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Evocative Images of Lost Toronto

College Park

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What strikes me about the Eaton proposals are the wide open plaza designs: what we are currently grappling in terms of re-design would have been much larger. Those wide spaces would have been windswept barrens for much of six months each year.
 

thecharioteer

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As we know, the key to ultimately "unlocking" the site was the decision to move the Eaton's store up to Dundas, which gave them the desired floor-plates without demolishing the Old City Hall.

It would be interesting to contemplate what kind of design would evolve today, given contemporary attitudes to heritage preservation and the public realm. In spite of Eb Zeidler's aspirations of creating another Milan Galleria, we ultimately got a multi-level parking garage along Yonge Street and a shopping mall with a glass roof. A more complex and sophisticated development could have preserved most of the significant buildings along Yonge (therby maintaining its vitality) while creating opportunities for new, larger retail users inside the block. A pedestrian outdoor environment utilizing the "lost" streets of the block (Trinity Square, Louisa, etc.), new retail (and residential) could have been quite amazing.
 

UserNameToronto

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Here are some more photos:

Toronto's early Macedonian community protesting against Greek and Bulgarian occupation of their homeland, in favor of an independent and united Macedonia. Location: Trinity and Eastern Ave, in front of what was once the first Macedonian Church in Canada (white building) of Sts. Cyril & Methody.

Click here for full size
Highly suggest clicking through for the full-size link.

Some of those buildings still exist - the semi to the left has been "cut in half" and partly replaced by 95 Trinity, and the larger woodframe building up the street is still there too, and beyond the rowhouses. It looks like Eastern Ave might have been further north originally.

The photographer is standing on the NW corner looking east. Just to the photographer's left (out of frame) is the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse.

Today via Googlemaps: http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=6+Wascana+Ave,+Toronto,+Toronto+Division,+Ontario&ll=43.652659,-79.360878&spn=0,359.985173&z=16&layer=c&cbll=43.652735,-79.360981&panoid=yRGUePgdGpZMHeBwaWYtiw&cbp=12,7.39,,0,-3.08
 

Conrad Black

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anyway its clear that we dodged a big bullet! I wonder when the original plan well and truly died?
As we know, the key to ultimately "unlocking" the site was the decision to move the Eaton's store up to Dundas, which gave them the desired floor-plates without demolishing the Old City Hall.

It would be interesting to contemplate what kind of design would evolve today, given contemporary attitudes to heritage preservation and the public realm. In spite of Eb Zeidler's aspirations of creating another Milan Galleria, we ultimately got a multi-level parking garage along Yonge Street and a shopping mall with a glass roof. A more complex and sophisticated development could have preserved most of the significant buildings along Yonge (therby maintaining its vitality) while creating opportunities for new, larger retail users inside the block. A pedestrian outdoor environment utilizing the "lost" streets of the block (Trinity Square, Louisa, etc.), new retail (and residential) could have been quite amazing.
I'm with the thecharioteer. We didn't dodge a big bullet. Yes Old City Hall survived but we did lose the rest of the block. Yonge Street still hasn't completely recovered. And I'd rather have the previous buildings on Bay instead of the Marriott, Bell and Rogers Business School buildings.
 

thedeepend

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I'm with the thecharioteer. We didn't dodge a big bullet. Yes Old City Hall survived but we did lose the rest of the block. Yonge Street still hasn't completely recovered. And I'd rather have the previous buildings on Bay instead of the Marriott, Bell and Rogers Business School buildings.
you guys are right--the only bullet we dodged was the saving of Old City Hall...everything else about the site has turned out 'meh' at best.
 

Maco in the 6

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Highly suggest clicking through for the full-size link.

Some of those buildings still exist - the semi to the left has been "cut in half" and partly replaced by 95 Trinity, and the larger woodframe building up the street is still there too, and beyond the rowhouses. It looks like Eastern Ave might have been further north originally.

The photographer is standing on the NW corner looking east. Just to the photographer's left (out of frame) is the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse.

Today via Googlemaps: http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=6+Wascana+Ave,+Toronto,+Toronto+Division,+Ontario&ll=43.652659,-79.360878&spn=0,359.985173&z=16&layer=c&cbll=43.652735,-79.360981&panoid=yRGUePgdGpZMHeBwaWYtiw&cbp=12,7.39,,0,-3.08
Wow, thanks for pointing that out, I had no idea the building still existed (partially).
 

thedeepend

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As we know, the key to ultimately "unlocking" the site was the decision to move the Eaton's store up to Dundas, which gave them the desired floor-plates without demolishing the Old City Hall.

It would be interesting to contemplate what kind of design would evolve today, given contemporary attitudes to heritage preservation and the public realm. In spite of Eb Zeidler's aspirations of creating another Milan Galleria, we ultimately got a multi-level parking garage along Yonge Street and a shopping mall with a glass roof. A more complex and sophisticated development could have preserved most of the significant buildings along Yonge (therby maintaining its vitality) while creating opportunities for new, larger retail users inside the block. A pedestrian outdoor environment utilizing the "lost" streets of the block (Trinity Square, Louisa, etc.), new retail (and residential) could have been quite amazing.
its a fascinating "what if?"...

despite the obvious improvement of the final version of the Eaton Centre over the 1966 version, i suppose it is still much closer in spirit to the hardline blockbusting and the 'demolition fetishists' of the 60's than any later version of urbanism. after all, there's less than 10 years between the original plan and the approved plan, and we are now 33 years away from that 1977 opening...a lifetime of urbanist discourse has transpired in the interim.

here's an interesting link to a presentation at the 2009 Anglo-American Conference of Historians “Cities” in London: A Revaluation of Public Space in Toronto (1955-2005)

It looks at "three iconic projects in Toronto that were all planned and built between the years 1955 and 2005: City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square, the Eaton Centre, and Dundas Square".

http://bartlett-thinktank.org/?p=103

the PDF is too big to attach but its worth looking at, as it has some interesting images...
 

thecharioteer

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Now, in this alternate universe, a N-S and E-W "galleria" is inserted into the old Eaton Centre block, perhaps linking Dundas Square, Trinity Square and Nathan Phillips Square, with new facades inserted into the interior of the block a la Milano:



 

seemsartless

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Interesting articles on saving Old City Hall, and a search in the Toronto Archives shows just how OLD it really is!

Problems with the roof 90 years ago ( from http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/torontodetail.html?key=100361 )


and http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/torontodetail.html?key=100311


And I'm sure we've seen in this thread many damaged stone-work, but I like the shallow depth-of-field in http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/torontodetail.html?key=100338



Finally, 'Unidentified group, wearing hoods and smocks' sometime before 1980 really sums up http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/torontodetail.html?key=212007
 

thedeepend

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Interesting articles on saving Old City Hall, and a search in the Toronto Archives shows just how OLD it really is!

Problems with the roof 90 years ago ( from http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/torontodetail.html?key=100361 )


and http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/torontodetail.html?key=100311


And I'm sure we've seen in this thread many damaged stone-work, but I like the shallow depth-of-field in http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/torontodetail.html?key=100338



Finally, 'Unidentified group, wearing hoods and smocks' sometime before 1980 really sums up http://gencat.eloquent-systems.com/torontodetail.html?key=212007
thanks for those--good selection!
 

Goldie

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[QUOTE
[/QUOTE]

Is this a Canadian version of the KKK or just an odd sect of women in trousers who prefer to cover their faces?
 

thecharioteer

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The Eaton Centre articles about the proposed demolition of the Old City Hall in 1966 and the last picture showing the group posing on its steps turned on the proverbial lightbulb over my head and helped answer the question as to why its demolition was so vociferously opposed. After all, the New City Hall had just opened the year before, and the concept of historical preservation was in its infancy (Penn Station had been demolished in 1963). The list of significant buildings that were lost post-1966 (the Temple Building, the Odeon Carlton, the University Theatre, the Toronto Star Building, the Globe and Mail Building, hundreds of Victorian houses, etc.) is lengthy and their demolitions never galvanized the public in the same way (save for the proposed destruction of Union Station).

I think that the reason is only partly architectural. The main reason, I believe, is that for Torontonians at that time, the Old City Hall was the psychic heart and soul of the city, its symbol, its front door, its backdrop for every visiting celebrity, demonstration, memorial service, civic event and celebration. Nathan Phillips Square was too new at this time to replace the front steps of the Old City Hall in this role. As a photographic tool, the combination of the steps and the elaborate facade made it a natural setting for that photo op (for which there really is no equivakent today). Also, sitting at the head of Bay Street, a block from the main intersection of the city at the time (i.e. Queen & Yonge), it was at the time the "heart" of the city.

The Eatons executives and their consultants underestimated the role this building played for its citizens. The following selection (not in any particular order) gives a small hint of it:









































 
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Goldie

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[QUOTE
[/QUOTE]

Thanks for that wonderful collection, thecharioteer!
I wonder what group posed for this fine panorama.

Some really famous people have tread the steps of our great Hall.

Did anyone else spot Rocket Richard?
 

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