. Some of the urban campus’s roads have become ambient-lit walkways, and sidewalks have turned into pedestrian boulevards connecting Ryerson’s expanding array of learning centres.

The car-free section of Gould Street just east of Yonge is the genesis of what Ryerson and the City of Toronto plan as a foot traffic-favoured part of town.

The design’s aim is to invite students and anyone in the area off the main street into what Ryerson calls a public realm.

There is much more at Torontoist.
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2016-08-31 03:42 pm

[URBAN NOTE] "Ryerson students make Toronto residence their new home"

The Toronto Star's Laurie Monsebraaten reports on the move-in day of new students at Ryerson University's downtown dorms, the relatively few who did.

It was a potent mix of nervous excitement, swallowed tears and sheer exhaustion.

As police directed traffic and a music boom box blared, hundreds of students and parents pushing trolleys packed with pillows, printers and the odd teddy bear converged on Ryerson University’s downtown campus for residence move-in day Sunday.

Mia Croney of Barbados, who has visited family in Toronto many times, still can’t believe she will be living here.

“I’m pretty excited,” said the 18-year-old arts major as she unpacked a mountain of clothes in the apartment-style residence she will be sharing with three other first-year students. “Ryerson was my number one choice.”
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2016-06-03 04:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] "How NIMBYism ‘killed a field of dreams’ for Ryerson soccer"

This is sad.

Ryerson University has turfed plans to make over an east-end high school field.

The university abruptly ended plans to upgrade the soccer pitch at St. Patrick Catholic Secondary School to a FIFA-grade turf field. The downtown university had been willing to finance the $2-million project in return for claiming the site as its home field.

But after almost a year of planning, concerns from local residents helped put an end to the project.

“It’s an unfortunate example of how NIMBYism killed a field of dreams for the broader community,” John Yan, a spokesperson for the Toronto Catholic District School Board, told the Star.

Councillor Paula Fletcher stressed she supports recreation as well as resource sharing across organizations, but says the project didn’t fit the neighbourhood, which is in her ward. Soon after she voiced her concerns, the university told the school the plan wouldn’t go ahead.
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2016-05-11 04:42 pm

[URBAN NOTE] "Japanese influence is seeping into downtown Toronto"

One interesting thing about this trend, as described by the Toronto Star's Karon Liu, is that I'm not aware of this being accompanied by extra immigration. Any Japanese diaspora to downtown Toronto is substantially one of culture, not people.

“This is the guy on the bag,” I say, pointing at 68-year-old Tetsushi Mizokami to the people queuing outside Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake shop, next to the Toronto Coach Terminal on Bay Street, on a rainy Friday evening. Some smile out of politeness, others ignore us and just want to get inside. For a guy whose desserts — and the white paper bag it comes in — reached trophy status since the Uncle Tetsu shop opened a year ago, I would have thought cheesecake groupies would flock to him.

The soft-spoken Mizokami was in town in April to oversee the opening of his third Toronto spot, a sit-down restaurant called Uncle Tetsu’s Angel Cafe just east of University Ave. on Dundas St. W. It’s akin to a Japanese maid café where servers are dressed in cosplay maid uniforms — some of whom perform choreographed dance numbers to Japanese pop hits on a mini-stage in the dining room. The restaurateur already has plans to open a fourth restaurant, this time focusing on ramen with tomato and seafood-based broths, and he wants to keep it within walking distance of his three other shops.

“The number one location is maybe Dundas and Yonge, but it is very difficult to get that location. Second choice is Bay St. and Dundas because it is easy for beginner (businesses),” he says.

Over the last year or two, one-by-one Japanese eateries opened up along Dundas St. W. between Bay and St. Patrick Sts., creating a new culinary destination that Toronto food enthusiasts are dubbing Little Japan.

The strip, smack between Ryerson University and OCAD, reminds Mizokami of his hometown of Fukuoka in the southwest part of Japan where, in the ’70s, he managed more than a dozen restaurants catering to the youths from the nearby university.
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2016-04-29 11:43 am

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO notes how Ryerson University has launched an incubator for the local music scene.

  • Crooked Timber notes the high minimum wage in Australia.

  • Dangerous Minds shares a video of Keith Haring getting arrested from 1982.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on a study of hot Neptunes.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes that a search of WISE data did not produce Planet Nine.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that Beyoncé has produced merchandise calling for her own boycott, to the anger of her detractors.

  • Languages of the World wonders how anyone could argue that Yiddish comes from Turkey, never mind argue so badly.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen is pessimistic about Greece.

  • Neuroskeptic notes a new brain study tracing human thought.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at how Republicans are coming to accept Trump.

  • Towleroad notes that Timothy Conigrave's Holding the Man is set to be adapted for the movies.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Chernobyl's impact on the Soviet Union, considers which Russian federal subjects might be next for merger, and notes Russia's acceptance of a Chinese railroad built with international gauge on its territory.

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2016-02-10 10:58 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On the arrival of the Sam the Record Man sign at Yonge-Dundas Square

The above is a rendering of the Sam the Record Man sign, planned to be posted--as described by the Toronto Star's Jennifer Pagliaro--in Yonge and Dundas Square, south of its former location.

Years after Sam the Record Man’s neon vinyl was dismantled and stored out of view, the sign’s keepers at Ryerson University are now starting the process of restoring it in earnest.

This week, the university issued a request for interested qualified companies to bid on installing the sign on top of a city-owned building facing Yonge-Dundas Square.

A Ryerson spokesperson said it’s too soon to estimate when the sign will be up, but that the university is “committed” to restoring it. Companies that respond will be asked about a timeline, Michael Forbes said in an email. Ryerson will be paying all the costs.

[. . .]

The following year, council backed a proposal to put the sign atop the roof of the Toronto Public Health building at 277 Victoria St. — around the corner from the old record store site and facing Yonge-Dundas Square, a spot city staff called a “culturally appropriate and relevant location for the Sam signage.”

When that plan was debated at council, there was concern the building on Victoria St. could also soon be up for sale.

At the request of Councillor Josh Matlow, council voted that any future sale of the site would include an agreement to preserve and maintain the sign there.

Below is my photo of the sign in question, in situ at Yonge and Gould.

Sam the Record Man
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2015-11-18 03:06 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Centauri Dreams considers what Pluto would actually look like.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes the complications facing planetary systems with multiple stars.

  • The Dragon's Tales updates on the way in Syria.

  • Joe. My. God. notes a bill proposed by Ted Cruz that would ban Syrian Muslim immigrants from the United States.

  • Language Hat notes the discovery of he first abecedary, in the Middle East.

  • Language Log notes the peculiarities of K-pop English.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the concerns of librarians under George Bush about the implications of the Patriot Act for their careers.

  • Marginal Revolution notes the problems facing Muslims on the French job market.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes the lack of evidence that Europeans are more pacifistic.

  • Towleroad notes the opposition of Estonian conservatives to same-sex civil unions.The Volokh Conspiracy provides advice to liberals and conservatives on how to respond to Syrian refugees.

  • Why I Love Toronto highlights the Weegee exhibition on at the Ryerson Image Centre.

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2015-10-28 05:03 pm

[URBAN NOTE] "Ryerson University's rooftop farm celebrates bumper harvest"

Marco Chown Oved's Toronto Star article reminds me that I really do need to bring my crops in.

Overcoming their hesitance to get their shoes muddy and their hands dirty, young folks bend down to plant garlic cloves in long beds of dark, rich soil and compost.

It’s a scene of bucolic tranquility until a wailing siren blasts a periodic reminder that this farm isn’t in the countryside, but in the centre of one of North America’s largest cities.

On Tuesday, Ryerson University’s rooftop farm hosted tours as part of its first annual Harvest Festival, marking the end of its first full growing season only blocks from Yonge-Dundas Square.

Groups of curious students, staff and urban agriculture enthusiasts filed down straw-covered paths, between aluminum heating vents and under the looming turquoise facade of the condo-converted warehouse across the street.

They then headed to a reception serving gourmet dishes prepared by campus chefs with produce from the roof: celeriac leek soup with blue cheese mousse, winter squash tarts with candied borage flowers, blue potato croquettes with radish cream.
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2015-02-23 11:07 am

[PHOTO] Ryerson Student Learning Center, from the south

Ryerson Student Learning Center, from the south #toronto #ryersonuniversity #ryerson #architecture #yongeanddundas #torontophotos

Ryerson University's new Student Learning Centre, located on the former site of Sam the Record Man at Yonge and Gould, is indeed quite spectacular as seen from the outside.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
2014-12-31 07:49 am

[PHOTO] Bikes in front of former World's Biggest Bookstore

Bikes in front of former World's Biggest Bookstore

As Ryerson's nearly-completed student centre rises in the background, the half-demolished World's Biggest Bookstore sits exposed to the warm Christmas air.
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2014-10-23 12:55 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO notes Ryerson University's new building on Church Street.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to one paper examining comet-like exoplanets and links to another tracking two families of exocomets in the Beta Pictoris system.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the intelligence of raccoons.

  • Steve Munro supports Olivia Chow as the best transit candidate.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that oil prices might remain relatively low for a while.

  • Spacing Toronto's John Lorinc defends strategic voting in Toronto.

  • The Toronto Standard and blogTO both like candidate Ari Goldkind's transit plan.

  • Towleroad notes pop star Ariana Grande dropped Catholicism because of hostility towards gay people like her brother.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Ukrainians overwhelmingly believe there's a war with Russia while Russians disagree, suggests the benefit of a new Russian history that tracks the people along with the state.

  • Zero Geography's Mark Graham announces a new project of his studying global digital development.