A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘geary avenue

[PHOTO] East on Geary at Dufferin, Toronto

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East on Geary at Dufferin #toronto #davenport #night #gearyave #dufferinstreet//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Standing on Geary Avenue just east of Dufferin Street, this one of Toronto’s newest hip streets looks perfectly ordinary and quietly miraculous under the line of street lights.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 10, 2017 at 7:00 am

[PHOTO] Nine photos from the Geary Ave. Flea (#gearyaveflea)

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Some likes I received on year-old photos on Instagram tagged with Toronto’s Geary Avenue, a west-east street that lies literally on the other side of the tracks from my home on Dupont, alerted me to the Geary Ave. Flea. This flea market event, held at and around the corner of Geary and Westmoreland Avenue, is a monthly event, today’s being the second of four scheduled for the summmer, on the last Sunday of each month.

What did I think of the Geary Ave. Flea? I enjoyed it. There’s a nice mix of local businesspeople and shopkeepers advertising their goods, people trying to sell bricabrac in good shape, and even a mix of food and drink vendors. It’s a nice addition to the neighbourhood. I just wish there were more iterations scheduled for this summer.

Entering the Geary Ave. Flea off Westmoreland

Bricabrac

5 records for $20

Jerseys and hats for sale

Flowers arranged

Things to drink

On Westmoreland

Looking back

Sign on Dovercourt

Written by Randy McDonald

July 30, 2017 at 10:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Geary Avenue is still Toronto’s most interesting street”

blogTO’s Derek Flack reports about the latest developments of my neighbourhood’s Geary Avenue.

Geary Avenue TorontoOne of West Queen West’s most iconic landmarks in the late 2000s was Thrush Holmes’ neon-adorned gallery and studio space. Located just west of Dovercourt Rd. beside what would become the sales office for the Bohemian Embassy, it was a symbol of a neighbourhood defined by a creative spirit that had emerged from its industrial past.

When Holmes relocated in 2011 after five years, the character of the street and surrounding neighbourhood had changed immensely. The arts hub that was 48 Abell was gone, the Mercer Union moved north to Bloor, and the area had become the city’s hallmark of hip living, complete with a roster of new condos and bars.

This isn’t a sad story. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. Toronto needs place likes the West Queen West we have today, but it also needs areas that will serve as breeding grounds for artistic endeavours, new ideas, and cultural experimentation. For now, the city still has such places in steady supply.

Where did Thrush Holmes go when he left West Queen West?

Geary Avenue, of course. That strange hybrid of a street where you’re just as likely to find an auto body shop as you are a jam space, a brewery, an architecture firm, or an artist studio. In a city that’s growing as rapidly as Toronto, it’s places like Geary where you might take our cultural temperature.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 9, 2016 at 7:15 pm

[PHOTO] Tulips of Geary Avenue, Toronto

Tulips on Geary #toronto #janeswalk #lovetowalk #flowers #tulips #davenport #gearyave

I saw these cheery tulips towards the end of last weekend’s second Jane’s Walk, the Green Line tour, growing in a concrete-walled plot on the north side of the CPR tracks east of Dufferin.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 12, 2016 at 11:10 am

[URBAN NOTE] On me and the fate of my neighbourhood, Dovercourt Park or Village

This photo, one of three I took standing north of the Dovercourt Road rail crossing, between Dupont and Geary, was selected to a illustrated a recent Torontoist article.

Dovercourt between Dupont and Geary, three shots (2)

The URL reveals Kelli Korducki’s article to have been originally titled “Is Dovercourt Village Toronto’s Williamsburg?” The published title is the more modest “Is Dovercourt Village Toronto’s Next Big Thing?”. My neighbourhood, called either Dovercourt Park or Dovercourt Village, is apparently in the middle of a renaissance stretching as far north as the Geary Avenue I blogged about on Monday.

The street that marks the top of Dovercourt Village, running north of Dupont from Ossington to just beyond Dufferin has been called the ugliest street in Toronto, and it may well be. A drab residue of industry past, it’s the kind of street a 15-year-veteran Toronto taxi driver might not realize existed: lined with old buildings that are the wrong kind of old, back-alley-like in the way that is neither appealingly seedy nor charming but, instead, resolutely meh.

The rail lines and power transformers that buffer the street aren’t exactly picturesque. But things are changing on Geary Avenue, and Dovercourt Village by extension.

Brandon Donnelly, a trained architect and real estate developer who writes the daily Architect This City blog, knows this well. He moved just north of the street to St. Clair West in 2009 when the new streetcar corridor was under construction, and realized that the area’s combination of affordable rents and viable transit were just the right ingredients for a neighbourhood-wide commercial renaissance. Now, he thinks Dovercourt Village is poised to become the next Lower Ossington.

“What’s interesting about it is that even if you look at Ossington, it’s obvious [that businesses want to set up shop there],” he says. Area rents are high—a challenge for fledgling businesses, that’s also a barometer of hipster cred—but so is foot traffic, which means restauranteurs and savvy retailers recognize the strip as a smart place to be. “But, if you look back, it isn’t so obvious.”

Like Geary, lower Ossington is architecturally dreary. But last summer marked the launch of Geary Lane, an experimental performance space set up by experimental production gurus Jason Pollard and Justin Adam of Man Finds Fire. Then there’s S.H.I.B.G.B., the new underground all-ages punk venue beside Geary’s three-year-old trendstarter taco bar, Kitch, and a new restaurant and concert venue, Mercury Social Club, scheduled to open in the spring.

This is all well and good. I’m just left wondering where I will live when residential rates spike. It’s not a nice feeling to know I’m going to be pushed out of the neighbourhood I love, maybe even far out.

[PHOTO] On the future of Geary Avenue, Toronto

Geary Avenue in winter #toronto #gearyavenue #dufferinstreet #davenport #torontophotos #winter #snow

blogTO has written extensively in the past about Geary Avenue, an increasingly post-industrial west-east street in Davenport, just on the other side of the train tracks from me. In February 2011 it noted the decline of industry there, while two years later it introduced its readers to the street more directly and in July 2014 it noted the erection of the new Geary Lane studio. On the 4th, the Toronto Star‘s Stuart Berman described in “Geary Ave.: The secret life of an ugly street” how this street was starting to become trendy.

Though located just steps north of heavily trafficked Dupont St., the unremarkable, one-kilometre-long Geary Ave. — beginning at Ossington Ave. in the east and terminating just past Dufferin St. in the west — exists in the no man’s land between downtown and midtown, an area so unconcerned with keeping up appearances that its modern-furniture knock-off stores actually have names like Modern-Furniture Knock Off.

Running alongside the CP rail tracks, Geary is effectively cut off from Toronto’s urbanized core both physically and spiritually. It more closely resembles something you’d find on the city’s industrialized outskirts: a random assemblage of car-repair shops, nondescript office spaces and the greasy-spoon lunch counters that cater to them, not to mention various disused warehouses in states of serious neglect.

Up until last year, there was really only one reason to visit Geary after dark: you were among the many musicians renting a room at the labyrinthine Rehearsal Factory, the jam-space of choice for everyone from veteran rock acts like Sloan to after-work hobbyists renting by the hour. But, over the past year, Geary has become a place where local noise-makers are not only practising for their next gig but playing them, too.

Just a few doors down from the Rehearsal Factory, the street’s western dead-end has come to life with the launch of Geary Lane, a multi-purpose performance space specializing in experimental indie-rock concerts and DJ events.

On the east side of Dufferin, adjacent to three-year-old grungy taco bar Kitch, a Toronto hardcore band has taken over a basement unit in an industrial plaza and christened it S.H.I.B.G.B. (pronounced “Shee-B-G-B,” a cheeky nod to legendary New York dive CBGB), the city’s only venue devoted to all-ages punk shows. Across the street from that lies an abandoned furniture store that’s set to be transformed into the Mercury Social Club, a new restaurant and 300-person concert space due to open this spring.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 9, 2015 at 5:09 pm

[PHOTO] “Train tracks, Bartlett between Dupont and Geary”

Visiting the train tracks on Bartlett Avenue between Dupont and Geary one afternoon, this is what I saw, looking south, east, and west.

Train tracks, Bartlett between Dupont and Geary (1)

Train tracks, Bartlett between Dupont and Geary (2)

Train tracks, Bartlett between Dupont and Geary (3)

Written by Randy McDonald

June 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm