News & Opinion

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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]

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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