A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘mirvish village

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Chinatown, Alternative Thinking, Bloor West, Black Toronto,Quayside

  • Toronto’s Chinatown on Spadina Avenue is facing pressures from gentrification, including architectural ones, the Toronto Star observes.
  • blogTO notes that the building housing shop Alternative Thinking is the only survivor of the old Honest Ed’s-anchored Mirvish Village.
  • Urban Toronto shares revised plans for 2452 Bloor Street West, in Bloor West Village near Jane.
  • Black people in Toronto tend to live in “segregated” neighbourhoods, census and other data suggest, according to this article in the Toronto Star.
  • Global News notes the demand of privacy commissioner Anne Cavoukian for the data being gathered by Waterfront Toronto in the Quayside project.

[URBAN NOTE] “This is what Mirvish Village will look like in 5 years”

blogTO’s Derek Flack shares links and images of the plans for Mirvish Village in five years’ time.

With the doors to Honest Ed’s officially closed for good, it’s time to turn our attention to the future of Mirvish Village. We now have a much better of idea of what it’ll look like that thanks to the most recent planning documents filed by site developer Westbank.

The Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village project has undergone extensive revisions in response to community consultation, heritage evaluation and municipal feedback. Now in its third iteration, the plans are starting to resemble what we might see in the next few years.

Some of the highlights from the most recent renderings of the project include a sprawling public park that stretches out from Markham Street, a slick new market building that’ll span 20,000-plus square feet, and a micro retail corridor roughly where Honest Ed’s Alley once was.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 4, 2017 at 4:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Koreatown unsure of what comes next after Mirvish Village”

blogTO’s Amy Grief looks at the speculation in Koreatown as to what will happen to this Bloor West neighbourhood after Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village are gone.

Mirvish Village is vacant and Honest Ed’s had its big goodbye party this past weekend. The end is nigh for the southwest corner of Bloor and Bathurst as the wrecking ball slowly swoops in.

While the intersection was lively this weekend, it’s going to be pretty quiet for the next little while. That’s why I spoke to some of those nearby to see what they think about living and working near a ghost town.

“I think it does feel a bit empty in this moment, but I don’t think it’s really hit a lot of us until we start to see the kind of demolition of buildings,” says Adil Dhalla, one of the organizers behind last weekend’s festivities. We spoke as he was setting up the space.

Dhalla is also the executive direct of the Centre for Social Innovation, which is headquartered just south of Honest Ed’s.

The CSI also has a location in Regent Park, so Dhalla knows it can be complicated to watch as a neighbourhood changes.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 2, 2017 at 9:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Honest Ed’s redevelopment shows what it takes to make a Village”

The Globe and Mail‘s Alex Bozikovic really quite likes the proposed redevelopment of the area of Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village.

Mirvish Village is dead. Long live Mirvish Village. In the area near Honest Ed’s this week, workers had put up fences around a string of Victorian houses on Markham Street, preparing to gut them, while creatives assembled an “Art Maze” inside the old Honest Ed’s store for a festival and sendoff, An Honest Farewell, this weekend.

It’s the end of an age at Bloor and Bathurst Streets: the loveable shambles of Honest Ed’s is gone forever. But as this weekend’s events suggest, the past will continue to have a presence on the site.

The new development at Mirvish Village, after two years of conversation between developers Westbank, locals and the city, is inching closer to approval, with a new proposal submitted in January to the city. Westbank paid $72-million for the site, a big number, and yet the result is as good as private development gets in Toronto. It features meaningful preservation of heritage buildings, a serious sustainability agenda, and affordable housing – not to mention an architectural and leasing strategy geared at making the place as lively as possible, even a bit weird.

That’s all because the developers have been ready to engage in meaningful discussion: The city and the community have made this proposal better through talking and listening.

When the first Westbank proposal emerged in early 2015, “I think [the City of Toronto] were surprised by how much we were offering,” the main architect, Vancouver’s Gregory Henriquez, told me last week. “That’s how we deal in Vancouver: We come with our best offer.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 25, 2017 at 7:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Plan for Honest Ed’s site revised to save more heritage buildings, add extra park space”

vCBC News’ Kate McGillivray reports on how the latest plans for the Honest Ed’s site will retain something, at least, of the old character of Mirvish Village.

Revisions to the plan for the site of iconic department store Honest Ed’s will see more heritage buildings saved and feature a larger public park, according to the city’s planning website.

A fresh batch of revisions were submitted to the city’s planning division by the developer, Westbank, in mid-January, which, along with the park and heritage buildings, also promises to reduce the development’s density.

In the original plan submitted by the developer, only 15 heritage buildings were safe from demolition and there was no park.

At this point, 23 of the 27 listed heritage buildings on the site, which is bordered by Bathurst Street, Markham Street, Bloor Street and Lennox Street and also includes some parts of the west side of Markham Street, will be saved. The park is set to be 1,150 square metres.

Vancouver architect Gregory Henriquez, who is leading the design team, told Matt Galloway on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning that the plan is to “build a series of smaller buildings that together form a new village” rather than “one large mega-complex, which is what you see a lot of in Toronto.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 1, 2017 at 7:59 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “A new chapter for a beloved comic hideout”

The Globe and Mail‘s Mark Medley describes how Toronto comic store The Beguiling is managing its move from the soon-to-be-defunct Mirvish Village to a new College Street location.

For nearly two decades, visitors to the Beguiling, the charmingly overstocked comic-book emporium in the heart of Toronto’s Mirvish Village, would often be greeted by the sight of long-time owner Peter Birkemoe sitting in his “office” – perched behind his computer, at the first-floor cash register, surrounded by the ever-encroaching comics, artworks, ‘zines and other ephemera that have made it the most important comic-book store in Canada, and one of the greatest in the world.

“I’ve spent more of my life, hour-wise, awake, in this room, than I’ve spent in any [other] building,” Birkemoe said one morning earlier this month, as he took a break from preparing for the store’s last day, on Tuesday. He laughed, quietly, as if realizing this for the first time. “That will be sad.”

Countless obituaries were written about Honest Ed’s, the discount department store that anchored Mirvish Village, an eclectic block of art studios, restaurants and other small businesses, in the days before the brightly lit retailer shut its doors on Dec. 31, the result of a redevelopment that will significantly alter the southwest corner of Bathurst and Bloor in the coming years. The Beguiling, at least to its customers, is as vital an institution.

Since the store moved into its current home more than 20 years ago, it has served as a sort of clubhouse for many in the city’s comics community. It will survive, in name and in spirit, in a different form – a new location, on College Street, on the edge of Kensington Market, opened last month – but at the same time one can’t help but feel a sense of an ending, that a chapter is coming to a close.

“It will definitely be hard to have that feeling of something just so densely packed with history,” said the comics artist Michael DeForge. “I’m sure the new location will eventually get as lived in, and accumulate that history as it goes on, but that’s going to be a hard thing to get back again.”

[URBAN NOTE] “Mirvish Village joins a history of lost neighbourhoods in Toronto”

blogTO’s Derek Flack places Mirvish Village, with the end of Honest Ed’s set to come to an end itself, in the context of Toronto’s other now-vanished neighbourhoods.

Toronto’s most famous lost neighbourhood is probably The Ward, a densely packed and diverse area that bounded by Yonge, University, Queen, and College streets. At various points, it was home to numerous immigrant enclaves, including an early Little Italy and the city’s first major Chinatown.

The Ward was notorious for its poor living conditions, as many lived crammed into shacks with little ability to maintain warmth over the cold winter months. Some of its areas were, by all rights, a slum, but it was a crucial starting point for many who arrived in the city, and remains an important part of Toronto’s history as a diverse city.

A huge portion of the neighbourhood was razed for the construction of the New City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square in the early 1960s. This had a ripple effect on the entire area, which the city had been gradually redeveloping since the 1920s. Chinatown and Little Italy moved west and by the 1970s, very little of the old neighbourhood remained.

errard Village is another of Toronto’s lost neighbourhoods. Located within the broad borders of The Ward, it had boasted an identity quite distinct from the area to the south. This was Toronto’s Greenwich Village, a hub of bohemian activity through the 1950s and early 1960s.

Populated by intellectuals and artists, the area surrounding Gerrard and Bay streets featured coffee and books shops, live music venues, and cheap restaurants. It was just a tiny stretch of the city, much like Mirvish Village, but people like Pierre Berton considered it an “intriguing island in the heart of downtown Toronto.”

Written by Randy McDonald

January 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm