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Fun with the future

The announcement that Google/Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs has won the pitch to Waterfront Toronto leaves me cautiously optimistic. Maybe they can make something good happen. I hope so, and they’d better get a move on. We live not far from the action and I‘m not getting any younger.

Frankly, I have no idea who is going to pay for what, or how Alphabet is going to get a juicy return on its 50 million dollar contribution to the planning process, but I am already having fun reading the 196 page, illustrated presentation.

I love these Happy Talk fantasies. As the song goes, “If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?”

As you see, people of the future will evolve to become faceless, eliminating problems of privacy-invading surveillance and conveniently removing the need for controversial face-coverings.

The artist visionary foresees a new business, indicated by its sign; Community Coding. Sounds high tech, yet folksy/friendly, eh?

I see that bicycles will continue to get flat tires in the almost perfect future. Odd, too, that chalked blackboard sidewalk signs will still be in use. At least nobody has their face glued to a cellphone. Oh yeah … no faces. That’s why.

Driverless taxibots and sky-cabled gondolas will supplement relentless strolling, dog-walking and cycling. Streetcars will be ad-free and zippy water craft will cruise canals (when ice-free). Bombardier will make all of the vehicles, of course, and by this time, delivery schedules will be met routinely.

Suspense on Beach Hill

Ace reporter Danica returned from her Fairmount Park scoop (below) via Fairmount Crescent and sent me to photograph a local Halloween installation.

OK, I thought, when I saw the large, cable cob web. Danica’s right, someone has done a good job. I saw the spider.

Then my eye travelled up the cables, into the tree.

Oh, Mama!

That thing must be 6 feet across. Beautiful!

Fairmount Park: Phase One isn’t over yet

Danica was over at the community centre yesterday and was surprised to see a water pooling on the newly regraded playing field.

The puddle was still there today, but smaller, after a breezy, sunny day.

“Yup,” said a community centre employee. “Exactly where it always was.”

Phase One of the park improvement included “new drainage lines, irrigation, regrade”. The pipes are under the new sod.

Women in the Walls

Danica and I missed some of this mural activity while we were away at Anna’s wedding. It’s catch-up time.

Neighbour Marietta Fox said hello while I was snapping the massive mural up the side of Udupi Restaurant. She showed me to the next one, down the lane, behind Eulalie’s.

There are many more new ones for me to find … all done by women. Monica Wickeler is leader of the pack. She opens the Youtube video below.

Corley construction updates

Rob and Josh appear to be right on schedule, building their house on Corley. October was to be stucco month and there it is, going on. [Blog history]

The other place on the street I’ve been following is the one I call the Corley Half House. It’s been nearly two years since occupants of both sides of the semi-detached homes had to be evacuated. A basement-lowering mishap on the missing side necessitated complete removal of that side. The other side remains standing, but still empty.

At last, there is evidence of activity on the site. Cleaning up the foundation will be interesting. Shortly after the initial collapse, a crew was called in to pour 4 feet of concrete through the basement windows, to stabilize things before the compromised side was completely torn down. Workers said everything in the basement … furnace, appliances, etc., would be encased. Now, I guess it all has to be dug out … carefully.

HERE is almost there

Andrew Horne’s Zen message is shaping up nicely on the east wall of the Flying Pony. Those shadows really add punch.

He has a painted canvas version on display inside, for sale if it isn’t already taken.

Here’s the sign in an earlier state. I like watching how it develops, using traditional sign layout techniques, not projected enlargement.

October diversity in the Bazaar

Owners of the new Indian Rasoi restaurant in the Gerrard Street Bazaar deserve recognition. We expect an Indian restaurant to celebrate Diwali, but they give Halloween a nod, too.

I laughed when I walked past the trick photo in the Rasoi window. Sweet innocence from one angle, traditional tacky Halloween horror from another. Count Dracula also hangs from the storefront sign light.

For some Bazaar reason, there was a small Gerrard Street Diwali celebration on Saturday night, October 14. A bit early, isn’t it? Never mind. Halloweeners jump the gun by weeks.

Several enthusiastic Diwali dancers didn’t let light rain stop them. Here they are, around 9:00 p.m. in the blocked-off street in front of the Ashdale Library,