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Thread: West Queen West / A&D District

  1. #136

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    At the same time, a few years back no one (including developers) could not have cared less about Queen West.

    The trouble with this (these) project is that it is a compromise for everyone included (and of their own making), and a compromise rarely satisfies anyone. The idea that a nine floor building is bad because it's nine floors is a bit of an empty argument. Neighbourhoods evolve in terms of density, and this neighbourhood is no different in that respect.

    That being said, some candy-cake faux pile would stick out like a sore thumb in this area. Something of this proportion can really set the tone for future development, and it would be a shame if it really set the wrong tone.


  2. #137

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    I agree. The faux style really rubs it in your face. You can be sure that these condos aren't going to rent space to any of the businesses that make the neighbourhood successful. You can also guarantee that the people who move in will quickly start to complain about all the loud people late at night.

  3. #138

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    Quote Originally Posted by unimaginative2 View Post
    You can also guarantee that the people who move in will quickly start to complain about all the loud people late at night.
    Actually the existing locals (the ones who displaced the working poor who had previously lived in the area) already do plenty of that, which is why The Beaconsfield, for example, closes its patio after 10 or so.

    Although I'm sort-of sympathetic to the idea that these new developments are going to change the area for the worse, I can't stand the 'everyone who moves in to the neighbourhood after me doesn't deserve to be here and is yuppie scum' attitude. It's like listening to Lou Dobbs talk about immigration. I wonder what the people who were living in Parkdale 25 years ago think of the hipsters from Brampton and Missisauga who kicked them out and are now crying bloody murder over these condos?

    Point is, cities and neighbourhoods change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and everyone is complicit in that. Many of the people living in Parkdale now are gentrifiers too, whether they admit it or not.

  4. Default



    Let's change the thread title to West Queen West / ADD District.

  5. Default

    Well, at least one of the buildings are pretty now (^). But what I think is a bigger issue than the looks and scale of the project is the layout and public transit. If the layout leads to seedy back streets and a public transit that can't cope with the increased population this area will not be a nice place to live in. Hopefully the developers look at Active 18's recommendations for street and sidewalk connections; and hopefully GO gets there head around putting a city express train that stops at Dufferin/Gladstone that acts like a subway.

  6. #141

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    Why are there so many abandoned storefronts in the area? Doing my gallery tour on Saturday I was astonished at how "dead" it was; how many store fronts appear to be abandoned or for sale, etc. The area clearly needs thousands of spoilt, middle class 20-somethings to boost the profits of small business in the area. 69 Vintage for example--how's that place surviving?
    Canadian architecture I like: http://renderpornstar.com/

  7. #142

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    Quote Originally Posted by urbandreamer View Post
    ...The area clearly needs thousands of spoilt, middle class 20-somethings to boost the profits of small business in the area. 69 Vintage for example--how's that place surviving?
    There is something of the subversive in your post.

  8. Default Art

    West Queen West's art moves north
    Toronto Star - October 5, 2008 - Murray Whyte

    Through dusty shelves littered with cheap plastic trinkets anything for a dollar, as the sell-line goes through the grubby walls, the dim, flickering lights and the depressingly dank smell, Elaine Gaito was convinced she could see the future.

    "We just looked up and said `This has so much potential,'" says Gaito, the director of Mercer Union, one of the city's most venerable artist-run centres. As she speaks, her eyes are turned upward again, in that same space here on Bloor St. just east of Lansdowne Ave. But the view has changed considerably.

    A century-old pressed-tin ceiling looms 6 metres above, capping towering, freshly plastered gallery walls.

    A crew of about half a dozen labour over the space Mercer's new home in preparation for this Wednesday's grand opening. It will complete the gallery's migration, from Queen and Dovercourt the city designated "Art+Design District," if you're keeping track to this decidedly undesignated stretch of Bloor St. W.

    "We're paying $1 a square foot here. Down there, rents are going for $50 a square foot," Gaito says. "We weren't paying that, but it was pretty obvious when our lease was up we couldn't stay. So this was a pre-emptive strike. We wanted to do it on our own terms."

    So begins in earnest the latest trek in the Toronto art community's constant meanderings.

    Art has been on the move in Toronto for decades; from Yorkville in the '70s to Queen and Spadina in the '80s, trickling further west in the late '90s to Queen and Dovercourt.

    In that neighbourhood (dubbed the "Queen West Triangle" by the city planning department, as well as the activists trying to preserve it), artist spaces have now almost entirely given way to condominiums that use their lifestyle as a romantic lure under construction now is the "Bohemian Embassy" condominium at the same time as they price them out.

    Artists have always been the shock troops of the gentrification process the potent lure that transforms neighbourhoods to the point where they're pushed out themselves. (Councillor Kyle Raye once said art should keep moving all over the city, cleaning up neighbourhoods as it goes.)

    Only places and names change and sometimes not even that. Mercer is a notable bellwether for these neighbourhoods. It fled its long-time home at King and Spadina in the late '90s, as high-end retail colonized the neighbourhood's underused historic buildings; it landed on Lisgar St., one block west of Dovercourt, just south of Queen, and the inevitable death watch began.

    What has changed is the pace. Not five years ago, the triangle was a hodgepodge collection of used appliance stores, seedy coffee shops and vacant storefronts; in search of large spaces and cheap rent, artists had filled some of the gaps.

    Then, in 2004, the Drake Hotel opened and kick-started the rapid commercialization of a neighbourhood that is on now the verge of cratering a huge old factory building on Abell St. that has been artist studio space for decades to make way for what has become the area's defining feature: "Loft" condominiums. Just a few blocks east, on Ossington Ave. north of Queen, the same rapid process has been thrown into fast-forward, as storefronts that were empty not even a year ago now teem with high-end retail and chic eateries.

    "It got really, really weird, really, really fast," Gaito says. "I'm not saying it should remain stagnant, but in a city where the rhetoric of the `Creative City' is always bandied about, it really went the other way. Once the economic possibilities of co-opting that presence are recognized, then it's over."

    The triangle, circa 2003, has much in common with Bloor and Lansdowne, present day. Known as Bloordale, this is a rough and tumble stretch of budget furniture shops and second-hand outlets like Value Village and the Salvation Army, and of specialty stores and restaurants that cater to the neighbourhood's eclectic ethnicity (the Kiss Cup restaurant's sign offers the authentic cosmopolitan synergy of Chinese and Indian cuisine to "Spicy Your Life").

    According to Statistics Canada, the area is among the poorest in Ontario; it's also among the least educated. It has the highest proportion of new immigrants, per capita, in Canada. Ethiopian, Chinese, Indian and Jamaican shops and restaurants dot the streetscape. But the most prominent, well-kept business here is the House of Lancaster, a stripper bar (its owner is the president of the Bloordale Business Improvement Area); another, Club Paradise, sits a couple of blocks west.

    But change is coming here. Mercer is not the first; with its major renovation of an old movie theatre designed by architect E.J. Lennox, who also designed Casa Loma and Old City Hall, it's only the splashiest. Earlier this year, the Toronto Free Gallery moved into a space across Bloor from Mercer. Others are eyeing the area closely, among them Steven Schwartz, the co-director of Engine Gallery at Queen and Dovercourt. The building they rent is for sale. Once it sells, "we'll be leaving, too. It's changed so fast here, nobody can afford to stay."

    The space Schwartz first looked at, directly across from Mercer Union at 1265 Bloor St. W., is being prepped to welcome the "Community Outreach Gallery," which opens the first week of November.

    It's an ironic nod to the neighbourhood's deeply entrenched social ills, like crime, prostitution and drug abuse. The stab at humour reads less as funny and more as the callous rhetoric of invasion to some here. "This is an area that needs real community outreach," said one business owner who asked not to be named. "It's tasteless to the point of disrespect."

    For Donna Cowan, striking a balance between new and old is the only real success. "We saw what happened (in the triangle)," says Cowan, the director of Dig In, a local residents' association. "So we're bracing for it. We're always encouraging arts-based businesses to move here, and we're more than thrilled to have them. But how can we make things better, without pushing people out? We need to work together before it comes to that."

    It's the central question in a process that has imposed a numbing sameness in its wake all over the city. In an attempt to answer it, Dig In is working with the University of Toronto's planning department to examine the possibilities before it's too late. Which could be soon. Castlepoint studios is looking to develop 100,000 square feet of studio in the area, while Three Speed, a bar owned by the same people who own the trendy Communist's Daughter on Dundas St. W., is set to open as well.

    "The experience of West Queen West suggests that it is important to anticipate the potential for rapid commercial gentrification on Bloordale and take precautions against the widespread displacement of the area's low-income residents and commercial tenants," the department's director, Katharine Rankin, wrote in a recent study.

    Gentrification itself isn't a bad thing, she says; it's when the process runs unchecked, as it did in the triangle, that something is lost. "It's very fraught," she says. "It's hard to be critical when the perception is that everyone benefits (from gentrification). But of course, they don't all benefit. Some will be displaced."

    Gaito understands all too well the beneficial-bacteria role of the arts in neighbourhoods such as these. "I have a lot of friends who own places around here, who say `Oh my God thank you for bringing me the gift of equity!'" she says. "But the last thing we want is a repeat of what happened down there. It's about that mixture; and everything we contributed to that neighbourhood is over."

    Over, but perhaps not done. "(The triangle) is just another neighbourhood with too many bad bars and restaurants," Schwartz said. "Soon, we'll be somewhere new until it all happens again."

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jaymckay View Post
    Well, at least one of the buildings are pretty now (^). But what I think is a bigger issue than the looks and scale of the project is the layout and public transit. If the layout leads to seedy back streets and a public transit that can't cope with the increased population this area will not be a nice place to live in. Hopefully the developers look at Active 18's recommendations for street and sidewalk connections; and hopefully GO gets there head around putting a city express train that stops at Dufferin/Gladstone that acts like a subway.
    Is there a proposal for a Dufferin/Gladstone express???? Link?

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by panekkkk View Post
    Is there a proposal for a Dufferin/Gladstone express???? Link?
    Not that i know,but it would be nice to see a Euro type electrofied rail system with various stations from the Waterfront to Weston.I cant imagine these old dirty diesel driven trains working in a Toronto city link.

  11. Default West Queen West Development Update

    A good overview of the current/proposed development in the area:

    http://www.adamgiambrone.ca/download...newsletter.pdf

  12. #147

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    The Bloor/Gladstone library addition is looking good.



    By torontovibe, shot with DSC-N1 at 2009-04-07

  13. #148
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Default

    There is a proposal being considered at the May 14 meeting of city council to limit the number of bars and restaurants along Queen between Dovercourt and Gladstone.

  14. Default

    New Queen West restaurants limited

    National Post Published: Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    A push back from residents of an eclectic stretch of Queen Street West, between Dovercourt Road and Gladstone Avenue, has yielded more limits for new restaurants in the zone.

    Toronto and East York Community Council yesterday approved a series of zoning amendments that would set smaller size caps, from 400 square metres to 175 square metres, and limit where patios can go.

    The issue on this part of Queen West, much like a section of Ossington Avenue, was "too much change, too fast," said Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, who represents a portion of the affected area. "And therefore a sense of equilibrium was lost, and there has been push back that the residents want to protect their quality of life."

    The restrictions still need to be approved by city council, which meets on Jan. 26.

    Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/can...#ixzz0cW2qiSmy

  15. #150

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    Kinda dumb really: does that mean new retail in Boho and other condos across the street will be limited to fastfood franchises? The area definitely needs a Tim Ho's etc. "Drake you Tim Ho"
    Canadian architecture I like: http://renderpornstar.com/

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