News & Opinion

Posts Tagged ‘Bloor Street’

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.

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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]

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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.

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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.

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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].

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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

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

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]

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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

This week in the neighbourhood | September 20, 2013

In Coming events, This week in the neighbourhood on September 20, 2013 at 8:00 AM
A rendering of what separated, bi-directional bike lanes would look like at Bloor and Howland/Borden.

A rendering of what separated, bi-directional bike lanes would look like at Bloor and Howland/Borden. | Image credit Cycle Toronto

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

Bike lanes on Bloor might make a come-back. BlogTO and others are reporting that emails from residents and advocacy groups prompted a group of six city councillors to ask city staff to reopen a study into bike lanes on Bloor. Cycle Toronto has a petition with almost 1000 signatures, urging city council to support the initiative. Mayor Ford ended the study in 2011, at the same time he lead council to remove the Jarvis Street bike lanes.

The interim control bylaw on Bathurst Street, meant to give both Kensington Market and Mirvish Village some breathing space from development pressures, is being challenged at the Ontario Municipal Board. RioCan’s application to put a Walmart in the former Kromer Radio site was turned down by the Committee of Adjustments in May. The bylaw was put in place in June.

Meanwhile, Adam Vaughan’s vowed to destroy the OMB after Harbord Village residents were given permission to keep their illegal two-storey addition at the back of their 36 Brunswick Avenue home after an epic seven-year legal battle. Owner Shih Tseng, a former realtor, argued that he didn’t realize a permit was necessary. The battle cost Tseng about $300,000, the city $500,000.

The Galle family’s annual peperonata-making party in the laneway between Montrose Avenue and Bickford Park was commemorated by the City by the naming of laneway on Saturday, September 14th. After the ceremony about 150 neighbours and friends sat down in the lane to roast, peel, and eat the traditional Sicilian pepper and potato dish.

Peperonata Lane naming ceremony on September 14, 2013

Peperonata Lane naming ceremony on September 14, 2013

The thieves drove a white BMW in a daring robbery at the Prada Store at 131 Bloor Street West in the early morning of September 18, 2013.  The store’s plate glass windows were smashed and purses and wallets taken.

The Grid features an article this week about how apples from an Annex resident’s front yard ended up on the menu at Richmond Station restaurant with the help of Not Far From the Tree.

What’s up this coming week:

sharrows_don't_work_by_West_Annex_News

Why sharrows don’t work

Saturday, September 21 at 1PM: Bagels for bike lanes: Love-in at the Harbord Bakery, 115 Harbord Street. Cycle Toronto has organized this friendly mass bagel-buy to show our good neighbour at the Harbord Bakery–long-time bike-lane opponents–that cyclists are an important part of their customer base. While you’re at it, don’t forget to sign Cycle Toronto’s petition supporting separated bike lanes on Harbord and Hoskins.

Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22: Queen West Art Crawl featuring an outdoor art show and sale in Trinity-Bellwoods Park from 11AM to 6PM, a Parkdale Night Crawl, and guided art walks and talks.

Thursday, September 26, 7PM to midnight: Vintage Crawl. More than 35 vendors between College and Queen, Spadina to Roncesvalles will offer vintage clothing, jewelry, furniture and home decor items.

Map of vendors participating in Vintage Crawl Toronto Thursday September 26th from 7PM to midnight.

Map of vendors participating in Vintage Crawl Toronto Thursday September 26th from 7PM to midnight. | Image credit Vintage Crawl

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

The weekly wrap for April 29, 2011

In Coming events, This week in the neighbourhood on April 29, 2011 at 12:05 AM

Heritage Toronto begins its 17th year of free historic walking tours all across the city with a guided walk of Madison Avenue on Saturday, April 30th, 1:30PM. [Heritage Toronto]

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U of T is giving UTS the boot. The university wants the school for brainiacs out by 2021 so the pile at Bloor and Spadina can be redeveloped. [Globe and Mail]

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Councillor Vaughan invites you to a public meeting about a proposal for a hotel and condo development at Dupont and Kendal. Join him and Planning staff to discuss the redevelopment of 328 Dupont, Tuesday May 3rd at 7:00PM at St. Alban’s the Martyr Cathedral, 100 Howland Avenue (on the grounds of Royal St. George’s College). [Ward20.ca]

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The local condo boom is good for business at Hazelton Lanes.  The Yorkville mall announces a $10 million makeover and a 50,000 square foot Whole Foods expansion. [Yonge Street]

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What to do if the City has removed your bike from a bike ring. Duncan tells you how to recover it. [Duncan’s City Ride]

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And, about the election:

The real swing factor in Trinity-Spadina isn’t the downtown condos. John Bowker nails what’s a stake in our fair riding. [All Fired Up In The Big Smoke]

The battles for Bathurst Street are among the key races in the city. [InsideToronto.com]

“There is a special place in hell for the inventor of inflatable thunder sticks.” Rick Mercer spends a week on the campaign buses and planes of each of the three federal leaders. [Macleans]

Does Parliamentary crime pay? Peter Russell trembles at the thought of the message sent by a Harper win. [YouTube]

Do not adjust your set. Andrew Coyne really has endorsed the Liberals. [Macleans]

Anyone but Harper? Catch 22 and Project Democracy have tools to help you decide how to make your vote count. And since strategic voting can’t help stop Harper in Trinity-Spadina, consider signing up with VotePair.ca to swap your vote with someone willing to vote strategically in a riding where it can.


The weekly wrap for February 11, 2011

In Coming events, Reviews, Royal St. George's construction, This week in the neighbourhood on February 11, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Custom bike painter Noah Rosen of Velocolour shows off the plaid fenders he made for Don Cherry's bike at Curbside Cycle

Picture yourself in plaid. Custom bike painter Noah Rosen of Velocolour has finished the plaid fenders for Don Cherry’s pink bike, and you can have your picture with the bike tomorrow at Curbside’s Bike Love Sale, 412 Bloor Street West. [Curbside Cycle]

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Bikes on ice. Later on Saturday, head over to Dufferin Grove Park for Icycle 2011 bike races on the rink. [Duncan’s City Ride]

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Councillor Vaughan to hold meeting with West Annex community, Royal St. George’s on Wednesday, February 16th at 7:00PM.  Meeting to decide various issues including how to route 500 construction vehicles through neighbourhood, interruptions of power and other essential service, immediate removal of portable. [Ward 20]

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The Children’s Storefront reopens. Destroyed by fire in October of 2009, the beloved drop-in centre for kids and parents has reopened at 286 Bloor Street West. [InsideToronto.com]

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A great brunch. Eddie loves his meal at local fave By the Way Cafe. [T.O. Bites]

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No more dorms. U of T abandons residence in favour of luxury condos geared to wealthy and foreign students. [thestar.com]

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In defence of graffiti. Jake Tobin Garrett examines the mayor’s troublesome war on urban art. [deconstructed city]

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Every Friday, the Weekly Wrap collects articles from around the web about or of interest to residents of the West Annex.

For previous weeks’ columns, visit the Weekly Wrap archive.

The Weekly Wrap for Friday, February 4, 2011

In Heritage & History, This week in the neighbourhood on February 4, 2011 at 8:29 AM

A new condo for Bathurst and Bloor? The former Loretto College property at 783 Bathurst Street has been sold for $6.97 million by the Catholic District School Board  to H & R Developments. [Urban Toronto]
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A new strip mall for Dupont? Bert Archer reports on an application to rezone Leal Rentals at 555 Dupont, across the street from Loblaws . [YongeStreet]
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A visual history of Yonge and Bloor. Derek Flack looks the changes to this intersection through historic photographs dating from the 1920s to today. [blogTO]
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The new owner of 69 Albany Avenue talks about his house. [Town Crier.ca, h/t to Ring Around the City]
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Who you gonna call? Lisa Day profiles Ward 20 councillor Adam Vaughan’s office staff. [InsideToronto.com]
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Urbanism in the the age of climate change. An excerpt from Peter Calthorpe’s new book. [SF.Streetsblog.org]
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The Annex Shul aka the cool shul welcomes its first full-time spiritual leader, with a celebration Shabbat Saturday, February 12th. [Jewish in Toronto]
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Every Friday, the Weekly Wrap collects articles from around the web about or of interest to residents of the West Annex.

For previous weeks’ columns, visit the Weekly Wrap archive.

The Weekly Wrap for January 14, 2011

In This week in the neighbourhood on January 14, 2011 at 12:01 AM

Koreatown is getting less Korean. Cathy Conway looks at how cheap rents are attracting new business that are changing the face of the Bloor strip west of Bathurst. [Open File Toronto]

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Honest Edwardianisms. The Dominion Modern Gallery puts on a show devoted to the art of Honest Ed’s hand painted signs and sign painters. [Dominion Modern]

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Look around in an urban Whole Foods, and you will see people who came from the suburbs and will head back eventually to live.” Alex Bozidovic likes Witold Rybczynski’s latest book Makeshift Metropolis. [The Globe and Mail]

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“Enough wicked humour and touching moments to make for a worthwhile evening.” Jon Kaplan reviews Tarragon’s current Mainstage show The Misanthrope. [NOW]

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Ford balances his 2011 budget by deploying the entire Miller surplus of $346 million in a single year. Daniel Dale on the new mayor’s unconservative approach to the budget. [thestar.com]

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Every Friday, the Weekly Wrap collects articles from around the web about or of interest to residents of the West Annex.

For columns from previous weeks, visit the Weekly Wrap archive.

Arrivals & Departures: Lettieri Espresso Bar and Hero Certified Burgers at 581 Bloor Street West

In Arrivals & Departures, Eating & Drinking on January 9, 2011 at 2:23 AM

Lettieri Espresso Bar closed its doors for good on December 30, 2010

Another one bites the dust . . .

By West Annex News | Coffee Corner, Java Junction, or Corporate Coffee Headquarter; whatever you call the aggregation of coffee shops around Bloor Street West and Albany Avenue, the group suffered its first fatality at the end of 2010 when Lettieri Expresso Bar on the south-west corner of Bathurst and Bloor quietly closed its doors on December 30.  A note posted on the front door reads: “After eight years of making fresh espresso, Lettieri Espresso Bar will be closed on December 30, 2010.  We have loved being a part of this community.  It has been an absolute joy serving you. Wish you all have a very happy new year.”

Good-bye note from Lettieri franchise owner Joe Lee | click to enlarge

Signs already hang in the windows announcing that a Hero Certified Burgers will be moving in to the 581 Bloor Street West space.  The Lettieri website says cryptically that Lettieri is “co-branding with Hero Certified Burgers”.  Lettieri directs readers to the Hero website for further information, but we found no mention there of Lettieri or of co-branding. John Lettieri is the founder of both the Lettieri Espresso Bar and Hero Certified Burgers franchises.

Honest Ed's signage overwhelmed that of Lettieri

It’s hard to say what lead to the demise of Lettieri. Once inside the shop, it was an attractive, soothing, light-filled space with large east-facing windows looking out on Bathurst Street.  And Lettieri made arguably the best-tasting espresso-based drinks of all the chains located on the West Annex Bloor strip. But tucked in the north-east corner of Honest Ed’s, the garish extravagance of  Ed’s signage overwhelmed that of Lettieri’s; it was easy to forget the coffee shop was even there.

And Bathurst Street still forms a considerable psychological barrier for Annex shoppers. Although the number of non-Korean-themed shops establishing themselves west of Bathurst on the Bloor West strip is increasing, many shoppers still hold on to the notion that Bloor west of Bathurst is a Korean ethnic enclave with little to offer shoppers who do not share that ethnicity.   As we noted in a previous post, the stiff competition with four major coffee chain outlets killed a local tea shop in 2010. With that competition located on the more desirable West Annex side of Bathurst, the few extra steps to cross the street into Koreatown apparently proved a few steps too far for Lettieri’s survival.

Lettieri Espresso Bar was located at the south west corner of Bathurst and Bloor, in Honest Ed’s

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In Arrivals & Departures, we watch the changes in the commercial/retail strips of the West Annex on Bloor, Bathurst, and Dupont Streets, and think about these changes in the context of Jane Jacobs’ analysis that popularity on retail strips can lead to commercial monocultures and store vacancies and Max Fawcett’s thesis that the Annex is un-gentrifying.

Visit the Arrivals & Departures archive.