News & Opinion

Archive for October, 2013|Monthly archive page

In which we learn the Honest Ed’s sign is younger than Michael Jackson’s Thriller, bike lanes on Bloor ain’t dead yet, spooky stuff for Halloween and more this week in the neighbourhood | October 25, 2013

In Coming events, This week in the neighbourhood on October 25, 2013 at 12:05 AM
The Honest Ed's sign has had its day and has to go according to Ed' GM Russell Lazar

The Honest Ed’s sign has had its day and has to go according to Ed’s GM Russell Lazar

By West Annex News | Another week of happenings in and around the neighbourhood.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The archivists have already spent six months in Ed Mirvish's office | Image: Sun Media screen grab

The archivists have already spent six months in Ed Mirvish’s office | Image: Sun Media screen grab

Before you crazy heritage preservationists get any big ideas, Honest Ed’s always loyal general manager Russell Lazar claims that the famous 23,000 bulb, wrap-around sign at Bathurst and Bloor is younger than Michael Jackon’s Thriller, is brittle, has had its day, and has to go. [thestar.com]

In anticipation of the swing of the wrecking ball, a team of archivist have already spent six months combing through more than 55,000 artifacts left by Ed Mirvish in his old office in the depths of Honest Ed’s. Lazar calls them “relics of a remarkable rags-to-riches life.” [The Sun]

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Separated_bike_lanes_Montreal_October_2013

The prospect of bike lanes on Bloor has made a remarkable comeback in the past week. On October 21, 2013, the city Public Works Committee voted 5-1 in favour of reinstating an environmental study of the impact of bike lanes on Bloor. The study was scrapped in 2011 when Mayor Ford ripped out the Jarvis Street bike lanes. The Annex Residents’ Association and the Bloor-Annex BIA both supported the reopening of the study. ARA director Albert Koehl told the committee that studies show ninety percent of people arriving on Bloor-Annex strip come on foot, by bike, or on transit, and that bike lanes on Bloor have strong public support. Ford ally Denzil Minnan-Wong was the only committee member to oppose the re-opening of the study. Councillor Adam Vaughan said “The world has changed, it is time for Councillor Minnan-Wong to wake up and smell the coffee.” [thestar.com, InsideToronto.com, & @reporterdonpeat/Don Peat on Twitter].

Speaking of Councillor Vaughan, his fall update is now out and includes a letter from Adam about the need to abolish Ontario Municipal Board.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

1000-1002 Bathurst Street, formerly Spector's Hardware and Plumbing Supply

1000-1002 Bathurst Street, formerly Spector’s Hardware and Plumbing Supply

The Seaton Village Residents’ Association website has more information about the fire at 1000-1002 Bathurst Street, including a link to a 2004 Globe and Mail article about Spector’s Hardware and Plumbing Supply, already dusty and falling down nine years ago.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

What’s up this coming week:

Image credit | Yvonne Eijkenduijn

Image credit Yvonne Eijkenduijn

October 25 to 31, 2013: Halloweek at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Along with the traditional showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Bloor will be screening a number of scary movies from October 25, 2013 to October 31, 2013. The screening schedule can be found here.

Saturday October 26, 5PM to 7PM:  Halloween skating party at Bill Bolton Arena, 40 Rossmore Road in Vermont Square park. Admission is free and prizes will be given away. See Ring Around the City for other Halloween activities at the St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club, including a October 25 showing of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie.   

Saturday, October 26, 10AM to 5PM: Jane’s Walk is partnering with Riverside BIA to present nine new and free walks in the Riverside neighbourhood lead by local personalities. Walks include a fitness/dog walk, a culinary walk, and a medicinal plant and herb walk. Heard of Riverdale but not Riverside? It’s the Queen Street neighbourhood east from the Don Valley Parkway to Degrassi Street, right between Corktown and Leslieville.

October 25 and 26: You should have stayed at home, a G20 drama finishes its run at the Aki Theatre, 585 Dundas Street East on October 26, 2013. While trying to return home from his first-ever protest as a law-abiding citizen at the “free speech” zone at Queen’s Park, Tommy Taylor was swept up in a mass arrest. This much-lauded drama tells his story of his arbitrary arrest, mistreatment by the police, and ultimate release without charges.

October 24 to November 3: The International Festival of Authors at the Harbourfront Centre. The tribute to Alice Munro is on Sunday, November 2nd at 8PM. A day-by-day guide to the festival can be found here. [Torontoist].

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Related:

Last week in the neighbourhood: Report from Fordlandia, and other news

Honest Ed’s: Come in and get lost

Yvonne Eijkenduijn’s photostream on flickr

A new map of Toronto, how Adam Vaughan almost snuck on Mayor Ford’s executive committee, Crazy Town: Robyn Doolittle’s upcoming book on Ford, Bathurst built form report, Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Bloor, and more this week in the neighbourhood | October 18, 2013

In Coming events, The West Annex, This week in the neighbourhood, Toronto politics on October 18, 2013 at 12:05 AM


Map of Toronto by stereotype

By West Annex News | Another jam-packed week with lots of things happening in and around the West Annex.

BlogTO wrote this week about URBANE, a US hipster-map manufacturer’s new map of Toronto neighbourhoods by stereotype. Burn: nothing north of Bloor was included on the map, so Harbord Village–“Professors in bay and gable housing”–has to stand in for the Annex.

____________________________________________________

Adam Vaughan almost joined Rob Ford's executive committee when Council's left wing called a snap vote after five Ford allies had left for the weekend.

Adam Vaughan almost joined Rob Ford’s executive committee when Council’s left wing called a snap vote after five Ford allies had left for the Thanksgiving weekend.

This week in Fordlandia

#TOpoli aficionados are salivating at the news broken by Marc Weisblott at Canada.com that The Star’s Robyn Doolittle will publish a book about Rob Ford and family called Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story. Quill & Quire reports that Doolittle’s publisher promises the book will contain “shocking new revelations” about Ford. The book will be released March 2014, in the midst of the nomination period for the 2014 Toronto municipal election. Amazon.ca is taking advance orders for Doolittle’s book.

Complaints to the Ontario Press Council about The Star’s series of articles about the Rob Ford crack video scandal and the Globe and Mail’s revelations about Doug Ford’s drug dealing past were both dismissed this week. [cbc.ca]

Let sleeping Ford's lie.

Let sleeping Fords lie.

Not long after he called for the firing of an apparently napping city employee, a photograph of a sleeping Mayor Ford began circulating on the Internet.

Council’s left wing almost snuck Councillor Adam Vaughan on Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee Friday evening, October 11 when five of Ford’s allies left Council’s October meeting early for the long Thanksgiving weekend.  Vaughan allies moved a snap vote to break the shut out of the old City of Toronto from the powerful executive committee. Although the motion failed on a 16-16 tie, Vaughan told The Star’s Daniel Dale “I certainly saw the panic in Ford’s face, and every time I see that, I love it.”

_____________________________________________________

Condominium towers at Dupont and Shaw

Two eleven-storey residential condo towers are proposed for the Sobey's site at Dupont and Shaw

Two eleven-storey residential condo towers are proposed for the Sobey’s site at Dupont and Shaw

The Grid reports this week on the battle to build two 11-storey condominium towers at Dupont and Shaw where Sobey’s grocery store now stands. The lands are zoned for employment and if the developer wins an exception from the city or the OMB, all of the employment lands on the north side of Dupont Street will be up for grabs for residential development.

____________________________________________________________

Brooklyn graffiti artists subcontract mural job on Bathurst Street

Brooklyn street artists subcontracted this mural on Bathurst north of Davenport

Brooklyn street artists subcontracted this mural on Bathurst north of Davenport

The National Post revealed that Brooklyn, NY graffiti artist collective Faile, paid $23,000 for a mural commission on Bathurst Street just north of Davenport Road, did not show up to paint the mural themselves but subcontracted the work to others.

If you support bikes lanes on Bloor-Danforth, Cycle Toronto is asking you to write to members of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee by 4:30PM today, October 18, to support the Bloor-Dupont environmental assessment, and to ask the committee to expand the assessment to include Danforth. Email addresses for the members of the committee are on the Cycle Toronto website.

A $1.3 million semi at 314 Robert Street just south of Bloor is Toronto Life‘s House of the week. With a skylit kitchen, massive living room fireplace, coffered ceilings and wainscoting throughout, the before and after transformation of this recent reno is truly stunning.

__________________________________________________________

Bicycle Fall Blowout sale logoComing events:

Bicycle Fall Blowout Sale, Saturday, October 19, 10AM to 5PM: The 14th annual Bicycle Fall Blowout Sale is this Saturday, 10AM to 5PM at the Direct Energy Centre, East Annex, Hall F in Exhibition Place. This annual seven-hour sales blitz is well worth your time if you’re looking to buy a new bike, bike accessories, clothing or footwear, as manufacturers and local retailers clear out 2013 stock at deeply discounted prices. It pays to be well-prepared for the sale. Stock moves incredibly fast. Do your research, study the floor plan and be ready to pounce when you see a deal you want.

_________________________________________________________

Toronto Waterfront Marathon Sunday, October 20th

Bathurst and Bloor will be closed Sunday, October 20, 2013 for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | Image credit Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Bathurst and Bloor will be closed Sunday, October 20, 2013 for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | Image credit Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | click to enlarge

Get your cowbells ready, the 25,000 runners of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will be passing through the neighbourhood the morning of Sunday, October 20, 2013. This is a chance to see world-class marathoners up close, as last year’s winners Sahle Warga Betona and Mary Davis try to repeat their wins and break the course record of  2:07:58.

The race starts at 8AM at University and Queen Street. Runners head up University, then along Bloor and down Bathurst. Running at just over 3 minutes per kilometer, the leaders should be on Bloor between Spadina and Bathurt by about 8:08AM. The Bloor Annex BIA is sponsoring a window decoration contest, asking Bloor Street businesses to decorate their windows with banners and signs to cheer on the runners.

Road closures for the event: Bloor will be closed between Bay and Bathurst from 8AM to 10:15AM. Bathurst will be closed from Bloor to Lakeshore from 8AM to 10:45AM. Details of all street closures in Toronto are here.

_________________________________________________________________

Bathurst Street Built Form study Tuesday, October 22, 6:00 to 9:30PM

Bathurst_Street_built_form_composite

Councillors Mike Layton and Adam Vaughan are once again hosting a community meeting at Central Technical School, this time to discuss the draft proposed recommendations of the Bathurst Street built form and land use study team. More details at Ring Around the City.

___________________________________________________________________

Related posts:

Last week in the neighbourhood: Report from the Four Corners of Bathurst and Bloor community charette

Report from the Bathurst and Bloor charette, Tedx Toronto video, Bathurst Street fire, destroying the OMB and more this week in the neighbourhood | October 11, 2013

In Coming events, The West Annex, This week in the neighbourhood on October 11, 2013 at 12:05 AM

By West Annex News | Here’s what’s been happening this week in and around the neighbourhood.

Have you seen the terrific Tedx Toronto 2013 conference opening video? A great history of Toronto from age 0 to 220 — in just 2 minutes and 32 seconds. Honest Ed’s and Lee’s Palace both make brief appearances.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Report from the Four Corner of Bathurst and Bloor community charette

Sketching out dreams for the Bathurst and Bloor intersection in the Four Corners community charette October 5, 2013

Ken Greenberg and friends sketching out dreams for the Bathurst and Bloor intersection in the Four Corners community charette October 5, 2013

Councilors Mike Layton and Adam Vaughan hosted a large gathering of community members from the Annex, Harbord Village, Seaton Village and Mirvish Village on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at Central Technical School to dream about the future of the four corners of Bathurst and Bloor.  With the demolition of Honest Ed’s sadly a foregone conclusion, lots of exciting ideas emerged from the exercise: a piazza at the south-west corner of Bathurst and Bloor for cultural events like the Fringe and farmer’s market, a pedestrianized Markham Street Heritage Conservation District,  and greened laneways to become the new transportation corridors for pedestrians and cyclists.

The buoyant mood of the meeting ended when Councillor Vaughan reminded the crowd that their dreams could come to naught, courtesy of the Ontario Municipal Board. “Their decisions are already destroying parts of the city and it’s wrong” said Vaughan. He urged the crowd to question any candidate in the next provincial election who knocks on their door. “If they don’t agree to destroy the OMB, I want you to chase them off your porch, down the street, and out of your neighbourhood.”

 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Heritage signs

With the demolition of Honest Ed's inevitable, the fate of the famous sign is unknown

With the demolition of Honest Ed’s now seen as inevitable, the fate of the famous sign is unknown

While the fate of Honest Ed’s sign is up in the air, another heritage sign may live to blink again. BlogTO reports that Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy says the Sam the Record Man’s sign could still return to Yonge and Gould. City Council rejected staff’s recommendation that Ryerson University be granted its request to be released from its agreement to preserve and re-hang the sign. Council referred the matter back to city staff for reconsideration.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Fire at 1002 Bathurst Street

An early morning fire at 1002 Bathurst October 7, 2013

An early morning fire at 1002 Bathurst October 7, 2013 I Image: CTV News screen grab

A two-alarm blaze tore through a derelict building at 1002 Bathurst Street just north of Olive on Monday, October 7, 2013, temporarily shutting down the Bathurst and St. Clair streetcars and other vehicular traffic. After dozens of firefighters responded and put the blaze out, a body was found on the second floor.

The identity of the deceased, the cause of death and cause of the blaze have not yet been determined. The CBC reports that police are treating the fire as a suspicious event.

1002 Bathurst Street before and after October 7, 2013 fire

1002 Bathurst Street before and after the October 7, 2013 fire

CTV has video of the fire here.

The buildings at 1000 and 1002 Bathurst Street had been the subject of a legal battle between a developer and the city.

After their plan to develop a five-story apartment building on the site was rejected by the city, developer 2031430 Ontario Ltd. appealed to the OMB and in August of 2013 won a settlement with the city to build four meters taller than local zoning allowed, with exceptions also granted in setback, gross floor area coverage, and window set-backs.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

David Mirvish is heading to the OMB in January 2014 to overturn the City’s rejection of his Gehry-designed megaproject for King Street West. Mirvish’s proposal would see the Princess of Wales Theatre and  four designated heritage warehouse buildings demolished in favour of three 80-storey plus highrise towers built on a six storey podium. Planning staff says the King West area cannot sustain the project’s 2,700 plus new condominium units. [thestar.com]

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

While average retail rents on Bloor Street hit a new high of $309US per square foot according to Colliers International’s 2013 retail report, this was only a 1.9% increase over 2012. Vancouver’s Robson Street saw a 33% increase to $200US per square foot. The Vancouver Sun reports that the influx of U.S. chains and luxury brands contributed to the dramatic lease rate increases across Western Canada.

Bloor Street still leads Canada in retail rents, but does not make the world’s top ten. New York’s Fifth Avenue leads the world at $3,052 US per square foot.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Condo financing crunch hits cooling Toronto market. The Star reports that condo buyer are scrambling to get financing to close the record number of condo units coming online. Many bought before financing rules were tightened up by Finance Minister Flaherty and now find at closing they no longer qualify. With some buyers forced to walk away from their deposits, a rapid cooling of the entire market is possible when a record 20,000 to 40,000 units are ready to close next year.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

What’s coming up:

The International Festival of Authors had already scheduled a tribute to Alice Munro on November 2nd when news broke yesterday that she was this year’s Nobel prize winner in literature. If you haven’t bought tickets yet, there still may be some available here.

Après Nuit To October 14, 2013: If you missed Nuit Blanche last weekend or just want to have an encore visit, six Nuit Blanche projects are  extending their run to October 14th including Ai Wei Wei’s Forever Bicycles at Nathan Phillips Square, and Tadashi Kawamata’s Garden Tower at Metropolitan United Church,  two of only a few genuine hits from this year’s annual festival of visual art.

The Toronto 2013 Chocolate Festival starts October 12 and runs to November 3 in venues all around the city. Visit the website for coupons redeemable during the festival at participating chocolatiers, pastry shops and restaurants, and for tickets to the Chocolate Ball, Chocolate Dinner, and Chocolate High Tea and the King Edward Hotel.

Heritage Toronto Awards Tuesday October 15, 2013 at Koerner Hall, Royal Conservatory of Music. The awards recognize individuals, community organizations, industry professionals and associations for exceptional contributions in heritage conservation.

Tadashi Kawamata's Garden Tower in Toronto, 2013, at Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen Street East to October 14, 2013

Tadashi Kawamata’s Garden Tower in Toronto, 2013, at Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen Street East to October 14, 2013

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Related posts:

Last week in the neighbourhood

Honest Ed’s: Come in and get lost

Jane Jacobs and the hazards of popularity on commercial streets

Nuit Blanche 2013, Bathurst and Bloor charette, Eden Smith’s own house, the Bathurst bendy bus, and more this week in the neighbourhood | October 4, 2013

In Arrivals & Departures, Coming events, Eating & Drinking, Heritage & History, The West Annex, This week in the neighbourhood on October 4, 2013 at 12:05 AM
The Four Corners of Bathurst and Bloor charette will be hosted by Councillors Layton and Vaughan on October 5th

The Four Corners of Bathurst and Bloor community charette, hosted by Councillors Layton and Vaughan, October 5, 2013, 1 to 4PM at Central Technical School. | Image credit bottom left photo: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, item 1043, April 3, 1911; all others West Annex News.

By West Annex News | Here’s what’s happening this week in and around the neighbourhood.

The Four Corner of Bathurst and Bloor Community Charette, Saturday, October 5, 2013, 1PM, Central Technical School, 725 Bathurst Street. From the public notice:Now that the future of Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village are up for debate, it is even more important to set out a vision for the four corners of Bathurst and Bloor. There are many sites at this corner that may become development sites in the next decade and we need to be prepared as a community to define how we want our neighbourhoods to grow.”

Prepare for the charette by reading Putting the CON in Consultation“. This indispensable guide tells you the tricks and techniques developers and city planners use when they want to mute your voice in working groups, visioning studies and other so-called community consultations. [Dooney’s Cafe]

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2011

Nuit Blanche Toronto starts Saturday, October 5 at 6:51PM

Nuit Blanche 2013, from sunset (6:51PM) Saturday, October 5 to sunrise the next morning. It’s the big one: Nuit Blanche 2013, Toronto’s annual free, city-wide sunset-to-sunrise celebration of contemporary art. All the major city blogs–[blogTO] [Now] [The Grid] [Torontoist]–have good guides to the most highly touted events. But here are some local events that deserve some love:

  • Convergence North at Spadina House, 285 Spadina Road. An array of interactive light sculpture installations along a path created through the five-acre grounds of the Spadina Museum.
  • Nothing is Better at the Church of the Redeemer, 162 Bloor Street West. Synchronized multi-screen video, music, sound, live performance. A thought-provoking and amusing science musical documentary and allegorical journey from the city’s outskirts to its heart of darkness.
  • Art meets Chess at Wychwood Barns, Chess pieces created by artist Blandford Gates out of recycled metal will be re used to recreate the Game of the Century, game 5 in the match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1972.  See video below to learn more.

The Pottery and Glass Show at Artscape Wychwood BarnsSaturday and Sunday, October 5 & 6, 2013, 8AM to 5PM: This juried show and sale showcases the best of Ontario’s glass and clay artists. Admission is free.

Eden Smith's home at 267 Indian Road | Image credit Google Street View

Eden Smith’s home at 267 Indian Road | Image credit Google Street View

For the architourist, Eden Smith’s own house is for sale for $1,169,000. The Century 21 listing says the c. 1896 home at 267 Indian Road home was the prototype for Smith’s Art & Crafts/English Cottage style. [Built Heritage News].

Harbord Village is being lauded for its laneway-naming project which has reminded the community of its history. [YongeStreet]

The TTC’s new Bombardier bendy bus was in Bathurst station today for a test run from the TTC’s Hillcrest complex. While the buses are generally receiving favourable reviews, the routes they serve will see a cut in the frequency of bus service to offset the new bus’ increased rider capacity. [Torontoist]

Kops Records’ Annex location opened last weekend at 592 Bloor West  (formerly Markus Fashion). This continues a trend: interesting new shops are bypassing the West Annex stretch of Bloor east of Bathurst in favour of Koreatown. [BlogTO]

"Before the last supper . . . they at brunch" says Big Crow's Anthony Rose | Image credit Rose and Sons Big Crow

“Before the last supper . . . they ate brunch” says Big Crow’s Anthony Rose | Image credit Rose and Sons Big Crow

Anthony Rose’s Big Crow (in the back of 176 Dupont Street, the former People’s Foods) is opening for brunch on weekends starting October 5th. Brunch hours are 11AM to 3PM, Saturday and Sunday. The brunch menu is here.

Theh west field of Sibelius Square is closed yet again for soil decompacting and re-sodding.

The west field of Sibelius Square is closed yet again for soil de-compacting and re-sodding.

The playing field at Sibelius Square is out of commission. Again. The $1 million plus park renovation in 2012 made the field’s drainage problem worse, not better. Councillor Vaughan’s constituency assistant Areej Hasso reports that city staff is blaming soil compaction, not a design flaw. Staff says they de-compacted the soil before laying new sod on October 3rd. No word on when play can resume on the field.

And oh yeah, there was that rat article. They’re on the rise in the Annex. Your green lifestyle may be partly to blame. [thestar.com]

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Related posts:

Last week in the neighbourhood

Nuit Blanche 2012: West Annex News presents Fortifications for Small Worlds

Jean Sibelius Square Park official re-opening