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Archive for the ‘The West Annex’ Category

Howard Pressburger of Wiener’s Home Hardware is the creative mind behind CBC ComedyCoup’s Nuts and Bolts

In Reviews, The West Annex on November 9, 2014 at 12:45 PM
Howard Pressburger, the creative mind behind CBC Comedy Coup's Nuts & Bolts

Howard Pressburger, the creative mind behind CBC Comedycoup’s Nuts and Bolts

By Louise Morin | Have you signed the petition yet to launch Howard Pressburger’s Nuts and Bolts into the round of 15 on CBC’s ComedyCoup? The deadline is tonight to sign.

ComedyCoup is a  fan-driven comedy incubator and competition.For the past month, comedy creators from across Canada have posted thousands of videos, images and artwork on the ComedyCoup website, and asked fans to vote. The winner receives $500,000 in production financing to create a half-hour prime time special.

Pressburger is the star and creative director of Nuts and Bolts, which he wrote with partner Shana Sandler and producer Josh Tizel. The comedy is shot entirely in Wiener’s Home Hardware at 423 Bloor Street West in the West Annex, where Pressbuger has worked for over a decade. The synopsis:Nuts and Bolts logo

“Hotshot advertising executive Howard just wanted what everyone else did: fame, wealth, and power. But when he loses his job, his wife, his money and his house, he ends up back in his hometown. Determined to put the nuts and bolts of his life back together, Howard takes a job at the local mom and pop hardware store, where he discovers that the true essence of humanity just might be found near the toilet plungers. Based on true stories and anecdotes culled from Howard’s (yes, he’s a real guy!) years of working at a real life hardware store, Nuts and Bolts proves that mundane things are more important than you ever imagined and purpose can sometimes be found in little paper bags.”

You know Howard Pressburger. He’s the warm, very funny, very knowledgeable guy at Wieners Hardware who knows the store backwards and inside out. Some may not know that Pressburger is also an actor with a number of professional credits to his name including a role in Ken Finkelman’s locally shot Good Dog. If you’re like me and have been a fan of Pressberger’s blog omfghardware, you’ll love the sensibility of Nuts and Bolts: warm and wry meditations on human nature as seen through the lens of a hardware store.

After you’ve signed the petition, check out the Nuts and Bolts ComedyCoup homepagefacebook page, and twitter feed to see video, episodes and some great old photos of the hardware store.


What’s the best store in the West Annex


Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina 2014 Toronto municipal election results: Joe Cressy wins

In The West Annex, Toronto politics on October 27, 2014 at 11:07 PM
Joe Cressy romped to victory on October 27, 2014 in the Ward 20 race for councillor with   % of the vote.

Joe Cressy wins the Ward 20 race for councillor with 42% of the vote | Photo credit Mark Blevis on flickr.

By West Annex News | From the City of Toronto Elections site.


70 of 70 polls reporting

Joe Cressy: 12,466  41.7%

Terri Chu: 3,693  12.4%

Sarah Thomson: 2,808  9.5%;

Mike Yen: 1,431  4.8%

Phillip Morrison: 1,407  4.7%

Anshul Kapoor:  1,063  3.6%

Charles MacDonald: 972  3.3%

Albert Koehl: 853  2.9%

Others: – Ward 20

Total number of votes cast: 29,709, 57% of eligible voters.

TDSB School Trustee

114 of 114 polls reporting

Ausma Malik: 16,244  42.0%

Colleen Kennedy: 7,511 18.5%

Kenneth Chan: 4,436 10.9%

Michael Sims: 3,849 9.5%

Sabrina Zuniga:  3,506  8.6%

Others: – Ward 20

Total number of votes cast: 40,691.

Image of Joe Cressy by Mark Blevis. Visit his photostream on flickr.


Trinity-Spadina 2014 Ontario provincial election results: Liberal Han Dong unseats NDP Marchese

In Ontario politics, The West Annex on June 13, 2014 at 12:32 AM
Liberal Han Dong unseats long-time NDP incumbent Rosario Marchese.

He lead from the bell: Liberal Han Dong easily unseated long-time NDP incumbent Rosario Marchese in last night’s provincial election | Image credit:

By West Annex News | From Elections Ontario, with 297 of 297 polls reporting:

Liberal–Han Dong: 26,934  46.3%

NDP–Rosario Marchese*: 17,759  30.5%;

Progressive Conservative–Roberta Scott: 8,094  13.9%

Green–Tim Grant:  4,111  7.1%

Libertarian–Andrew Echevarria: 729  1.3%

Vegan Environmental–Paul Figeuiras: 308  .5%

Party for People with Special Needs–Dan King:  265  .5%


Total number of votes cast: 58,200. Trinity-Spadina population (2011): 144,733; eligible electors: 96,793. Unofficial voter turnout 60.1%.

This article was updated with final voting data on June 13, 2014 at 12:28PM.

Related: Trinity-Spadina 2011 Provincial Election Results


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 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. 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. []

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


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. []


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. []


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

The wrap for June 9, 2012 | Goodbye People’s Foods, hello Famoso Pizzeria and Barton Snacks . . .

In Arrivals & Departures, Coming events, Eating & Drinking, The West Annex, This week in the neighbourhood on June 9, 2012 at 9:05 AM

The charming Barton Snacks at the south east corner of Bathurst and Barton, one block north of Bloor. Finally, somewhere to get indie coffee after 6PM in the Annex.

By West Annex News | Here’s what’s  been happening lately in and around the neighbourhood and on the Web:

New additions to the deadpool: After 50 years, Annex diner People’s Food is folding due to a rent increase [blogTO], while Kromer Radio is closing after 55 years in business. While Kromer told The Grid they’re closing just because they’re tired, an application for a height and usage variance by the new land-owners RioCan suggests that development pressures were the real culprit. Openfile reports that RioCan’s application was turned down by the Committee of Adjustments, but the developer is expected to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Green sprouts: The tiny but charming Barton Snacks  is cheering up the south-east corner of Bathurst and Barton with espresso-based coffee drinks and premium products like ice cream from Maypole Dairy and healthy(-ish) potato chips prepared with avocado oil and reduced sodium. Manager Chris Sherwood tells us that he’ll also be serving hotdogs. The Snack is open 8AM to 10PM Monday to Friday, and 11AM to 10PM Saturday and Sunday. Finally, a place to get indie coffee after 6PM in the Annex.

And genuine Neapolitan pizza is coming to the Bloor-West Annex strip, albeit in the form of an Edmonton-based chain Famoso Pizzeria. The owners expect to have the 386 Bloor Street location open by June 21, 2012. The previous tenant was the James Joyce Irish Pub.

Busy weekend: We hope the rain holds off for the Portugal Day Parade and Picnic today. The parade starts at 11AM on Landsdowne at Bloor and then heads down to Dundas Street West for the live music and picnic in Trinity-Bellwoods Park.

If it rains, the wonderful Ring Around the City reminds us that the Raw/Vegan Festival is going on all weekend indoors at 918 Bathurst Street, just north of Barton.

918 Bathurst Street, where the Raw/Vegan Food Festival is being held this weekend

The inaugural Junction Flea market is this Sunday June 10, starting at 9AM, on Dundas Street West, one block east of Keele. If this preview of  The Vintage Cabin’s wares is in any way typical of the quality and prices of the offerings, this is a not-to-be missed event.

Then from 11AM to 6PM Sunday it’s the Annex Festival on Bloor. We’re sad this festival seems less Annex, more the same old travelling road show of vendors that you see over and over again at every Toronto street festivals. But we love the chance to walk on a car-free Bloor Street between Spadina and Bathurst once a year and enjoy the live music.

Then at 3:30PM Sunday, don’t forget to head over to the Jean Sibelius Square Park official re-opening.

The renewed Jean Sibelius Square Park, 50 Kendal Avenue in the Annex.

Good reads: YongeStreet proposes how Toronto can further densify without more condos in Right up your alley: Can laneway housing provide an antidote to our high-rise growth spurt

Toronto Life has a story about that 83 story condo, the tallest in Canada, that could be coming to the Holt Renfrew Centre on Bloor. Closer to home, the massive condo development including a 40-storey glass condominium planned by the United Church for the Bloor Street United Church at Huron and Bloor has local residents and Councillor Vaughan concerned [The Varsity].

The Dupont Street cycle lanes are probably safe for now despite the plotting of  Ward 17 Councilor and Rob Ford ally Cesar Palacio to get rid of them [openfile].

Ring Around the City is passing on a warning from 14 Division about a hot water scam in the neighbourhood. Two men already face charges.

And the always interesting Atlantic Cities’ website has two recent  articles we enjoyed: Why We Pay More for Walkable Neighbourhoods  and The Evolution of Bike Lanes (cycle tracks anyone?)

Neapolitan pizza in the Annex via Edmonton: Famoso Pizzeria’s big pizza oven has already arrived, readying for the opening at 386 Bloor Street West June 21, 2012

Jean Sibelius Square Park official opening Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 3:30PM

In Coming events, Heritage & History, The West Annex on June 4, 2012 at 8:05 PM

The new entrance at the north-east corner of Brunswick and Wells Avenues.

By West Annex News | After years of community consultation and construction,  a revitalized Sibelius Square is ready for its coming out party.

The park’s official opening will be held this Sunday, June 10th. Live music starts at 3:30PM, with remarks from Councillor Adam Vaughan and others at 4:15PM, followed by a free barbecue.

Public consultation for Sibelius Square’s redesign June 18, 2008, Working Group Chair Patrick Kennedy at right.

The opening is a chance to thank the neighbours who brought the redesign to fruition: Patrick Kennedy, the steadfast chair of the working group, together with group members Ginny Brett, Fred Freedman, Tom Friedland, Caroline Harvey, Julie Markle, Kristina Reinders, and Ted Watson.

Together they spent six years consulting with the community, and wrangling with off-leash dog advocates, city bureaucrats, and the city-imposed landscape architects. The result is the park’s refreshed playground, field house, playing field, pathways and central plaza.

The natural skating rink on the west field of Jean Sibelius Square Park, 2010

Also present at the opening will be Brian Green, City Parks supervisor. Brian devoted hours of his personal time to the much-loved Sibelius Square natural skating rink to ensure its survival after the City stopped maintaining the rink in the late 1990s. He trained the community volunteers who now build and flood the rink each year.

Community volunteers Simon Freedman, Fred Freedman and Tom Friedland building the Sibelius Square natural skating rink in January 2011

Sibelius Square was at a low ebb in 2006 after a failed off-leash dog experiment left the park almost deserted, with its playing fields devoid of grass, a magnet for local drug dealers.

Kennedy enlisted the support of newly elected councillor Adam Vaughan to use section 37 monies from a nearby Walmer Road development for the community-lead redesign.

Councillor Adam Vaughan, left, at the Gwendolyn MacEwan Park re-opening July 20, 2010

Vaughan has made community-lead design and control of local parks a cornerstone of his tenure at City Hall. Several major parks in Ward 20 are being re-designed and re-constructed with local residents making the design decisions. Sibelius Square is the third Annex park to complete this process, with a renewed Gwendolyn MacEwan park opening in 2010, and Taddle Creek Park in 2011.

Sibelius Square Park, then known as Kendal Square, on October 9, 1913

The City purchased the lands of the park–bounded by Wells, Brunswick, Kendal and Bernard– in 1906 and named it Kendal Square.

The park in July of 1939

The city renamed the 1.22 acre park after the composer Jean Sibelius in 1956, after City Council was lobbyied by members of the Toronto Finnish community.




Other related articles:

St. Alban’s Square: A historical primer

Sibelius, St. Alban’s Squares to face further attacks from off-leash advocates