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A History of 50 Cities in 50 Buildings

Hank

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An interesting series of articles from The Guardian showcasing 50 buildings that in a way define their cities (or help to define other concepts like "American suburbia"). Toronto makes the list at #47 (I don't think these are in any order) with Honest Ed's, while Montreal's Habitat comes in at #35.

Some of them are obvious (Sagrada Familia, the Twin Towers) while others are more interesting. A floating school in Makoko, the Ponte City in Johannesburg, and Pruitt-Igoe, for example.
 

Tewder

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It's telling how disdainful we are of our own history and culture - blind to it really - that it takes an outsider to point it out to us.
 

Hank

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It's telling how disdainful we are of our own history and culture - blind to it really - that it takes an outsider to point it out to us.

I don't disagree, but can we really have expected Honest Ed's to remain a discount store forever? And what they're proposing to replace it with looks pretty fantastic, all things considered.
 

Tewder

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I suppose. Still, if people valued Honest Ed's as the quintessential Toronto experience it was, it may still be standing. In American cities this place would be beloved, even if in an ironic sort of way... and Honest Ed's could have been retained in a new development.

The recurring problem is we just don't see cultural value in anything local here, we've been too busy cultivating multiculturalism and cultural balkanism, rather than focusing on any shared cultural collectivity. We need the maturity to start doing more of this.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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I suppose. Still, if people valued Honest Ed's as the quintessential Toronto experience it was, it may still be standing. In American cities this place would be beloved, even if in an ironic sort of way... and Honest Ed's could have been retained in a new development.

The recurring problem is we just don't see cultural value in anything local here, we've been too busy cultivating multiculturalism and cultural balkanism, rather than focusing on any shared cultural collectivity. We need the maturity to start doing more of this.

Let's not wax poetic about it - in most American cities something like Honest Ed, this close to the core would have been leveled years ago in the name of progress and redevelopment (if not by the owner themselves). To use it as a pushback against multiculturalism and "balkanism" (really?) is even more off-base - as if somehow the reason behind people don't care about saving it is because we aren't "mature" enough. Really - after being told over and over again it is iconic through the news, the media and whatnot literally decades before the store itself died.

I think original author may incidentally be right about choosing this example - the then new immigrants have moved on, the people have move on to bigger things. That is the quintessential Toronto story.

AoD
 
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Armour

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I suppose. Still, if people valued Honest Ed's as the quintessential Toronto experience it was, it may still be standing. In American cities this place would be beloved, even if in an ironic sort of way... and Honest Ed's could have been retained in a new development.

The recurring problem is we just don't see cultural value in anything local here, we've been too busy cultivating multiculturalism and cultural balkanism, rather than focusing on any shared cultural collectivity. We need the maturity to start doing more of this.

Very true. We've been committing cultural suicide for decades.
 

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