Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

The NY Times Does Toronto

2009 May 18

In yesterday’s Sunday edition of the New York Times, an article appeared fawning over the city of Toronto.

The featured journalist, Danny Lee, makes a few suspect claims (streetcars trolleys run like clockwork??), and he seems to be so enamoured with the West End (West Queen West/College/Ossington) that almost all his recommendations take you there.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty glowing review of our beloved city.  The only thing is, who is reading this?  I might guess that most people reading the Sunday NY Times would be more interested in cocktails in Yorkville than at Sweaty Betty’s.  But I digress.

What it all comes down to is that TZero is actually a great, interesting, diverse city that can be an attractive destination for people even from one of the greatest, most interesting and most diverse cities in the whole world.

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Stereoscopic

2009 February 26

Way back in October, as part of Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Toronto City Hall was turned into Steroscope by the German group Project Blinkenlights.

This was pretty much the coolest part of the entire Nuit Blanche.  In fact, the installation ran for a while following the contemporary art event and I got to take in the ever-changing kaleidoscope on my way home from work each evening.

Anyway, I’m just wondering why Toronto doesn’t make this a permanent thing.  City Hall is already one of the coolest pieces of architecture in Toronto; however, if this was on display every night, it would become the most iconic monument in TZero.

It was probably mad expensive to run.

A Crystal Ship Drifting Through The City

2008 November 24

I read an article this morning in the Toronto Star’s Opinion section about culture growth in the city, and more specifically praising the transformed Art Gallery of Ontario.

Also, for its re-opening last weekend, a glowing architecture review of the AGO appeared on the front page of the Arts section of the NY Times.  Nicolai Ouroussoff calls it “a masterful example of how to breathe emotional life into a staid old structure,” and continues that “as you watch the figures jostling outside and then turn to the sculptures, urban life and art seem in perfect balance.”

Everyone seems to love the new AGO!

The above photo is from the NY Times website.

Back in the Big Smoke!

2008 November 2

I was out of the country for a few months.  Then I was ultra-busy with my job for a while.  But now I’m back!  And I obviously have lots of things on which I want to make commentary.

Some of the stuff that has changed since I left:

1. The AGO has an opening date – November 14! – although if you drive by its Dundas Street location, it looks as if they’ll need an army of people working around the clock to have it ready for the public in 2 weeks.

2. The U of T football team actually won a game! (2 in fact, whodathunkit?)  In beating the Waterloo Warriors on September 1, 2008 (and subsequently, beating the York Lions on September 13) the Varsity Blues broke a 49-game (and nearly 7 YEAR!) losing streak.  Good for you, Blues, good for you.

3. The stock market plummeted.  A (figurative) rain cloud hovers above the Bay Street financial district.

Some of the stuff that has NOT changed since I last wrote:

1. The Bay begins decorating for the Christmas season about 2 weeks prior to Halloween.

2. The Trump International Hotel & Tower is still just a big pit in the ground.

3. The Toronto Maple Leafs (despite being the most valuable NHL francise, according to Forbes Magazine) still suck.

I sure am glad to be back in Tzero!

Quote of the Day

2008 May 11

“It’s called SkyDome.”

– one of the 100 Blue Jays fans asked by Toronto Life magazine ( June ’08 ) what the Rogers Centre has that is comparable to Fenway’s Green Monster or Wrigley’s ivy.

Next time I go to a Jays game, I’m taking a poster with this quote on it. By the way, I was on the JumboTron last monday!

Tennis in a Land Far, Far Away

2007 August 18

Yesterday my roommate and I ventured up to York University to attend the Rogers Cup WTA tennis tournament. The tennis was amazing, but we couldn’t help but question not only why York University is home to this tournament (being so far away from downtown), but also why York is where it is at all. It took us over an hour to get there via public transportation including 3 transfers and a long walk. We watched the quarter final matches and the Rexall Centre was largely empty – surely more people would attend if it was more accessible. Why didn’t they build the National Tennis Centre somewhere that’s at least on the subway line?

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Here’s an article from Sports Venue Technology (a website devoted to the sports venue industry) that discusses the inception of the Rexall Centre and Canada’s National Tennis Centre.

Art Gallery of Ontario Reno

2007 July 18

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Much has been said recently about the “cultural revolution” sweeping through Toronto these days.  Basically what it comes down to is the fact that both the ROM and the AGO were being renovated this summer.  I’m not sure if that qualifies as a revolution, but they are two pretty prominent cultural landmarks in the city.  The new Michael Lee Chin Crystal at the ROM is pretty outstanding, at least from the outside.  The usefulness of the space within is another story.  They should have just made the whole thing an open space and had a really lavish entryway like Pei’s Pyramid at the Louvre in Paris.  Regarding the Art Gallery of Ontario, the design is being done by none other than Toronto native and international architectural legend, Frank Gehry – best known for designing the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and other weird important buildings around the world.  Apparently, Gehry’s original idea was much more lavish and expansive, but was scaled down because of complaints from people in the surrounding neighbourhood.  Personally, I think it looks like a new Costco is going up with a skeleton-like structure slapped on the front.  The good thing about this project, however, (as well as what makes it distinct from the ROM) is that Gehry’s design process begins with a building program, which is a list of the functional requirements of a building.  At least this space will be useful.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the glass + wood sculpture gallery and the box-like contemporary arts gallery clad in blue titanium will be “revolutionary.”  Check out some pictures I took while snooping around the construction site:

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