News   Feb 26, 2024
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Exhibition Place

100% agree. Walking through the Princes' Gates and looking towards another loading dock at the Better Living Centre...

I am generally a fan of Modern architecture, but boy are these pavilions from the 50s onward utterly contemptuous of their context? Of course this issue in particular was null back when Exhibition Stadium was around, but that isn't exactly a poster child of respect for the view axis in question either.

AoD
 
May I suggest, in regards to the Food Building; or any other for that matter, the place to start is with the intended programming use; then work your way towards where on the grounds one might thoughtfully site such use; and what the architectural expression should be.

In the case of the Food Building, there is the obvious starting point; what would make this desirable during the 'Ex' for which it was created?

The more elaborate, but important question, is how to make the best use of that space for the 49 weeks or so each year 'The Ex' isn't running.

When the Food building was created, it's my understanding that 'The Ex' afforded a great showcase for new to Toronto culinary ideas, both novel, and normative (to world cuisines that were then poorly represented in the City).

In Today's Toronto, where we have one of the best global food offerings anywhere, 365 days per year, the Food Building programming has slid backwards with too much generica on offer.

I would argue for dividing up the building's programming something like this:

1) Novel Foods (the carnival stuff, deep-fried butter et. al)
2) Distinct foods/cuisines not widely available in Toronto (much more curated)
3) Pop-ups of Restaurants/Product Vendors currently not in the Southern Ontario Market
4) Pop-ups for those wishing to test restaurant concepts before investing in the Bricks and Mortar, so to speak.
5) Limited pop-ups for large chains, conditional on their road-testing at least 3 first-to-market product tests during 'The Ex'
6) A specific area to hype Local/Canadian Vendors, with an emphasis on the small vendors who might not otherwise get to mass-showcase their product.

The Venue needs to incorporate, adequate washroom capacity, indoor/outdoor seating, lots of circulation space. Should have a decent level of natural light inside, but with ability to suppress harmful light/heat penetration as needed.

****

As to the rest of the year, I would encourage 'The Ex' to assume the venue would/could host things like the Food and Wine show outside of 'The Ex' season, and the space should be easy to re-purpose for those needs.
A new food show devoted to raw product/produce could also be launched, maybe twice per year given the seasonal nature of such things.

Other shows should be asked to express interest at the time a building is being conceived, in order to consider compatible designs.

****

While I'd be open to renovating/repurposing the existing building, I personally don't find anything about it so remarkable that I would feel the need.
My preference for including patio, and/or rooftop seating space would likely be substantially precluded by the existing footprint and design.
I can't say I think an investment here is one of the great civic priorities in the near-term; that the entire grounds needs to be viewed holistically in order to prioritize investments within them.
But it's certainly worth considering in the fullness of time.
 
Seeing the most recent plans for the Exhibition Ontario Line/GO Station makes me think we should tear down the Food Building and turn that space into an open plaza.

View attachment 380905 View attachment 380906


When you walk out of the station, you should be entering a welcoming space that you might want to linger in for a moment and gather yourself before you head to your destination within Exhibition Place. It would act as a release valve for all the people getting on and off the train at once. When the CNE is on, it could be the place where you buy your tickets.They could put a fountain or a statue in the centre. Could be used for a Jurassic Park-type space for fans during TFC playoff games or the World Cup 2026.

Right now you walk out of the station and see a loading docks. Not very welcoming.

View attachment 380909


And as for the food part, they should convert the Queen Elizabeth Building into a permanent food hall, something like Time Out Market where people could eat and drink before and after events.
They tore down other buildings and features to make more room for parking. No more Flyer, no more Alpine Way, no more Shell Tower, but room for the important automobile.


They could tear up those parking lots for better buildings, without touching the current buildings. (Okay, maybe the hotel.)


cne-shell-oil-tower.jpg
From link.
 
Honestly the Ex is just horribly planned - haphazard placement of buildings over the years have totally degraded the circulation and sightlines of what should have been a delightful experience. The primary public transit portal (Exhibition Station and streetcar loop) felt like an armpit of a space that is the underside of the Gardiner. So much potential - and yet so trashy.

AoD

Since the CNE has a long tradition of being the ultimate trashfest, it's rather fitting in that context ;)
 
Went for a walk through Exhibition Place yesterday. This is the view you'll be greeted with as you exit the new Exhibition Station.

food building.jpg


I stand by my opinion that it should come down. This is not a special building imo, not worth saving given the location. Good news is there is plenty of room to build a new purpose-built Food Building on the parking lot next door fronting the new square. I'm thinking garage doors that could open up in the summer and a big balcony patio on the second floor. Keep it open year round, office workers in Liberty Village would come here in droves for lunch or after work get togethers. Get started now and they could maybe have it ready for the World Cup in 2026. Or at least aim to have to open at the same time as Exhibition Station in ~2029.

food building ex labelled.png
 
Went for a walk through Exhibition Place yesterday. This is the view you'll be greeted with as you exit the new Exhibition Station.

View attachment 381404

I stand by my opinion that it should come down. This is not a special building imo, not worth saving given the location. Good news is there is plenty of room to build a new purpose-built Food Building on the parking lot next door fronting the new square. I'm thinking garage doors that could open up in the summer and a big balcony patio on the second floor. Keep it open year round, office workers in Liberty Village would come here in droves for lunch or after work get togethers. Get started now and they could maybe have it ready for the World Cup in 2026. Or at least aim to have to open at the same time as Exhibition Station in ~2029.

View attachment 381437
They could completely change the facade (the "makeup") of the north side of the Food Building. Opening it up for the arriving people. A year-long facility for fast food, restaurants, coffee shops, cafeterias, bars, and seating, that can be used not just for the CNE, but for the Winter Fair, Toronto Indy, trade shows, Ontario Place, and football & soccer games. Including for Liberty Village residents.
 
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From link.

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1884

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1894

1903Goad20sm.jpg
1903

1913Goad20sm00020.jpg
1913

1924Goad20sm.jpg
1924

1928CNEmap.jpg
1928 (The Princes’ Gates were opened in 1927.)

1940.IMG_7541.jpg

1940

1953.IMG_7545.jpg
1953 (From 1951/53 the Stanley Barracks were demolished, save for the Officers’ Quarters!)

1963.IMG_7546.jpg
1963 (the third incarnation of the Dufferin Gates (1959). The Manufacturer’s building burned down in January 1961. Although the archival info for the map lists it as being for 1963, the absence of the Better Living Centre (opened in August 1962) indicates that the map reflects the grounds in 1961.)

1974CNESiteDrawing.jpg
1974 (The Alpine Way -- Don’t forget your camera!)

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1985 (In the mid-70s Exhibition Stadium was reconfigured for the expansion Toronto Blue Jays.)

1994CNESiteDrawing.jpg
1994

1995CNE.ASICompositeMap1840-1950.jpg

Composite map of the New Fort, circa 1840-1950 within the context of the CNE grounds
from 1995 Final Report on Phase 1-5 Archaeological Investigation in the National Trade Centre Construction Areas, Canadian National Exhibition Grounds, Toronto, Ontario.

CNEMap.JPG
2022
 
This is the safari most visitors have to face to get from the Exhibition streetcar loop (and future Ontario Line's Exhibition Station) to reach Ontario Place.

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There should be a shady, tree-lined promenade, with flowers, shrubs, drinking fountains, and benches. Amusement ride entrances could still be placed between the trees.
1000_F_159775601_pSFrUEROC0y5PM07RRFV2HVVHc2rQsr5.jpg
From link.
 
What the asphalt desert visitors to Ontario Place face walking from Exhibition Station.

View attachment 388860From link.

At minimum, there should be a shady, tree lined promenade, with flowers, shrubs, drinking fountains, and benches.
1000_F_159775601_pSFrUEROC0y5PM07RRFV2HVVHc2rQsr5.jpg
From link.

But that would take away parking spaces for the all important horseless carriages.
Ontario place and exhibition station come from a different time when there were more parking lots than housing units in Toronto. I think people are opposed to having exhibition place redeveloped because of the fair that happens every year, like no one uses it except for those 3 weeks in August.

Ontario place is just segregated entirely right now driving is the only way to get to it, Until the new redevelopment comes through, and the rumored people mover from the OL station, i dont think they can touch those parking lots
 
Ontario place and exhibition station come from a different time when there were more parking lots than housing units in Toronto. I think people are opposed to having exhibition place redeveloped because of the fair that happens every year, like no one uses it except for those 3 weeks in August.

Ontario place is just segregated entirely right now driving is the only way to get to it, Until the new redevelopment comes through, and the rumored people mover from the OL station, i dont think they can touch those parking lots
"no one uses it except for those 3 weeks in August" WRONG! Guess you never heard of the Royal Winter Fair. The One of a Kind Show. Or any of the trade shows that occur.

The trade shows started by branching off the CNE, for their own exhibitions. Many others.

Then there is the Toronto Indy or Caribana Toronto Parade, all on the Exhibition Place grounds. And all accessible by the TTC or GO.
 
"no one uses it except for those 3 weeks in August" WRONG! Guess you never heard of the Royal Winter Fair. The One of a Kind Show. Or any of the trade shows that occur.

The trade shows started by branching off the CNE, for their own exhibitions. Many others.

Then there is the Toronto Indy or Caribana Toronto Parade, all on the Exhibition Place grounds. And all accessible by the TTC or GO.
The Toronto marlies. Medieval times. The new blue jays exhibition stadium.
 
The Toronto marlies. Medieval times. The new blue jays exhibition stadium.
After the Blue Jays left for the SkyDome, they tore down Exhibition Stadium for more parking in 1999. BMO Field opened in 2007, at a slightly different location, closer to the Food Building.

I miss the Grandstand shows during the CNE at Exhibition Stadium. Both afternoon matinee and evening shows.

three-stooges-canadian-national_1_ce2f68b0f1805c3a5fdd14e586a4a0e0.jpg
From link.
 
After the Blue Jays left for the SkyDome, they tore down Exhibition Stadium for more parking in 1999. BMO Field opened in 2007, at a slightly different location, closer to the Food Building.

I miss the Grandstand shows during the CNE at Exhibition Stadium. Both afternoon matinee and evening shows.

three-stooges-canadian-national_1_ce2f68b0f1805c3a5fdd14e586a4a0e0.jpg
From link.
I do remember exhibition stadium. you could order a whole pizza pizza and there was a time at least where it was one price for the outfield. But I missed the grandstand shows you speak of. Maybe on opening day 2050 it will snow and we will have gone full circle.
 
"no one uses it except for those 3 weeks in August" WRONG! Guess you never heard of the Royal Winter Fair. The One of a Kind Show. Or any of the trade shows that occur.

The trade shows started by branching off the CNE, for their own exhibitions. Many others.

Then there is the Toronto Indy or Caribana Toronto Parade, all on the Exhibition Place grounds. And all accessible by the TTC or GO.
My point was that the parking lots arent used for anything other than the CNE, indy is just seating id bet they could find a way to put seating not on the parking lots.
Royal winter fair? inside the horse palace or whatever it's called, marlies play inside.

We dont NEED those parking lots, but since Ontario place is so segregated, we have to deal with it

Im agreeing with you, would be nice to have like a huge park there, but it cant happen at least until OL opens with that rumored people mover.
 

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