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Thread: West Queen West / A&D District

  1. #31
    TdotTrickyRicky Guest


    hardlyamathwhiz, I am aware that Active18 isn't proposing a ban on development. I was merely pointing out that hindering development or allowing it to happen unfettered both can have unexpected or unintentional outcomes.

  2. #32
    building babel Guest


    adma: The "loft = artistic creation" thing wasn't always a myth though. Artists, being one of the lower paid categories of workers, still depend on the availability of cheap and suitably open live/work space. Hence their attempt to stall development in this particular district, which works for them and where they actually form a connected community.

    The irony is that they'll be replaced by people who want faux "loft = artistic creation" living spaces - but will never need studio windows offering northern light, or purchase large canvases, or set up on easels, or create sculptures.

  3. #33
    allabootmatt Guest


    While I agree that it is a shame a group of artists will be displaced by a project that doesn't exactly sound spectacular, the hysteria over this strikes me as unjustified. We are talking about one development in one place, in a city that is lucky enough to still have fairly large swathes of (relatively) cheap real-estate. Indeed, the displacement of working artists in Toronto, while fairly advanced by Canadian standards, would be weak beer indeed in a place like New York, or London--I would challenge anyone to find 500 working artists, aside from those making Cindy Sherman-esque megabucks, on the island of Manhattan.

    So I do not buy the argument that this development is evidence Toronto is somehow insufficiently world-class. I would even argue that the push-and-pull of gentrification and other urban-environmental change encourages artistic creation--a seemingly ideal static community of artists would not, I am guessing, produce terribly creative work.

    And besides, the displacement of certain groups to make way for others is one of the things that make big cities like Toronto exciting; there is always a new frontier, and until we run out of ungentrified neighbourhoods (not anytime soon--just check out Bloor between Christie and High Park) it will stay that way. After all, the mythical Parkdale community that Active 18 is fighting tooth-and-nail to preserve as is only exists because artists moved there from the more central parts of Queen in the 90s and early 2000s. Eventually many of them will move on again, and create Toronto's next great creative neighbourhood.

  4. #34
    blixa442 Guest


    I think the impact of these artists on the city is grossly exaggerated. If you can't make your art because someone wants to build a condo then you're not much of an artist.

  5. #35
    calimehtar Guest


    I bought a townhouse in Kingtowns, near the future site of the Alsop towers and across the tracks from the triangle. I've been renting in the neighborhood for 2 or 3 years. I'm not an artist but the eclectic nature of the neighborhood is the main attraction for me. It's one of the best neighborhoods for cheap, interesting food, and the art galleries are a great diversion.

    If it wasn't for the artists and immigrants the area would be just another Queen and Spadina or Yorkville at best. And much less convenient since it's a 45 minute walk to any subway.

    So on the one hand I fully understand the argument against these developments. But somehow this kind of change seems inevitable. If it didn't happen in the queen west triangle, it'd happen nearby in Liberty village or in parts of the neighborhood populated by less charismatic beneficiaries of the affordable rent. And that is sure to happen eventually too.

  6. #36
    mark simpson Guest


    most within the 5 story range. I think a dense network of 5-ish story condos (with affordable housing units), townhomes, and greenspace on a new street grid would be fabulous for the area

    a. there are countless tower blocks in Parkdale
    b. what you are suggesting is not financially viable

  7. #37
    Junglab2002 Guest


    All the hyperbole on this project is a tad unjustified: in truth, the OMB DID reduce heights of a number of structures proposed by the development community - notably the Westside Lofts project on 150 Sudbury, which was limited to a single 48 meter tower, and 8 storeys (+ mechanical) for the rest. In addition, ALL buildings were required (by the OMB) to have setbacks at 4 and 6 storyes (despite the fact that the developers did not include these in their proposed designs. Interestingly, the 8 storey height limit (and setbacks) is EXACTLY what the city itself proposed for buildings fronting Queen (presumably the most contentious location), and basically admitted to wanted throughout the rest of the area.
    Moreover, the Bohemian Embassy project, as indicated by the OMB report, was pretty well accepted by all parties, with only a few minor issues left to resolve, such as the location of the proposed archway (or passage, Frech accent and all). The local community apparently accepted the height of 19 storeys (dow from the original 25) and in fact argued for an even higher tower based on the point tower model.
    As such, the only significant problem remains the 48 Abell property, which, to be fair, is MUCH reduced in scale from the renderings and scale bandied about hither and yon (it now has one 50.5 meter tower, and a second, 42 meter tower conneted by an 8 storey base with the above-mentioned setbacks).
    As such, it is my impression that the whole thing is really an attempt to kill 48 Abell, and save the current structure.

  8. #38
    Citywriter Guest


    b. what you are suggesting is not financially viable
    What -- 5 storey buildings couldn't be built commercially? Have you seen the 2-storey "stacked townhouses" right next door?

    A lot of things are "viable" if the planning demands them. This was cheap land for the developers, no doubt.

    More to the point, the Active 18 proposals could have been built profitably.

    OK, so maybe the Abell artists sound annoying to some ears, but please let's not hear any more about the hard-done-by developers whose property rights are being defended. In economic terms this is very simple: Every time the OMB ups the allowable zoning like this, somebody makes a mountain of cash. These guys speculated and won. There's nothing inevitable or noble about it.

    As such, the only significant problem remains the 48 Abell property, which, to be fair, is MUCH reduced in scale from the renderings and scale bandied about hither and yon
    Of course it's reduced. The initial proposal was a negotiating position. it's always that way.

  9. #39
    adma Guest


    Though in a funny way, Active 18 also accepts that change is inevitable--note the whole YIMBY business.
    It's merely an asking for some stake in the change, and something which would quit using glossy starchitects as trojan horses or predatory Bohemian Embassy-type pitches. It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it...

  10. #40
    adma Guest


    As such, it is my impression that the whole thing is really an attempt to kill 48 Abell, and save the current structure.
    Yeah, could be. And is that bad, necessarily, given the symbolism involved?

    Is this the site where Baird Sampson Neuert's involved? It isn't like it's the first time they've been recruited to make a (in some eyes) dubious scheme look good (cf. the aborted behind-St. James Cathedral plan). And it isn't like they, or Alsop, or whomever couldn't be involved in something incorporating 48 Abell, either. They're just doing what the client ordered, they're not to blame per se; and changed circumstances needn't mean ditched architects, esp. when they're good architects...

  11. #41
    building babel Guest


    Beyond the details of what the OMB allows, and the usual ploys of developers seeking to inflate profits, this issue has taken on a Trefann Court symbolism for the 100-pound-weakling artistic community, who now flex muscles in public they haven't always had.

  12. #42
    mark simpson Guest


    Have you seen the 2-storey "stacked townhouses" right next door?
    yes and eventhough the two sites aren't really comparable ,by chance , have you seen the plan for the entire 'stacked townhouse' project?

    the next phases are highrises

    looks like they are wasting little time with Bohemian Embassy - demolition prep work underway

  13. #43
    Ed007Toronto Guest


    I wonder if the Bohemian Embassy name is related in anyway to old Bohemian Embassy club.

    'Papa' started as a T.O. gypsy

    Denny Doherty (second from right), with Cass Elliot’s daughter, Owen, Michelle Phillips and John Phillips after the Mamas and Papas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

    Singer of 'Monday, Monday' and 'California Dreamin' later lived quiet family life in Mississauga
    January 22, 2007
    John Goddard
    Staff Reporter

    "Zal and Denny working for a penny," sang the Mamas and the Papas in their autobiographical hit, "Creeque Alley."

    Zal was guitarist Zalman Yanovsky, later of the Lovin' Spoonful.

    Denny was Denny Doherty, perhaps best known as the clear, sweet tenor that carried "Monday, Monday" to a Number 1 single by the Mamas and the Papas in 1966, a quick follow-up to their smash debut, "California Dreamin'."

    Zal and Denny worked for pennies together in Toronto, then moved south and split to help form two of the biggest folk-rock acts of the 1960s.

    "What – get a lease? Get a landlord?" Doherty said when asked once where he lived in those early Toronto days. "No, man. We were gypsies. We were vagabonds.

    "We slept wherever we could sleep. Be ready to move. Have your gear packed and your guitar case ready to go."

    Doherty died Friday of an abdominal aneurysm at 66 after collapsing at his Mississauga home.

    Originally, he was from Halifax. From 1955 to 1958, he sang in a rock band called the Hepsters and switched to folk music, he once said, "because it was a way to make a living and get out of town."

    He formed a trio called the Colonials, with a rhythm guitarist, a washtub bass player and himself on lead vocals.

    "We were sort of like the Kingston Trio, a commercial folk act trying to get by," Doherty said with typical modesty and enthusiasm in a 1996 interview, prior to being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

    "We had a lot of stuff that we had written ourselves and that the purists looked down their noses on us for, but we'd go right on through."

    In 1960, the Colonials left Halifax for Montreal. A year later, they travelled to Toronto to appear on Juliette, the CBC music show aired Saturdays after Hockey Night in Canada. They picked up other work and stayed.

    "We played the Colonial Tavern and we were the first to play the Las Vegas Room at the Seaway Hotel (since demolished)," Doherty recalled.

    "We also worked the Imperial Room at the Royal York Hotel, and there were about three coffeehouses at that time – the House of Hamburg, the Village Corner Club and the Bohemian Embassy."

    At the Bohemian Embassy, they took part in hootenannies.

    "Ian and Sylvia would get up and do a couple of numbers," Doherty said. "We would get up and do a couple. We'd do all these folk sets going, `Tra-la-la, la-la-la-la-la.'

    "But after you got up at the hoot at the Bohemian Embassy you'd go, `Is there any place else to work?'

    "The folk clubs were selling coffee and cake," he said. "They weren't making enough money to pay everybody. So you would pass the hat, or play for nothing, and hope that somebody had heard you, or hope something magical would happen."

    The start of something magical was a chance meeting in 1962 between Doherty and Toronto-born Zal (pronounced Zol) Yanovsky, who played a gut-string acoustic guitar.

    Yanovsky, as Doherty once told the story, had just returned in semi-disgrace from an Israeli kibbutz. "He had blown the tracks off a Caterpillar tractor by putting the brakes on at 20 or 30 miles an hour," Doherty recalled.

    "You're supposed to gear them down but he put the brakes on, blew the brakes, destroyed several buildings on the kibbutz. He went right through the mess hall or something, which they had just finished building and they said, `Don't help us anymore. Israel can get by without you.'"

    Yanovsky told the story differently.

    In 1962, at the age of 17, he was living on his own near Dupont St. and Avenue Rd.

    His main hangout was the nearby Wash and Dry Laundromat, now an electronics repair store. It was warm, it was cheap, it was open 24 hours a day and Yanovsky said he spent most of his time there until Doherty hired him.

    "I was catapulted from the dryer to the stage of the Colonial Tavern," he told Martin Melhuish for the 1983 book Heart of Gold: 30 Years of Canadian Pop Music.

    "Our guitarist only played chords," Doherty said, "so we needed somebody who could pick some melodies and Zal could do that."

    In 1963, Doherty, Yanovsky and the second guitarist, without the washtub player, relocated. Or as a line from "Creeque Alley" puts it:

    "Zally said, `Denny, you know there aren't many who can sing a song the way that you do. Let's go south.'"

    Shifting between Washington, D.C., and New York's Greenwich Village, Doherty and Yanovsky met all the members of their two future respective bands.

    First, they met John and Michelle Phillips of the Journeymen, and Cass Elliot of the Big Three.

    In February 1964, Elliot invited friends over to watch the first Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, among them John Sebastian.

    The new formations took place in stages.

    Doherty, Yanovsky and Elliot played in a group together. Sebastian joined them briefly.

    Doherty formed a group with John and Michelle Phillips.

    Finally, Yanovsky and Sebastian co-founded the Lovin' Spoonful in New York with two other players.

    From mid-1965 to late 1967, they rode the top of the pop charts with such hits as "Do You Believe in Magic?" "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice" and "Summer in the City."

    Elliot moved to California. Doherty, with John and Michelle Phillips, joined her there to form the Mamas and the Papas.

    For a while, all reigned as members of pop royalty. Afterward, Yanovsky settled in Kingston, and opened the restaurant Chez Piggy. He died in 2002.

    Doherty returned to the Toronto area in 1986 to live as an unassuming, neighbourly family man listed in the phone book. Elliot died in 1974, John Phillips in 2001.

    In 1996, Doherty and Yanovsky were inducted together into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

    On hand to present the awards, respectively, were Michelle Phillips and John Sebastian.

    With files from Richard Crouse.

  14. #44
    Junglab2002 Guest


    As such, it is my impression that the whole thing is really an attempt to kill 48 Abell, and save the current structure.
    Yeah, could be. And is that bad, necessarily, given the symbolism involved?
    Actually, I wasn't disparaging this presumed fact - I was just presenting what I thought the real issue here is (i.e. this is not really about the developments themselves - at least from the city's point of view, since it got pretty much what it wanted). As such, catterwalling about the size of the developments really is a foil for another arguement entirely - usage.
    The one thing the city didn't get its way on was the ratio of work-to-reesidential space - the OMB found the city's arguements to be inconsistent and vague... which of course, they were (since the city hadn't put a plan in place by the time the developers took their cases to the OMB.
    Moreover, the artists do have a point in that their space isn't guaranteed - I think the develoer at 48 Abell only promised to "consider" studio live-work spaces, although they ARE promising to build subsidized housing, and at least one art gallery/show space.

    As to the question on the Baird development, that one is located at 150 Sudbury, and is NOT the 48 Abell development I am referring to. Actually, I'm a little worried about the Baird project - I quite liked the designs for the condo, but the OMB mandated setbacks will almost certainly involve a redisign.
    The 48 Abell project actually started out as a horrendous disater a la North York, but has evolved into something fairly tolerable.
    Still, I truly wish they fold, and ERA/Zeidler or some such collaboration come along and renovate/reanimate the factory on that site.

  15. #45
    unimaginative2 Guest


    There was an article saying that the former owner of the Bohemian Embassy is trying to sue.

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