Partly good planning, partly good luck, Toronto’s downtown core benefits from major areas devoted to higher education.
I looked into the big, new entrance to Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre on Yonge Street the other day. “Levels, Jerry … levels,” I thought, recalling the Seinfeld episode when Kramer was redesigning his apartment. The Ryerson lobby is a big gathering place lined with step-like rows of seating made of wood. Great for everyday hanging out … maybe for rallies and student protests, too, when needed. A Starbucks over on one side sells rocket fuel.
The new building adds life to Yonge Street … a worthy replacement for the venerable Sam the Record Man store.
Down on Queen’s Quay, a George Brown campus was deliberately located at the water’s edge, assuring human presence there throughout the blustery winter months. And of course, there’s the huge University of Toronto campus, right in the downtown core, offering not only its marvellous old stone buildings but lots of green space and big, shady trees.
These assets do as much to civilize our city centre as anything else. I’m very glad they are there.