A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘bathurst street

[PHOTO] Honest Ed’s from the north

Honest Ed's from the north #toronto #honesteds #theannex #bathurststreet

The Honest Ed’s sign will be taken down in a week for relocation, and the building torn down later. Taking photo will soon be impossible.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm

[PHOTO] Underneath, Bathurst north of Dupont

Underneath #toronto #bathurststreet #davenport #tunnel #night

Walking part of the way home tonight, heading south then west from St. Clair West, I passed by this mural on the rail underpass on Bathurst just north of Dupont.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 26, 2017 at 10:53 pm

[PHOTO] Thirteen photos of Honest Ed’s, 31 December 2016

On Saturday the 31st of December, 2016, I visited Honest Ed’s on its last day of operation. There was very little merchandise available for sale, tattered shopping bags and old signs and (oddly enough) 2016 Sunday missals aside. There were plenty of other fellow sightseers, even photographers. It was a nice shared experience, bidding goodbye to an institution that had been around for generations.

All of my photos are hosted on my Flickr account, and are also viewable in this Facebook album.

Honest Ed's, 31 December 2016



Closed off

Glamour of old

Taking photos

Signs for sale


63 Years

Thank you

Photography in The Alley

Looking west, Bloor at Bathurst

Written by Randy McDonald

January 2, 2017 at 11:59 pm

[PHOTO] 20 photos from Honest Ed Station, or Bathurst done differently (#honestedstation)

The Toronto Star, CBC, and Urban Toronto all highlighted the very particular changes which hit Bathurst station at the beginning of the month. Stefan Novakovic’s Urban Toronto essay does a great job of introducing these.

Past the red-sweatered Ken Bones, and however many groups of ‘kids from Stranger Things,’ the title of Toronto’s most memorable Halloween sight might just belong to Bathurst Station’s belated turn as Honest Ed’s. Decked out over Halloween night and into the morning, the first day of November saw the walls of the station transformed into a loving and lighthearted homage to the iconic retailer.

Unveiled today, the tribute will last as long as the store itself, remaining in place until Honest Ed’s serves its last customer on December 31st of this year. In 2017, the store will make way for Westbank’s celebrated and lambasted redevelopment, while the station will eventually reveal a more modestly scaled permanent installation remembering the one-of-a-kind store.

Across the station, windows, walls, and wayfinding signs are kitted out in the store’s endearingly outdated fonts. Paying tribute to the work of long-serving sign painters Doug Kerr and Wayne Reuben, the signs—which are vnyl scans of painted lettering—offer transit-themed themed adaptations of Ed Mirvish’s wordplay. “OUR TRAINS ARE SMART: THEY’VE BEEN TO COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY,” a sign reads. “OUR PRICES AREN’T JUST GOOD, THEY’RE FARE.”

On Tuesday, I went visiting the station, disembarking on the eastbound platform, going up to the street level, exploring the street level, and then heading back down to the westbound platform, photographing as I went.

Bathurst eastbound #toronto #ttc #bathurst #honestedstation #honesteds #signsTo street level #toronto #ttc #bathurst #honestedstation #honesteds #signsWaiting #toronto #ttc #bathurst #honestedstation #honesteds #signsWestbound #toronto #ttc #bathurst #honestedstation #honesteds #signs  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Randy McDonald

November 18, 2016 at 1:40 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Proposals could add ‘significant’ new park space at Bathurst and Front”

The Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Pagliaro notes a very good proposal for a new park on Bathurst below Fort York.

The King-Spadina neighbourhood is poised to get a significant boost in park space if two proposals along Front St. W. are approved at city hall.

The pitch for a new 2.3-acre park at Bathurst and Front streets is the latest attempt to clear open space in the increasingly crowded and parks-deficient downtown core.

The move from Councillor Mike Layton would turn a vacant city-owned property that’s sometimes used as a parking lot into public space.

The west-end neighbourhood has recently been subject to much attention as staff study the possibility of decking over the rail corridor from Bathurst St. to Blue Jays Way to create a new park.

[. . .]

In the interim, Layton, who plans to introduce the plan for the 28 Bathurst St. site at Toronto and East York Community Council on Tuesday, says the proposed park is a “great deal” for the city, which already owns the land.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know this is probably a better deal than purchasing land or suspending a park over something else,” he said.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 15, 2016 at 6:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto parks suffer from lack of pride”

Marcus Gee in The Globe and Mail argues Toronto’s parks are neglected. I’ve been to Canoe Landing, by Fort York and Bathurst; his testimony is all too true.

When the City of Toronto assumed control of Canoe Landing, it was in pristine condition. The creative new park with its signature red canoe overlooking the Gardiner Expressway was built by the developer of a vast residential complex, CityPlace. Gabriel Leung, an executive with the company, Concord Adex, remembers the painstaking care needed to make sure the park was in tip-top shape when the city took it over, making it part of Toronto’s public park system.

He has photos to prove it. They show meticulous new landscaping and close-cropped lawns. The giant fishing floats that are another centrepiece of the park gleam in the sun and light up in the dark. So does the stylized beaver dam with its artificial white logs.

But within months, Mr. Leung says, company officials noticed, “to our horror,” that the grounds were already looking tatty and rundown. Ever since, he has been battling with the city over inferior upkeep of the park.

He is so frustrated that he has approached city officials about having the company, rather than the city, do the maintenance. He is certain that if the city handed over whatever amount it spends on the park, he could hire a professional firm to do the work and keep the grounds in a much better state.

Canoe Landing stands as a sad example of a much broader problem: Toronto’s failure to maintain its parks and public spaces. Weedy grass, chipped and rotting benches, fountains that fail to function, dead trees in concrete planters – these things give the city an air of neglect and dysfunction. It’s an embarrassment. A city as big and as rich as Toronto should be able to keep its urban spaces from looking so shabby.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 26, 2016 at 5:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On the proposed Rail Deck Park of Toronto

Over the rail corridor #toronto #cntower #rail #spadinaavenue #bathurststreetThe above photo, one of the many I took in May from the top of the CN Tower, came to mind when I heard one particular news item. The big new urban development in Toronto, as described by the Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Pagliaro, is the proposed to roof over the rail lands as far west of the CN Tower as Bathurst Street and to build a park–Rail Deck Park–on top of this roof.

A bold new legacy park pitched by public officials for the downtown core, being dubbed Toronto’s Central Park, would link long-separated neighbourhoods and provide much needed green space.

That’s the hope of Mayor John Tory, local politicians and senior planning officials in the newly announced attempt to secure the rights to the air space over the rail corridor between Bathurst St. and Blue Jays Way to build a 21-acre deck park now being called Rail Deck Park.

Although the city made its intentions clear Wednesday, there are still many unknowns. Most critical is how to pay for the construction and maintenance of such a significant space with looming budget pressures ahead. And a project of this size, according to those pitching it, is still many years in the making.

With an area just larger than 16 regulation football fields, the proposed park would dwarf all other green spaces in the core. It’s an open space that chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat said could be “our Central Park” — a “grand civic gesture” in a part of Toronto experiencing unprecedented residential growth and one that is also the most deficient in parkland.

It’s difficult to disagree with this Torontoist op-ed which thinks so much green space will be a good thing, notwithstanding the effort needed.

Tory told media the park, which would span across Bathurst Street to the Rogers Centre, would take at minimum four to five years to build, and a cost has not yet been calculated. (Other parks, by comparison, have cost upwards of tens of millions of dollars per acre.) But the City says adding more green space, especially in building-dense downtown areas, is the main priority. “We need to ensure we’re building neighbourhoods, building communities, not just building towers,” says Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina), who has been advocating for more city park space. In July, Cressy proposed un-paving a parking lot near King and Spadina to create more green space downtown. Online, Torontonians are already championing the plan.

NOW Toronto placed this park in the context of efforts at greening the waterfront. (This article was also the source of the graphic I used.)

The initiative is part of the City’s TOCore project, which is responsible for developing a comprehensive plan for reshaping the downtown core. According to City stats, Toronto’s downtown population has increased by 50,000 residents in the past five years, and that population is expect to double in the next two decades. Rail Deck Park would function as the “missing link” between the King-Spadina neighbhourhood, City Place and the Waterfront.

The park is one of several green-ification projects in the works for Toronto’s west side. In late 2015, plans for the long-overdue Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge were finally unveiled. The stainless steel span expected to be completed in 2017 will connect Liberty Village and Fort York residents to the waterfront parks and surrounding spaces. It will cross two rail corridors and connect Stanley Park and Fort York.

Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc likes the idea, but is concerned about whether or not Toronto’s political culture will allow its realization.

According to the area councilor Joe Cressy, Livey’s officials scrutinized a handful of key issues: the ownership of the air rights, the cost, and the technical feasibility.

The air rights, above the 27-foot level, belong to CN Rail, Toronto Terminals Railway and Metrolinx; city officials have determined that they can be acquired. But with developers actively exploring the possibility of privately buying air rights over the corridor, Cressy says council’s key move, when a staff report surfaces in September, will be to approve an official plan amendment designating the entire space above the tracks as open space.

The plan, as my colleague Kieran Delamont explains here, is going to be very expensive, even allowing for the large and unused parkland acquisition reserves that Spacing investigated last year in our “Parks in Crisis” series. Cressy contends that both the province and the feds may put money into the project. But this ask is merely the latest in a long series of big ticket asks, not least of which is the $1 billion flood protection berm that will unlock development on the Portlands. (Let’s not even talk about transit.)

Which brings me to Downsview Park. Those of you who dimly remember the early years of Jean Chretien’s Liberal regime may recall that two of his loyal foot soldiers, Art Eggleton and David Collenette, persuaded the prime minister to donate the decommissioned air force base to the City, alongside similarly high-minded pledges to establish it as Canada’s first national urban park (whatever that means).

Yet after a few years of high-end architects conjuring up fancy visions, it became clear that no one was prepared to put out to actually build the thing, at which point Canada Lands Corporation, the ultimate owner of the land, began cleaving off parcels at the edges for re-development with an eye to using the proceeds to build the park. The idea of encircling a large park with higher density buildings is actually sound planning, but this cross-subsidization strategy was accomplished in an ad hoc and haphazard way. There was more than a little disingenuousness from the various powers that be, and plenty of anti-development yodeling from Maria Augimeri, the local councilor.

If the Rail Deck Park can be achieved, I think it should. Torontonians want and deserve nice things, and this downtown park would definitely be one such thing. I just hope, with Lorinc, that we will be able to overcome our dysfunctional political culture long enough to build it.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 5, 2016 at 1:09 pm