Doesn’t sound right to me

Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s CEO Jeff Melanson says that upper management has decided not to let acclaimed concert pianist Valentina Lisitsa play two scheduled performances because of political statements she has been making about the conflict in Ukraine.

Couldn’t TSO management use its freedom of speech to publicly refute Lisitsa’s political views rather than take away her opportunity to perform?

Mini Metropolitan Mashup

A view of the escalators in a building at Yonge and Dundas brought back a memory of Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi classic Metropolis. To show you why, I tried something with an app called ScreenFlow.

My Toronto escalators fit in quite well, don’t they? I uploaded the video for embedding here using a service that’s new to me … Wistia. A free account lets you upload 50 videos. Pretty slick compared with Vimeo and Youtube.

Royko would have loved this company name

My late, great business partner Paul Royko heartily enjoyed the rare modesty he saw in an East End sign. Adequate Electric. Having worked for decades in ad agency creative departments, he was used to puffy superlatives. Who bills their work as “adequate”?

I remembered this today when I came across Toronto’s C Plus Roofing company. Royko would have smiled.


I happened upon the C Plus name while searching for information on a neighbourhood scourge who plasters unlawful signs everywhere. I was pleased to find Dubbins Discount Roofing has a review rating of ZERO.

Danica and I managed to peel one of Dubbins’ gaudy yellow eyesores from a hydro pole today and I have been able to remove at least a couple of his coroplast signs, nailed high on telephone poles. I hope the city is fining him. His phone number is right on the signs, so he’s easy to track down.

Infill skyscapers coming?

There is one isolated super tower standing at Yonge and Gerrard in downtown Toronto. It is so tall that, from the city’s east side, I was sure it must be on our side of the Don River. No, it was farther away, just much bigger than I expected.


As you see, the Aura Condominium Complex leaves a large gap of sky space between itself and the bank towers to the south. My guess is that the gap will eventually be filled in with similarly tall buildings … perhaps not quite as tall, but close.

Further up Yonge, at Bloor, another condo super tower is already well along in construction. It is to acquire a super neighbour across the street, where Stollery’s is being demolished. That will create another gap in the Yonge Street sky space, between Aura and the Bloor/Younge towers. Surely that will be filled in, too.

Far to the north, Yonge and Eglinton appears as the next centre of skyscrapers. Mount Pleasant Cemetery will prevent infill building on one side of Yonge but the other side might be another story. (See how I didn’t make a pun there?) Anyway, there may come a time when Yonge Street, already the world’s longest street, also becomes it’s tallest.

Pape Avenue had its glory days

Yesterday, Danica and I spotted a grand old home we had not noticed before.


If the plaque is hard to read, here are the highlights. The home was built for an English emigrant butcher named Harris who, in 1861, founded the Harris Abattoir Company, eventually to become Canada Packers. He called it Cranfield House after the ancestral village of his wife Caroline.

The house was built in 1902 by architect Henry Simpson. In 1930, the family turned the place over the the Salvation Army which used it as a social aid centre for the next 75 years.

Cranfield House appears to be unoccupied now. It could use some TLC and a bit of landscaping. Located at 450 Pape Avenue, it’s still a fine old building and a somewhat eccentric mix of styles … Flemish gables and tall chimneys in the Queen Anne Revival style with Edwardian Classical porches and windows.

2015, the new waterfront begins to shine


Danica and I just attended a 2-hour status report on the revitalization plans and projects being managed and executed by Waterfront Toronto. We are impressed and happy. In fact, we already enjoy the many improvements that been completed. It’s a bicycle ride away from our place in the Spring, Summer and Fall.

The project will continue for many years because it’s one of the largest undertakings of its kind in the world. It dwarfs the more famous Canary Wharf development in London and features urban designs by top international talent. Here’s a small taste:

Not only are the park spaces huge, shoreline accesses excellent and transportation options convenient, the landscape is being transformed to offer flood control, reclamation of soil, windbreaking street configurations and buildings angled to maximize sunlight exposure.  34,000 trees will eventually be planted, their roots protected from compaction so that they can grow for 70 years. (Today’s city trees down there survive for 6 or 7 years.)

It’s probably not what city officials want to hear, but I can hardly wait until the Pan Am Games are over this summer. We will reclaim access to huge new areas, streets and vistas, once the Athlete’s Village reverts to public use. It already look promising, inviting and very well-conceived.

We have had so many lows of late, here in Toronto, it is refreshing to see the way Waterfront Toronto is delivering intelligently-managed results that will benefit all of us. Queen’s Quay will be something to enjoy and something to be proud of.