A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘restaurants

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Niagara Falls, Brantford, Regina, Tofino, Port Moody

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  • Why are the falls at Niagara Falls so famously compelling, even lethally seductive for some? Some human brains might be confused by the immensity. The National Post reports.
  • The extent of the flooding in Brantford, inland from Hamilton on the Grand River, is shocking. The Toronto Star reports.
  • The Saskatchewan capital city of Regina turns out to be the McDonald’s breakfast capital of Canada. Global News reports.
  • This essay in The Globe and Mail by Greg Blanchette looking at the rental housing crunch in the small Vancouver Island town of Tofino describes what’s frankly a terrifying situation.
  • If not for the fact that the CP Railway owned no property locally, the Vancouver suburb of Port Moody could well have become Canada’s biggest west coast metropolis. Global News reports.

[URBAN NOTE] Six city links: California, Toronto, Vancouver, Saint John, LA, NYC, Philadelphia

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  • Wired notes a bill proposed at the state level in California to force cities to provide affordable and accessible housing through non-NIMBY zoning.
  • The Toronto and Vancouver housing markets, perhaps uniquely among the markets of Canada’s major cities, are not seeing as much new supply as others. The Globe and Mail reports.
  • The population of Saint John, New Brunswick, has fallen by a quarter since 1971. The city government wants to change this, somehow. Global News notes.
  • VICE reports a new census of homelessness in Los Angeles, amid fears of locals that prior estimates might be undercounts.
  • The mystery of what happened to Princess Pamela, a famous soul food cook whose Harlem restaurant was famous to those in the know, is explored in this thought-provoking essay.
  • At Slate, Annie Risemberg explores how old connections to Liberia and ethnic restaurants helped a corner of southwestern Philadelphia become “Little Africa”, a destination of note for West African immigrants.

[URBAN NOTE] On the end of Coffee Time at Dupont and Lansdowne and Toronto gentrification

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I’ve lived five minutes’ walk from the Coffee Time restaurant at 1005 Lansdowne Avenue, on the northeastern corner of Lansdowne and Dupont, for more than a decade, but I would be surprised if I went there as many as a half-dozen times. It never happened to be on any of my corridors, for TTC buses or for walking, and if I really wanted to go out for coffee locally then the McDonald’s at Dupont and Dufferin would have been much closer.

The location’s reputation may, perhaps, have entered my thinking. The restaurant’s lone reviewer at Yelp back in July rated it only one star, noting that the crowd hanging out here, in a traditionally poor neighbourhood of Wallace Emerson close to apartment towers once linked to crime including drugs and prositution, is “interesting.” See, also, the passing mentions in archived discussion threads here and here.

Coffee Time, Dupont and Lansdowne #toronto #wallaceemerson #dupontstreet #lansdowneave #coffeetime

As I noted when I blogged about it back in July of 2017, this Coffee Time’s location was limited. The transformation of the neighbourhood into one populated by tall condos and relatively affordable rentals is ongoing, and substantial: the towers at St. Clarens are no longer the only towers in the area. Approaching from the east, along Dupont from the direction of Dufferin, the Coffee Time stands right in front of a Food Basics grocery store that plays an outsized role in this transforming neighbourhood’s mythology.

Coffee Time by the towers (and Food Basics) #toronto #dupontstreet #wallaceemerson #coffeetime #foodbasics #condos #towers

This Food Basics is location is anchor store for the Fuse Condos development, on the northwest of Dupont and Lansdowne. This new grocery store opening was welcome by some, who saw no reason this store could not co-exist with the FreshCo in the Galleria Mall just a few minutes east at Dupont and Dufferin. To some, this was a betrayal: Fuse Condos had produced a Metro grocery store, a higher-end grocery store with more selection, and some buyers were quite upset. There was even a petition calling for a Metro.

All this was satirized in The Beaverton, and aptly analyzed in the Toronto Star by Edward Keenan. Keenan pointed out that this behaviour was wildly out of place given the decidedly working-class nature of Wallace Emerson. Food Basics, obviously, got installed regardless.

The Coffee Time, though, is now closed. I learned of this from a post at blogTO on Thursday, a post that made use of the first photo I posted above. I walked by Saturday morning in the light of day, and I saw the doors closed, signs thanking customers for their patronage, chairs on tables ready for movers, and someone working at packing away the equipment behind the counter and below the emptied menu display.

Coffee time, closed (1) #toronto #coffeetime #wallaceemerson #dupontstreet #lansdowneave #closed

Coffee Time, closed (8) #toronto #coffeetime #wallaceemerson #dupontstreet #lansdowneave #window #closed

Coffee Time, closed (7) #toronto #coffeetime #wallaceemerson #dupontstreet #lansdowneave #window #reflection #closed

Chelsea Lofts, on the southeast corner of Dupont and Lansdowne, is visible reflected in the Coffee Time window in the last photograph above.

This Coffee Time was far from being an undiscovered gem in the rough in west-end Toronto. It was utilitarian, catering competently to its working- and lower-class demographic in what had been until a bit more than a decade ago a consistently relatively poor area of Toronto. It’s gone. What will happen to its clientele? It may never have been very busy, but there were consistently people there, making use of a relatively affordable restaurant in their community as a meeting space. Where will these people go now?
(The r/toronto thread considers the possibility of a migration down Lansdowne towards Bloor.) There was a public-access computer available for use, presumably for people who lacked home Internet. What will the people who used this computer do now?

I don’t doubt, myself, that there is going to be condo construction on the emptied site on the northeast corner of Dupont and Lansdowne, just as there has been on every other corner there. Nothing has been filed yet, blogTO reported, but that’s only a matter of time. Dupont and Lansdowne is the hub of a rising neighbourhood, blocks and towers reaching into the sky, and all the space that can be freed up for further density in this portion of midtown Toronto so close to downtown Toronto is desperately needed. Wallace Emerson will transition towards a new equilibrium, one where–among other things–the coffee shops will have a rather nicer ambiance.

I am fine with all of this. It’s just that I think a place that has been a landmark in the area where I’ve lived, and that has been a reasonably prominent features for innumerable tens of thousands of people, deserves some commemoration. The Coffee Time at Dupont and Lansdowne was here, was open, was recognizable, and served its purpose. What better can be said of any public space than that? (I just gave it three stars on Yelp!. That seems fair.)

[PHOTO] Matzo ball soup, Emphasis, Brooklyn

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The matzo ball soup of Bay Ridge’s Emphasis diner (6822 4th Avenue) is strongly recommended.

Matzo ball soup #newyorkcity #newyork #brooklyn #bayridge #emphasis #matzoballsoup #latergram

Written by Randy McDonald

February 4, 2018 at 11:45 am

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Daniel Rotsztain, Coffee Time, museums, King Street, Medieval Times

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  • Metro Toronto reports on the efforts of Daniel Rotsztain to explore Toronto through overnight Airbnb stays in different neighbourhoods.
  • blogTO reports that the famous (infamous?) Coffee Time at Dupont and Lansdowne has closed down! More tomorrow, I think.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art on Sterling Road, in the Junction, is scheduled for a May 26 opening. NOW Toronto reports.
  • Apparently some people are protesting the King Street transit project by playing street hockey in front of the streetcars. blogTO reports.
  • Global News notes that Medieval Times, the Toronto theme restaurant, is going to have a ruling queen this year instead of a king.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Skandaraj Navaratnam, Yonge Street, K-Pop, King Street, Kazenelson

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  • This Fatima Syed interview with Navaseelan Navaratnam, brother of suspected McArthur victim Skandaraj Navaratnam missing since 2010, is terribly sad. The Toronto Star has it.
  • While it may be too late for Eliot’s Bookshop, I do hope that Toronto City Council can arrange some kind of functional tax arrangement for the businesses which survive on Yonge. The Toronto Star reports.
  • blogTO notes how a stray tweet from Toronto Hits 93 started an Internet flamewar between fans of two different K-Pop boy bands.
  • Ben Spurr notes how some transit advocates have decided to help out King Street by eating at area restaurants, over</u at the Toronto Star.
  • Global News reports on how the Ontario Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of Vadim Kazenelson on charges of criminal negligence stemming from an incident where four workers he was supervising died in a scaffolding collapse.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Charlie Stross at Antipope tells us how bizarre he finds reality, in its content and in its delivery. Certainly, it undermines for him the utility of the storytelling methods he first used.
  • Centauri Dreams notes a new effort to separate superjovian planets from brown dwarfs, suggesting the dividing line between planetary and stellar formation is drawn at 10 Jupiter masses.
  • Dangerous Minds praises St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, as a brilliant musician and live performer who should be seen on her most recent tour.
  • Hornet Stories talks about the way out queer male pop musicians, like Casey Spooner and Frank Ocean, are becoming more out about their sexuality and their forthright self-presentation in ways traditionally limited to use by women.
  • JSTOR Daily suggests that, in Indonesia, post-Suharto trade liberalization has led to a direct surge in men smoking cigarettes.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money links to an article suggesting how the 19th century American perception of China as a trade partner was driven by a romanticism.
  • Washington D.C., Marginal Revolution reports, stands out as a city where economists far outnumber clerics.
  • Roads and Kingdoms considers the difficulty of being a vegetarian or vegan in the Nigerian metropolis of Lagos.
  • Drew Rowsome praises Liminal, the new biography by Toronto playwright and general creator Jordan Tannahill.
  • At Strange Maps, Frank Jacobs shares an infographic illustrating the various investments and projects of Elon Musk.
  • Towleroad links to a trailer for the new version of classic gay play Boys in the Band, starring out stars. This is going to be an interesting show, I think, especially as it is updated (and as it might not need updating).
  • Window on Eurasia notes the deep hostility of some Russians to the permanent settlement of immigrants–Central Asians here, also Chinese–in rural Russia, in the iconic village. I have to saying, knowing what I know about PEI, this sounds a bit familiar.