Posts Tagged ‘changes’

Is there anyone who doesn’t complain about driving in Toronto?
Does anyone have a solution that we can all agree on?
No.

Yesterday Toronto began an experiment on King Street. An experiment that CBC called a disaster on its first day.   This morning I went to check it out for myself.  It was mid-morning so there weren’t many cars.   Also, weekday drivers and Sunday drivers downtown are different.  On weekdays it’s the regulars who know the roads because they drive them all the time.   Does that make a difference? – I’m not sure.

below: At most intersections between Bathurst and Jarvis, traffic is not allowed to proceed straight through – you must turn right.  Streetcars and bicycles are the exceptions.  The traffic signals now have advanced green arrows to allow cars to turn right before the pedestrians cross the road.    Taxis are allowed to go through only between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.   You’ll notice that the left hand land has been painted with yellow stripes, i.e. no cars here!

white arrow painted on road directing traffic to turn right

below: Two more changes have appeared. First, the streetcar stops have been moved to after the intersection instead of before. Second, small barricades block the right hand lane after the intersection. These two changes have the effect of blocking cars who try to sneak through on King Street. If there is a streetcar, you’re stuck behind it. I did see a car try to pass a streetcar (on the left) but it was unsuccessful.

streetcar stopped to let on passengers, cars behind it on the street

Many cars were disobeying the new traffic signs, some out of confusion  and some blatantly flaunting the rules.   Cars would pull into the right turn lane but then go through the light anyhow.

below: I wasn’t the only ones watching the traffic.  Global TV was at King and Jarvis while CTV were stationed at King and Church.

Global TV car and truck parked on King street, street car about to pass them

below: CBC interviews people at King & Yonge as a black GMC goes through the intersection.

CBC reporter interviewing people on the sidewalk, traffic on King sreet, a black SUV making an illegal straight through the intersection,

below: The lighter traffic makes for easier illegal left turns!

a black car makes an illegal left turn at King and Church streets

below: Taking pictures of drivers doing illegal things was like shooting fish in a barrel. There were a couple of police cars around but so far there are few consequences to doing what you want. It’s early days yet, right? Apparently starting next week, the fine for illegally going straight through the intersection will be $100 and 2 demerit points.

traffic and street cars on King Street

I have one suggestion and that is to change the traffic lights so that the only green is a right turn arrow. The streetcars would have their own light – something like the ‘white line light’ that is used at King and Sumach as well as at Eglinton and Duplex. Having an ordinary green light is almost giving mixed signals to the drivers.

below:  Hey!  Mr. Bentley watch where you’re going!

two cars waiting for a red light. a white car and a grey Bentley, pedestrians crossing the intersection in front of them.

Take care out there!

First I heard a rumour that the Art Gallery of Ontario was going to remove that sculpture from the corner of Dundas & McCaul, you know, the one that everyone climbs on and takes their picture with, the one near the AGO entrance.

Then I read about in a newspaper.

You know, that curvy bulky slippery thing by Henry Moore, the one with a title that’s almost as shapeless as the sculpture, “Large Two Forms” although no one calls it that.   Oh, what do they call it anyhow?

Then I read about it online.

people are walking on the sidewalk, a woman is sitting by a sculpture by Henry Moore, the Art Gallery Of Ontario is beside the sculpture, street and other buildings in the background, street scene,

It’s sat on that corner since 1974.  That’s 42 years.  Longer than the average Torontonian has been alive.
Can you say synonymous? …. as in synonymous with the corner of Dundas and McCaul.

Apparently it’s going to be moved to Grange Park.  That’s the park behind the AGO, the one that is being renovated.

The expression “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” comes to mind.
How about new public art for a renewal of the park?

fence around a construction site, a park that is being renovated

fence around a construction site, a park that is being renovated, the blue wall of the Art Gallery of Ontario is in the background.

But walking the site and looking at the plans made me start to think.  The sculpture is being moved into its own space in the park and as I looked at the drawings and the artist rendition of the future space, it dawned on me that the redesign of Grange Park was possibly (probably?) done specifically to accommodate the sculpture.  The Art Gallery owns Grange Park after all.  Toronto does a lousy job of placement of their public art so maybe I shouldn’t complain about this?

Maybe.

As I tried to take photos of the sculpture where it is, I was reminded of how the streetscape in Toronto gets short shrift.

blog_art_gallery_corner

Henry Moore competes with old poles as well as bus shelters that are designed to maximize Astral Media ads.  At least there isn’t a ghastly trash bin beside the sculpture.  And at least the art is solid enough and strong enough to hold its own.

But this is going to be a problem for any artwork that gets put on that corner.
Oh dear, assuming that something will replace Henry Moore?

Don’t mess it up even more AGO, don’t leave the corner empty.
We have more of a cultural memory than you give us credit for.

The eastern end of the Kay Gardner Belt Line Park crosses over Yonge St and the subway just south of Davisville station.  It then runs across the north side of Mt. Pleasant cemetery.  It comes to an end at Mt. Pleasant Road where the trail merges into the roads that run through the cemetery.

In 2014 students from Greenwood School painted a mural at this location.  The mural has three main elements.  A train to represent the Belt Line, the name of the community that it is located in (Mt Pleasant Village), and the words ‘use Dominion Coal and Wood’.    The last part is because not long ago, on this site, stood the large concrete silos that the Dominion Coal and Wood company used to store coal and wood.   The shape of the black background is very similar to the shape of the silos if viewed from above.

below: Mural, with Mt. Pleasant Road above it.

blog_domiion_mural_greenwood

mural celebrating mt pleasant village and the old dominion coal and wood silos that used to be at that location. At the end of the belt line trail where it merges into mt pleasant cemetery

below: Plaque located on the site of the old silos (now in the bushes beside a condo)

City of Toronto historical plaque describing the history of the Dominion Coal and Wood silos that used to be on Mt. Pleasant Ave near the old Belt Line Railway tracks.

transcription of the Heritage Toronto plaque:

“Dominion Coal and Wood

Originally located on Danforth Avenue, the Dominion Coal and Wood Company was founded in 1912 by William H. Smith.  In 1929, the company opened a landmark facility on this site.  Its nine adjoining concrete silos were designed by E.P. Muntz Engineering Company.  Coal and wood were transported here by rail car along the former Belt Line Railway and then sold as heating fuel to local businesses and home owners.

Originally just one among many similar suppliers in the city, Dominion Coal and Wood outlasted most of its competitors.  The company expanded into building supplies as coal sales dwindled, but continued to sell coal here until the site was closed in 1999.  Although recognized as an increasingly rare type of industrial architecture, the historic silos were demolished in 2001. “

 

below: The nine silos, about 1972.  The photo is from City of Toronto Archives and was found online at JB’s Warehouse (a good source if you are interested in more information at Dominion Coal and Wood)

picture of the Dominion Coal and Wood silos on Mt. Pleasant, from city of Toronto Archives, taken about 1972. With an old Mt. Pleasant streetcar on the street by the silos.

below: I tried to replicate the above photo, about 42 years later.  The Mt. Pleasant streetcars are long gone as is the gas station on the NW corner of Merton and Mt. Pleasant.  A corner of the tall white apartment building on the right can be seen peaking from behind newer condo buildings.  Of course, the dominant part of the picture is the condo development that was built on the site of the Dominion silos in 2002.

condo building across the street, about 12 storeys high, made of brick and glass, a couple of cars are on the street

In the early 1900’s brothers George and William Dempsey bought a store on the northwest corner of Yonge and Shepard from the Sheppard family.  It became known as Dempsey Brothers.

 below: The store in the 1960s

An old black and white photo of Dempseys store which was on the NW corner of Yonge & Sheppard.  It was a large 2 storey brick building with a porch across the front of the building.  You can see Yonge St. in this photo and some of the old cars that were stopped at the intersection.

In 1989 the property was sold to developers but the store remained on that corner until 1996.  At that time it was moved a few blocks north to a site on Beecroft Ave; the site is now known as Dempsey Park.  The building was renovated and became the home of the North York Archives, an arrangement that didn’t last long.  In 1998 Mike Harris and the provincial Conservative government of the day amalgamated the old city boroughs into one City of Toronto.  North York ceased to exist and their archives merged with those of the new city.  Instead, the old Demspey Brothers store is home to Beecroft Learning Centre.

old Dempsey store, restored and now in a park setting.  Two storey brick house with some yellow brick trim, porch that wraps around the front of the building.  Surrounded by trees, winter time so no leaves and there is snow on the ground.

The restored Dempsey Brothers store, now at 250 Beecroft Avenue.

 

Where Dempsey’s once stood, there is now this….

Northwest corner of Yonge and Sheppard in March of 2015, low rise building angled across the corner with McDonalds and 7 11 stores.  Tall apartment building behind.  The intersection is of two 6 lane roads so it is big and wide.

… a 7 Eleven and a McDonalds. I doubt that anyone thinks “nice corner” when they look at it.

 

below: Looking southeast from the front of Dempsey Brothers store many years ago.

An old black and white photo from 1955 showing the intersection of Yonge and Sheppard.  Not much development, an old car is waiting at a street light.

The billboard is an ad for Simpsons, a department store that is long gone.

 

For a long time, a grocery store stood where the billboard is in the above photo.  But now that corner is changing again.

 

below:  An attempt to replicate the location and angle of the above photo

Looking diagonally across an intersection towards two tall buildings with a midsize building with a curved front in between them.
below:  Looking south across Sheppard Ave. East at the north side new Hullmark Centre including the new subway entrance. 

looking at glass buildings where there is a lot of reflections.  An entrance to Sheppard subway station is part of the building.

below:  Looking north up Yonge Street from just south of Sheppard Avenue.
The new Whole Foods store is the first building on the right.

view looking north on Yonge St.  from just south of Sheppard Ave.
The southwest corner is also undergoing major changes.

below: The greenish coloured Emerald development is almost complete.  And yes, the tops of the buildings are meant to curve that way!

Two tall condos under construction beside a tall bluish colour commercial building.  The condos are a greenish colour and they are curve outwards a bit at the top.

Development proposal sign

Bathurst and Robinson

an older two storey brick semidetached house at the corner of Bathurst and Robinson.  No other houses are next to it.

the sign says:
“…to permit the development of a nine storey mixed use building…..
….. consisting of ground and 2nd floors with commercial….
…. 28 residential units….
… zero parking spaces ….”