Sunday saw Open Streets Toronto come into play for the second time, closing off huge chunks of Yonge Street (and Bloor to the west and east of Yonge, too). Sunday afternoon was bright and blue, a perfect day for people to promenade down from Bloor to College, looking at the streetscape and taking in the day's activities.
Eliot's Bookshop, located the intersection of Yonge and Wellesley at 584 Yonge Street. Since my first visit to Toronto in 2002, and long before then for others, Eliot's has been a centrepiece of Toronto's used book market, the three stories of the building being packed with used books of all kinds spilling off their shelves. How sad, then, that rising property taxes on Yonge mean that Eliot's will have to close up shop, the owner of the building and the bookstore hoping to find a more profitable business to take over his lease.
- Robert Benzie notes that Ontario tenants will soon have greater protection against eviction, including compensation.
- In the aftermath of the successful Parkdale tenants' strike, Jonathan Robart provides resources for the interested.
- Ellen Brait notes that making front yards in Brockton Village into vegetable gardens is a thing. I approve.
- John Tory wants the Ontario government to reconsider a tax structure that threatens to end Yonge Street businesses. Too late?
- blogTO notes that the former location of Pages on Queen Street West finally has a new tenant, a housewares store.
- Margaret Atwood's opposition to a Davenport Road condo development made headlines.
- Christopher Hume in the Toronto Star makes the point that Toronto needs more midrise housing.
- Global News reports the sad news that Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat has resigned.
- Toronto Life describes how a lucky young couple in their 20s found an affordable apartment downtown, on Yonge, even!
- Torontoist takes issue with the positive take CBC provided of Blue Jays beer-thrower Ken Pagan, softpeddling racism.
- Councillor Shelley Carroll does a great job deconstructing "Stepgate". (You get what you pay for, to start.)
- House of Lords, a hairdressing shop a half-century old on Yonge below Bloor, is set to close. The Toronto Star's Jaren Kerr reports.
- Mayor John Tory would like to freeze TTC fare increases for 2018. Can his government pull it off? The Toronto Star's Ben Spurr reports.
- Rents in Toronto are near the level of Brooklyn, two thousand per one bedroom, and tenants are desperate.
- The National Post covers a disturbing report about claiming a police officer maimed a teenager. If the Toronto police have been actively trying to cover up criminal assault by one of their members ...
- Global News notes that Metrolinx has opted to remove Bombardier for consideration in operating GO Transit.
- A high-speed ferry link between Toronto and Niagara--St. Catherine's--is imaginable. Economically viable? The Globe and Mail reports.
- Simon Lewsen describes in The Globe and Mail how the 1977 murder of Emanuel Jaques led, eventually, to the transformation of Yonge Street.
- John Michael McGrath argues at TVO that leaving Toronto for Ontario cities with cheaper housing misses the issue of jobs. For starters.
- Michelle McQuigge looks at how the CNIB is helping make Yonge and St. Clair accessible to the blind.
- In The Globe and Mail, Erik Heinrich looks at how a mid-rise office tower at 1133 Yonge Street is being transformed into condos.
- The Toronto Star reports that the condo/hotel tower at 325 Bay Street no longer bears the name of Trump. Toronto is free!
- The end of the Palace Arms rooming house at King and Strachan, Christian Controneo notes at Torontoist, must be seen as terrible for the people who live there.
- blogTO notes that E. Coli levels on mainland Toronto beaches make them unsafe for swimmers. No lake water this year!
- blogTO notes that Montréal architect Claude Cormier, designer of HTO and Berczy, will next do a cat-themed park.
- Global News reports on Jackson's Burger, driven from Yonge Street by high rent.
- blogTO shares this man's collection of TTC vehicles done in Lego. It is truly impressive.
- Steve Munro reports on the cost of renovating the Bloor-Danforth subway.
- The Toronto Star reports on the private nudist swimming resorts in the GTA. There are no legal public nude beaches without Hanlan's.
- The Globe and Mail's Dave Leblanc <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/toronto/neglected-islands-along-torontos-university-avenue-deserveattention/article35663168/?cmpid=rss1'><U>reports</u></a> on the embattled traffic islands of University Avenue.</li> </ul>
Torontoist's Stephanie DePetrillo describes a recent meeting about making Yonge Street more pedestrian-friendly.
It’s finally time for a “big, bold, and beautiful” plan for Yonge Street that would allocate large parts strictly for pedestrians.
At the Yonge Love meet-up Wednesday night, some big ideas were presented to a packed atrium at the Ryerson City Building Institute. The goal is to attract people back to the area with space for foot traffic, street-level shops, and a focus on making side streets and laneways more vibrant.
“Evolving cities need to go through this kind of a process,” said Jennifer Keesmaat, the chief planner for the City of Toronto. “Yonge Street is going to function in a very different way in the future than how it has functioned in the past and, as a result, the alignment of the street needs to shift and change.”
During the discussion, panellists weighed in on some tricky issues like safety and transportation, a potential pilot project along King Street, and failed attempts in the past to make Yonge Street pedestrian friendly. Even autonomous vehicles were brought up by a member of the crowd to add to the list of things to consider for a project this bold.
“It really feels like déjà vu all over again,” said urban designer Ken Greenberg, referring to the previous Yonge Street project that was kiboshed by City Council.
blogTO's Derek Flack notes that 205 Yonge Street has been put up on the market for the initial asking price of $C 1.
One of Toronto's most beautiful buildings has hit the market for the grand sum of $1. Just don't expect the former Bank of Toronto at 205 Yonge St., to sell for anywhere near that price.
Designed by landmark Toronto architect E.J. Lennox in 1905, the bank was built in the neo-classical style with a remarkable domed roof, terrazzo floors, marble walls, and striking Corinthian columns that face Yonge Street.
It's one of two glorious old bank buildings that'll be injected with new life as the Massey Tower rises above them. Nearby 197 Yonge St. is also one of Toronto's iconic historical structures.
As for the listing price, it's basically an auction. Real estate agent Shawn Abramovitz argues that this pricing strategy also hints at the difficulty of putting a value on such a unique property.
Urban Toronto's Stefan Novakovic describes plans to build a tower 98 storeys tall (!) on the southeast corner of Yonge and Gerrard.
The architect's renderings are amazing.
Rising to an incredible 98 storeys, Toronto's—and Canada's—tallest building could be coming to the southeast corner of Yonge and Gerrard. Designed by New York's Kohn Pedersen Fox for Cresford Developments, the super-tall tower would feature a mix of retail, office uses, and residential space. The height? 343.9 metres.
With the developers now putting forward a submission to the City of Toronto, further details of the project are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks. Cresford announced a year ago now that a new building—YSL Residences—would be a new landmark development in Downtown Toronto. Now released, renderings depict a sleek, faintly sculptural form with a smooth, glassy exterior, free of balconies. Fronting the corner, the existing three-storey heritage building at Yonge and Gerrard would be maintained, with a small, angular podium volume rising above.
[. . .]
Located kitty-corner from the 78-storey Aura at College Park, which—for now—remains the country's tallest residential building, the development would add a declarative height peak to what could become one of Toronto's tallest communities. Immediately across Yonge Street, the Delta Hotel site is currently subject to another massive redevelopment plan, with Great Eagle Holdings' 'Chelsea Green' proposal calling for three architectsAlliance-designed high-rises, including two 88-storey towers, and a 49-storey building.
The architect's renderings are amazing.
Rosie DiManno's long-form article "’I’m getting burned!’ Slaying the beast that was the Badminton and Racquet Club fire" examines just what happened at the recent devastating fire at Yonge and St. Clair, in detail.
Fire and water: The crisis and the cure.
But it took 20 hours of steadfastly blasting the latter to extinguish the roiling conflagration of the former last week at the Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto.
Bringing the blaze to heel — preventing it from leaping to condos and businesses on the four corners of St. Clair Ave. and Yonge St. — required a collective yeoman effort over three days: 520 firefighters, 167 fire engines, pumpers and three tower trucks with articulating booms, hazardous materials unit, dozens of hoses pumping simultaneously, an excavator and countless air cylinders consumed.
And still, days later, small spot fires continued sparking back to life.
A tall chore, killing a fire; throttling it.
David Rider in the Toronto Star describes how budget shenanigans may hurt a plan to make a large part of Yonge Street in North York, far north of the downtown, more usable for non-vehicular traffic.
City council’s sometimes chaotic 15-hour budget meeting included dozens of choices that won’t generate headlines but can shape Toronto neighbourhoods for years to come.
A 24-20 vote in favour of a Councillor David Shiner motion has thrown a wrench in a long-fostered community plan to remake a stretch of Yonge St. in North York, from Sheppard to Finch Aves., including the addition of bike lanes.
Councillor John Filion, whose Ward 23 encompasses almost all the proposed “Re-imagining Yonge Street” project, says it “might be dead.” He pins much of the blame on Mayor John Tory, whose note to council allies — recommending how they vote on various 20 7 budget items — backed Shiner’s motion.
“This project has been in the works for at least two years, enthusiastically supported by the community and city staff, including the chief planner, to change the bleakness of that strip of Yonge St. — to widen sidewalks, put in bike lanes and other features to try to turn a sea of high rises and storefronts into a real community,” Filion said in an interview Thursday.
“My extreme disappointment is in the mayor — (the Shiner motion) only passed because he was actively supporting it. The mayor’s office was pulling votes away from me.”
In another article, the Toronto Star's Laura Beeston suggests that a Toronto museum of local neon signs is a viable idea. My attention is piqued, at least.
Mark Garner has a neon dream.
The executive director of the Downtown/Yonge BIA believes the time is now for Toronto to immortalize iconic businesses of days gone by. So he’s collecting, restoring and replicating signs from classic city storefronts for a potential open-air museum.
But he needs help to turn the dream into a reality.
“Where are all the signs?” Garner asks aloud. “Why isn’t the cultural contribution that this signage made on anybody’s radar?”
He has spent the last five years tracking them down and slowly generating interest in his project. Yonge St., Garner explains, was once “a rite of passage” and hot spot for neon lights.
Today, he thinks there’s a return of interest with the forthcoming Sam The Record Man reinstall at Ryerson University and the Honest Ed’s marquee finding a new home on Victoria St.
“Signage is en vogue right now.”
The Toronto Star reports on one strongly negative element from the fire two days ago at Yonge and St. Clair of the Badminton & Racquet Club: It deprived many stores in the area of much-needed business on Valentine's Day.
It was a rotten Valentine’s Day for many businesses near a blaze that devoured a building in midtown Toronto.
Especially hard hit were the flower and card shops that rely on sales from the holiday.
“Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and I’m a greeting card store, so you can only imagine that it definitely hit us hard,” said The Papery owner Marla Freedland, whose business sells cards and stationery.
The six-alarm blaze, which ignited Tuesday morning, tore through the historic Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto until firefighters contained it in the evening. They stayed on-scene all night, and the fire was under control as of 5:45 a.m., said Chief Matthew Pegg of Toronto Fire Services.
“The two days of Valentine’s Day take care of the month of February. It’s not quite like Christmas, but for two days it’s like that,” she said of February 13 and 14.
Her business, at St. Clair and Yonge St. was closed at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, and didn’t reopen until 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
CBC News' Alexandra Sienkiewicz looks at the long history of the Badminton and Racquet Club destroyed by fire, noting--among other things--a conservatism that once extended down to barring non-white males from membership.
When a devastating fire swept through the 90-year-old Badminton and Racquet Club near Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue Tuesday afternoon, the organization added yet another chapter to its storied history.
The club opened in 1924 when the old TTC streetcar barns on St. Clair Avenue were converted into seven badminton courts. The B & R, as it's affectionately known among those who use it, started with only a few members from Toronto's elite — but has since grown to include more than 2,750 members. To this day, it remains a private facility and access can be gained by membership only.
The club has also been known for its history of segregation of the sexes. It wasn't until 1980 that women were allowed to sit in on board meetings — but without voting rights. "Women are to be seen and not heard," says the club's website in describing that period of its history.
"The idea of women on the board had been rejected annually as many of the men on the board felt that the "right kind of man" would not serve if there were women at the table," it adds.
It was only in 1997 when men and women could sit together when a co-ed dining room was introduced — nearly 75 years after the club's opening.
The Globe and Mail's Dakshana Bascaramurty reports about a devastating fire at the Badminton and Racquet Club here in Toronto, just west of Yonge and St. Clair. The pillars of smoke are rising, and transit links at St. Clair station have been cut off.
A massive six-alarm fire has caused serious damage to a 93-year-old members-only racquet club in midtown Toronto and has now spread to an adjacent building to the north.
Toronto Fire says The Badminton and Racquet Club at 25 St. Clair Ave. West and neighbouring buildings have been evacuated and there are no reported injuries. Of the approximately 160 firefighters on the scene, one captain was separated from his team and injured on site but has since been rescued and was treated by paramedics, said Capt. David Eckerman.
Capt. Eckerman says they received a call for a fire from occupants fleeing the club around 9:20 a.m.
By the time firefighters arrived, fire had ripped through the roof, the south part of which has since collapsed. The intersection of Yonge and St. Clair has been closed. The St. Clair subway station has been evacuated and subway trains, streetcars and buses that pass through the intersection have been diverted, according to the TTC.
Capt. Eckerman said the south and east walls have partly caved in and could collapse. The north wall is also “spongey,” he said.
CBC News' Mary Wiens reports on how the old Bank of Toronto building at 205 Yonge Street, south of Dundas, may yet be made into a boutique hotel combined with a museum. See also Peter Edwards' recent article for the Toronto Star.
The sign on the door of the grand old bank at 205 Yonge St. reads, "Don't sleep on the steps."
That kind of notice would not have done at all in 1905 when this building was erected as the Bank of Toronto on the city's most important avenue, a neo-classical temple serving both the city's growing wealth and traditional ideals of beauty.
The front doors have been locked for 15 years and the stunning white marble interior, with its black and gold detailing barred from public view.
But CBC Toronto has learned of negotiations underway this week that could see the building reopen as a combined museum and boutique hotel. The building's current owner, Irish businessman Thomas Farrell, has confirmed he is in the middle of negotiations with a prospective client to open and operate the building.
The building is designated as a heritage site with both the exterior and interior protected, which means finding the right tenant isn't easy.