A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘queen street west

[PHOTO] On the half house at 54 1/2 St. Patrick Avenue

Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (1) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick

Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (2) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick

Half a house, 54 1/2 St.Patrick Street (3) #toronto #grangepark #stpatrickstreet #house #oddities #54stpatrick

The strikingly halved house at 54 1/2 St. Patrick Avenue, lone survivor of what was a stretch of row houses on this street north of Queen Street West and just a couple minutes’ walk west from University Avenue, has received international attention, from sites like Atlas Obscura and Amusing Planet. In April of 2013, blogTO’s Chris Bateman explained how this building came to be and just how it managed to survive.

The row of houses was built between 1890 and 1893 on what was first Dummer Street, then William Street, then, finally, St. Patrick Street. The names of the roads in this part of the city area have been shuffled more than most: St. Patrick Street used to refer to the stretch of road that’s now part of Dundas west of McCaul; McCaul used to be William Henry Street, then West William Street, for example.

For much of its past the street was blighted by poverty. Early photos show severe faces, crumbling wall cladding, and backyards strewn with detritus. More recently the area between University and Spadina has been home to a large Chinese community.

Starting in 1957, most of the block bound by Queen, McCaul, St. Patrick, and Dundas Street was purchased in pieces by Windlass Holdings Ltd., the company that developed the Village by the Grange, sometimes using aggressive tactics to secure land deeds.

The owner of 54 St. Patrick Street – once part of the original terrace – complained to the Toronto Star that the company’s actions were “an extreme example of blockbusting,” claiming he had received over 300 directives on his property in a single year.

Despite some resistance, the owners of the homes sold up at different times, and the row was pulled down in pieces like tooth extractions. The sole-survivor pictured here was once in the third house in the row from the south – the similar buildings next door are a later addition built on top of a laneway.

Instead, the company demolished its neighbour to the north with surgical precision, ensuring not even the woodwork on the facade of the hold-out building was disturbed. An internal supporting wall became a blank exterior when the house next door came down.

Also in 2013, Patty Winsa wrote in the Toronto Star about the house from the perspective of its current owner.

The 120-year-old residence at 54 ½ St. Patrick St. bears the scars of a development battle.

The Victorian row house was awkwardly severed from its neighbour in the 1970s when the owners refused to sell, and it lacks the symmetry of another side.

It is literally “half a house,” says its current owner, Albert Zikovitz, laughingly from his adjacent office in the Cottage Life Magazine building. “Everybody looks at it.”

The house is one of a few single-family homes left on the densely packed street near Queen and University. But Zikovitz, who purchased the house last year after the owner went into a retirement home, says he won’t tear it down.

“I love the house,” says Zikovitz, who is president of the magazine. Plans are in the works this year to restore the exterior of the building and turn the interior into office space.

Work was being done on the house when I passed by Tuesday evening. Here’s to hoping this anomaly survives: the reflexive double-take of passersby is fun.

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Written by Randy McDonald

September 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Five notes on real estate in a changing Toronto

  • blogTO notes that the former location of Pages on Queen Street West finally has a new tenant, a housewares store.
  • Margaret Atwood’s opposition to a Davenport Road condo development made headlines.
  • Christopher Hume in the Toronto Star makes the point that Toronto needs more midrise housing.
  • Global News reports the sad news that Toronto chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat has resigned.
  • Toronto Life describes how a lucky young couple in their 20s found an affordable apartment downtown, on Yonge, even!

[PHOTO] Three front windows of three West Queen West fashion stores

Toronto’s West Queen West, along Queen Street West to the west of Bathurst, is home to many small indie fashion stores. Late at night, the front windows of stores like Mericani (630A Queen Street West), WTFash (632 Queen Street West), and The Store on Queen (662 Queen Street West), look almost like art gallery displays.

West Queen West fashion (1) #toronto #queenstreetwest #westqueenwest #queerstreetwest #fashion

West Queen West fashion (2) #toronto #queenstreetwest #westqueenwest #queerstreetwest #fashion

West Queen West fashion (3)  #toronto #queenstreetwest #westqueenwest #queerstreetwest #fashion

Written by Randy McDonald

July 16, 2017 at 7:00 am

[PHOTO] Picasso on Richmond, 318 Richmond Street West, horizontal and vertical

Picasso on Richmond #toronto #architecture #condos #picassocondos #richmondstreet #entertainmentdistrict #queenstreetwest #picassoonrichmond #latergram

Picasso on Richmond #toronto #architecture #condos #picassocondos #richmondstreet #entertainmentdistrict #queenstreetwest #picassoonrichmond #latergram

Picasso on Richmond is an eye-catching tower in the heart of the Entertainment District, a 39-story condo tower with what Urban Toronto is right to note is a “decidedly edgy silhouette”, all different colours and shapes.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 14, 2017 at 8:00 am

[URBAN NOTE] Five links in Toronto, from Andrew Kinsman to West Queen West to Egerton Ryerson

  • With news that Toronto police is now treating the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman from his Cabbagetown a week ago as suspicious, the search for Kinsman is taking on new importance. Please, if you can help in any way, let Toronto police or his friends–anybody–know.
  • The Toronto Star‘s Hina Alam reports on the huge crush over the Canada Day weekend to see the World’s Largest Rubber Duck.
  • The Parkdale Villager‘s Hilary Caton reports on the push to make West Queen West a protected district.
  • The National Post shares the Canadian Press’ poll reporting on general anxiety, including among the well-off, on affordable housing in Canada.
  • The Globe and Mail‘s Kenny Sharpe writes about controversy at Ryerson University over the legacy of founder Egerton Ryerson.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Apostrophen’s ‘Nathan Smith talks about “cis”, “trans”, and the non-obvious meaning of this classification.
  • The Big Picture shares photos of a recent sailing festival in Boston.
  • blogTO reports on the trendy charcoal-black ice cream of a store across from Trinity Bellwoods.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of a “runaway fusion” drive.</li.
  • Crooked Timber wonders how a bad Brexit agreement could possibly be worse than no Brexit agreement for the United Kingdom.
  • D-Brief warns of the possibility of sustained life-threatening heat waves in the tropics with global warming.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers how sociology majors are prepared, or not, for the workforce.
  • Language Hat links to a wonderful examination of the textual complexities of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
  • The LRB Blog looks at how British big business is indebted to the Conservatives.
  • Marginal Revolution reports on China’s emergent pop music machine.
  • Steve Munro reports on the latest on noise from the 514 Cherry streetcar.
  • The NYRB Daily has a fascinating exchange on consciousness and free will and where it all lies.
  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on a successful expedition to Argentina to examine Kuiper Belt object MU69 via occultation.
  • Peter Rukavina celebrates Charlottetown school crossing guard Dana Doyle.

[URBAN NOTE] Four Toronto links, from streetcar costs to food trucks to sidewalks to Lake Ontario

  • Steve Munro looks at the complex issue of pricing the Queen streetcar. What are its competitors, for starters?
  • Laura Howells reports in the Toronto Star on how Toronto is starting to become packed with food trucks.
  • Alina Bykova reports how Queen West businesses are complaining of, in a novelty, protracted sidewalk construction.
  • Kenny Sharpe and Eric Atkins report in The Globe and Mail on the ongoing accelerated release of Lake Ontario water down the St. Lawrence. How is it going, I wonder?