Archive for January 2016
I’m not quite sure what this, and the other sculptures, on the front yard of the home at Augusta and Wales towards the south of Kensington Market is supposed to be. “Robot” was my best guess.
Inspired by this evening’s post about the impending transformation of my neighbourhood, starting with the Galleria Mall, I’d like to ask my readers about their physical environments. What are their neighbourhoods like? How are they changing?
Please, share and discuss.
I’ve got 30 photos on Flickr with the tag “#galleriamall”. The one below was used by Torontoist to illustrate Stephanie Dipetrillo’s article describing public consultation over the site, bought up this summer for condo development.
There are days when Maria Morgado will climb up to the roof of her Wallace-Emerson home to get an unobstructed view of the city. In clear skies, the resident of 40 years can see over buildings and treetops, as far as a little school off in the distance.
But that view could soon change. With developers vying to zone the site of the Galleria Shopping Centre for mixed use with both residential and commercial units, the neighbourhood could be home to yet another of the city’s towering condo-shopping hubs.
“Everything seems to be going up,” Morgado laments.
This Saturday, residents like Morgado voiced their concerns about the Galleria’s future at a public consultation. Held at the infamously dated mall and hosted by ELAD Canada and Freed Developments, who purchased the site in August 2015, the consultation was the community’s first formal opportunity to comment on potential land developments.
Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18, Davenport), who was also in attendance, says the chance to address concerns about developments can make a difference in the long run. “We have a lot more responsibility,” she says. “It’s one thing when developers come in with a plan that is done and we criticize it. It’s another thing when we actually have the power to feed into that plan.”
Myself, of my various photos I prefer this one from 2012, looking west across Dufferin Street towards this low-slung commercial complex. As the Yelp reviews (and my postings) have indicated, the Galleria Mall is almost famously downscale, but workably so. It’s part of the environment of the neighbourhood, has been since the 1970s. That’s why the plans for a radical transformation are so upsetting.
Lisa Rainford’s Bloor West Villager article goes into grim detail.
Last year, Freed and ELAD Canada purchased the Dupont and Dufferin streets-area mall that boasts 225,000 square feet of retail space. From now until June, its team, including designers from Urban Strategies Inc., will work with the community and city to “re-imagine” the site, situated at 1245 Dupont St.
[. . .]
The open house served to introduce Freed and ELAD Canada to the community.
“We’ve been working very closely with (Davenport Councillor) Ana Bailão,” said Melanie Hare, a partner at the urban design firm Urban Strategies Inc. “There will be retail going forward; some residential; some office space. They do know they’d like to maintain the retail space. We’re here to listen today.”
An application is expected to be made to the city at some point this year, Hare added.
“It’s very early days. We don’t have designs here because there are no designs to show yet,” she said. “It’s important to know what the community wants.”
Currently, the property is zoned for as many as three towers.
“This is the first step in a long process, to meet the community and get a pulse and then work collaboratively towards a vision,” said project spokesperson Danny Roth.
What will this neighbourhood become? I fully expect a process of thorough transformation: Dupont Street, as I’ve noted in the past, is already becoming a new hub for galleries. (Contrary to my promise earlier this week, I will not be attending the Long Winter art party scheduled to start at the Galleria shortly. Life elsewhere intervenes.) This neighbourhood is home to me and to others, but it has been because–I admit–it is so uniquely affordable, so close to the downtown yet with manageable rents and prices. Is there any place for the people who already live here in any of these plans? Or will I be driven out?
Gentrification is good, not just as the only practical alternative to Detroit-style decay but in its own right. Gentrification is also good in Toronto, in the abstract and in reality. I fully acknowledge that my issues also intervene: Would that I belonged to Richard Florida’s prosperous creative classes, or rather that I could have made myself belong! It’s just sad, and more than a bit unnerving, to realize that a place I love is likely to become a place I will not be able to live in, and in less time than I’d like to imagine
The route of the oft-proposed, never-developed Downtown Relief Line, has been given somewhat more detail. It’s all theoretical, of course. The Globe and Mail‘s Oliver Moore describes the plan (via Torontoist).
Plans for downtown Toronto’s first subway in decades are taking shape, with the city’s planning department urging that it run below Queen Street.
Details of the long-awaited downtown relief line – a route that has been discussed in various permutations for a century – emerged on Friday. According to information obtained by The Globe and Mail, staff have concluded that the best approach involves a connection from Pape Station near Danforth Avenue to the area around City Hall.
Although the plan is primarily about diverting passengers from the overcrowded Yonge subway line, a briefing for councillors made clear the value of the new line to the city centre as well. According to a draft staff presentation, the subway plan would “fill [a] rapid transit void in the core” and “recognizes that downtown is 24/7.”
The proposal pencils in stations along Queen Street around Sherbourne Street, Sumach Street and Broadview Avenue, and one near Gerrard Square. These would allow access to Regent Park and Moss Park, and offer the chance of a connection to the Stouffville GO corridor, which is expected to get much more frequent service under provincial and city plans.
Ridership projections for the proposed line are expected in the next few weeks, and the plan itself will form part of a broader package of transit proposals going to city council in June. Future extensions would push the line farther north and west. But no funding for any of it has been secured, and construction of even the first phase would likely take at least a decade.