Monday, September 20, 2010

Ford as Mayor... Failure as a result!

Well well well!

It took me a municipal election to get back to blogging here - and believe my words: if I AM talking politics, it's because it's bad... real real bad. I usually keep my opinions for myself and I despite conversations where the main topic is anything political.

But this is scary.
Rob Ford might (will) win and become mayor of Toronto. I don't have enough words to tell you why that would be terrible. Instead, I invite you to visit this site: I think the people behind this are showing here why we should be concerned!

And for those who are "on the big F", please subscribe to this group:

And at last, here's something you should consider to do NOW:

Please send the attached letter below, to the four leading Candidates telling them to drop out behind an alternative to Ford, for the sake of Toronto.

Then forward this email to 10 of your friends and family, so that they can do the same, and so on...

Usually I wouldn't initiate this type of action... but at present things aren't looking good for the rational side of the vote for the Toronto Mayoral election.

Rob Ford carries the far right vote, and so is leading by a sizable amount in the polls, leaving the rest split by the other viable candidates. These candidates have publicly maintained that they will not drop out before election day. As things stand, at least a couple would need to come an agreement, where by they would fall behind another candidate to Defeat Ford.

If you believe in the future and the potential of Toronto, then you probably realize that it is important that Rob Ford does NOT win this election.

For more info about the election and the Ford issue go to:

Candidate email addresses:
Rocco Rossi
George Smitherman
Joe Pantalone
Sarah Thomson

Send this letter, to the four leading Candidates telling them to drop out behind an alternative to Ford, for the sake of Toronto.
Dear Mr./Mrs. Candidate,

I would like to thank you for your public service and commitment to bettering the city of Toronto. It is good to see that Toronto has a number of competent viable candidates running in this mayoral election cycle, of which I consider you one.

Toronto is a very exciting, growing, multi-cultural city, known round the world for it's diversity, green initiatives and standard of living. It has incredibly vibrant communities, with an amazing array of restaurants, and festivals throughout the year. Toronto is home to events that are the envy of most cities, The Toronto Film Festival, Caribana, and Pride are world showcase events for their respective communities, and demonstrate the openness, inclusiveness, and optimism that has become synonymous with living in this great city.

Can Toronto be improved? Yes, and great strides have already been made in developing the downtown core, and connecting it with the waterfront. This city has so much potential, and has the promise to become even better over the next decade.

Yet there seems to be a rather large problem. At the moment, standing in the way of Toronto and the fulfillment of it's promise, is Rob Ford. As I'm sure you agree, Rob Ford is completely unsuited and unqualified to lead a diverse city like Toronto, with all it's challenges and the need for innovation and vision, with clear policy ideas that would help the city grow.

As polling day approaches, consider the consequences of Rob Ford winning the Mayoral Race. It would be a catastrophe for Toronto! As we well know, he currently leads in the polls, however yourself and the other leading candidates have it within your power to change the situation.

So it is with the greatest respect, that I implore you to privately reach out to the other leading candidates to work together and come to an agreement, to swing behind and support a chosen candidate if the situation warrants it, for the good of your city.

Thank you very much for your time,


Your Name


It is difficult to over estimate the importance of you taking the time to send the letters and forward this email. Thank you so much for your time and effort.

Monday, August 23, 2010

In Style at Campbell House, 1833

Wow... Long time no see - or in this case: Long time no posts!
I am the worst blogger in the world right now, I know. This is the first message I am writting since February... Brutal and somehow rude if you were trying to follow me. What can I say - I AM SORRY! :)

Just so you all know I have good reasons. I have a new museum job that takes most of my days AND I've been working with Campbell House here in Toronto for this event:

A Unique Historical Re-enactment at the museum, August 28—29

Imagine … It’s 1833 and political conflict is simmering across the country. Doctor Narcisse Chenevert and his apprentice (fictional characters) are requested at Campbell House. The health of retired Judge William Campbell is at its worst and this could be their last chance to visit their friend in the Town of York. The guests of Judge Campbell arrive at his elegant home in York, having travelled from Montreal, for many days, by steamboat on the St Lawrence River and on Lake Ontario.

On the weekend of August 28—29, Campbell House Museum invites you to meet Doctor Narcisse and his entourage. These time travellers are from an era when social classes were well defined and there was a polished code of etiquette between men and women. The hours will pass by at an early-nineteenth-century pace at Campbell House, as the travelers engage in leisure activities. Judge Campbell’s visitors will play games and cards, write letters, and read to each other. Dr Narcisse, in his silk dressing gown, will sip tea and make a herbarium. Meanwhile, the cook will prepare meals over the fire in the open hearth kitchen downstairs. Stay as long as you like to watch these characters interact and to listen to their conversations.

This historical re-enactment will be performed by the Time Nomads Society, an association based in Montreal, whose mission is to accurately represent the past. Through a form of experimental ethnology, the Time Nomads Society produces a sensitive impression of the lives of early Canadians and an insightful interpretation of their practices and customs.
Campbell House, built in 1822, is the oldest remaining home from the Town of York.


Campbell House Museum, 160 Queen Street West, Toronto M5H 3H3 (northwest corner of Queen and University, at Osgoode Subway Station) 416 597-0227

Extended Open Hours

For the Time Nomads re-enactment, Campbell House Museum will be open: Saturday, August 28, 11 am—9 pm and Sunday, August 29, 10 am—3:30 pm (re-enactment ends; museum open to 4:30 pm)

Admission: Pay What You Can (this weekend only)

Media contacts

Eric Pellerin, Coordinator, Time Nomads Society: 416 879.7913

Liz Driver, Director/Curator, Campbell House Museum: 416 597-0227 ext. 3

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bye Bye Big Bop!

(When reading this Post title, you should sing "Bye Bye Birdie" in your head)

Remember last year in January when I was talking about the Corner at Queen & Bathurst? Well, things are going to change there in the next couple months!

Seams like the Big Bop is now ancient history. Yes, it is now closed... and the Toronto's heavy music scene landmark is now gone (e.i. not the building, just the institution!). All these squeejees and "rich kids from Forest Hill who pretend to be anarchists" will have to go somewhere else. Where? Well, I dunno - you probably guessed by now that this is not my scene. Sorry folks.

But I do feel sad that the Queen St gentrification is pushing away some interesting aspects of this city urban life. At the end of the day, a large cosmopolitain city is not one without its diversity. Some people out there might even remember when the cool Queen & Spadina corner was only porn shops and filth. This wave of "pretty-clean-yuppy-people" is now reaching Bathurst. Sad reality.

But there is some positive aspects in gentrification! For exemple, the new owner of the Big Bop building cannot knock down the building (classified historic for this section of Queen Street). So they have to shed 3 millions $$$ into it. Not bad at all in my book! And wait, they are talking about it being the new Crate & Barel CB2 Store?!?!?!?!? Who am I to say it's wrong! Shopping for house outlet and furnitures? Count me in!

Perhaps they will rebuilt the 3rd mansard floor??? Like on this picture from 1928!!!

Trust me to keep an eye on that one!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Don Jail, the construction site....

Don Jail
Originally uploaded by gorbould
So the work began on the Don Jail. A house was moved last summer (to make way for a wonderful temporary (I hope!) parking lot, while right in front of the jail facade, a crew started digging the dirt...

I passed in front of it last week and back then I wondered: is there anyone carrying about what they might dig out?!?!?!? After all, the land in front of the jail was not moved for a very long time.... One angry archeologist in the crowd, anyone???? For some obvious reasons, it made me think of the novel "Consolation" - a must read by the way if you live in Toronto!

To make me feel better about the entire thing, I decided to read the Bridgepoint planning for the jail once again. Some good things....

- Consume less energy;
- Use 20 per cent less potable water;
- Use storm-water runoff from the roof for landscape irrigation;
- Maximize the use of natural light; and,
- Divert at least 75 per cent of construction waste away from landfill
by recycling or salvaging construction materials.

But then the report made me angry for using this sentence:

"The main entrance will be publicly accessible, the Rotunda will be restored to its original beauty, and some cells and the gallows will be preserved for historical purposes."

I mean WOW, really? Preserved for historical purposes!?!?!? The ENTIRE THING should be preserved for "historical purposes"!!! Oh and P.S. When do you think they will tear down the 2 remaining houses "in the way" on their land??

Saturday, November 14, 2009


What is it with Toronto and tall tower projects?
Why this city is sooo thristy for high structures?

Ok. There is the fact that it's a "big city", with a lot of people living in it per square meters. I get that - tall projects can "parked" more people within the boundaries of the GTA. But do we want "this" at any price? Do we need to build "whatever" as long as it's tall and profitable? And why it seams like there is no vision, no urban planning behind all this tall-tower-mania?

Take the project at 2055-2057 Danforth Avenue. A lovely panel is telling us right now that they are trying to change the by-law application for this zone to build a 12-14 storey multi-something there. That portion of our city allows 5 storeys right now. 5 storeys.... Isn't that zoning there for something?

See, I may be a purist in terms of urban planning, but I like when streets are forming a nice visual ensemble. You know - when it looks good all together. What I don't like is when there is a giant thing in the middle of dwarfed buildings. It's just that it look.... well... It's ugly, that's what.

Call me negative and against the futur if you want. but there is nobody that will convince me that these projects were successful in that genre:

- St-James Town
- Most of Jarvis Street...
- Main Square Towers
- The towers at Gerrard East and River Street
- Victoria Park
... and many other ones.

If only they were pretty. If only that.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Playter Farmhouse

Take the house of an old family of Toronto settlers (the Playters - famously known for being successful dairy farmers and what's not), put it into one of the best 'hood in town (Playter Estate, right there in the Greek/Danforth area), what do you get????

Well, first you get a very impressive historical house. Nice enough to get "the plaque treatment and all. This red-brick, rectangular house, sitting at 28 Playter Cres is decorated with a white brick pattern. A "grande dame" who was built in the mid 1870's by John Lea Playter.

You can't really miss it right now... It's under a masive reno.

Actually, at this point I will call this an overhaul. I don't know who is the owner(s), but they have a vision, that's for sure. But is it the right one? Restaurating an historical structure is very noble, but changing it into a massive multi-something? Is that keeping the spirit of the place?

When you look at it from the front, not much has changed. They bricked the gables on the roof, but the house still has the same proportions. It's when you look on the sides that you discover this:

It's like if 2 houses were growing back there! Call me a purist if you want, but what is the point exactly? My first guest is to split it into many households. I see $$$ here. Very mad to see this "protected house" going down this route (thanks again Toronto to have such an eye for heritage). And I am not the only one to think so: while taking the above pictures a cyclist stopped to tell me how sad he is that they are doing that to the house.

Sadness... And nostalgia when you compare the now with the then, before the early 1900's alterations.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Yes or No to a Bloor-Yonge Square?

Well, once again, another condo project that won't make it in Toronto. This time, it's the "fabulous" 80-storey deluxe project at the corner of Yonge and Bloor.... Buyers must be furious, people were in a crazy line-up to get their spot in that building...

But now that the entire block is demolished and that the tower won't happen, we have a problem: a big empty space in the middle of an incredible transit hub. Hum... empty space... in the heart of a growing city.... what should we do....

A PUBLIC SQUARE, isn't it the right answer?

Some people think so, and we are starting to hear them out there. Their message is clear: give Toronto a brand new showpiece-square. Cause let's be honest here: it's an opportunity of a lifetime! 

And I think the good people of Toronto deserve and desire a brand new square in their city!

If you are interested, there is a Facebook page called Bloor Yonge Square.
Also, there is a blog to inform the public.