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Shabby Public Realm

Towered

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Brand new beach volleyball pit installed just a couple of weeks ago in Dufferin Grove park…and the sod is already dead! 🤣
568DB314-1615-45C6-8FC7-3EAA7E2CF563.jpeg
 

yrt+viva=1system

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Went down to Nathan Phillips yesterday to grab fresh cut fries (craving) from the truck on Queen. Took a seat to eat and during that time I couldn't help but notice how shabby Nathan Phillips is:

-The large round shallow concrete planters are just strewn about the place and in haphazard paths.
-Crowd control fencing used to fence in the trees that are surrounded by natural stone pavers.
-That random empty ravel patch near Osgoode where a water feature used to located.
-Can't even plant flowers in the empty beds that line the southern end (Queen St.)
-Can't even repair the flower bed borders.

I honestly don't know what the plan is for Nathan Phillips but considering that this is a major tourist destination and city hall it's absolutely disappointing that they can't even maintain or improve the area. I don't think any city in the world has such a shabby landscape for a city hall than Toronto. Heck even Mel Lastman Square is far far better than Nathan Phillips in terms of maintenance and landscaping.
 

Mystic Point

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Went down to Nathan Phillips yesterday to grab fresh cut fries (craving) from the truck on Queen. Took a seat to eat and during that time I couldn't help but notice how shabby Nathan Phillips is:

-The large round shallow concrete planters are just strewn about the place and in haphazard paths.
-Crowd control fencing used to fence in the trees that are surrounded by natural stone pavers.
-That random empty ravel patch near Osgoode where a water feature used to located.
-Can't even plant flowers in the empty beds that line the southern end (Queen St.)
-Can't even repair the flower bed borders.

I honestly don't know what the plan is for Nathan Phillips but considering that this is a major tourist destination and city hall it's absolutely disappointing that they can't even maintain or improve the area. I don't think any city in the world has such a shabby landscape for a city hall than Toronto. Heck even Mel Lastman Square is far far better than Nathan Phillips in terms of maintenance and landscaping.
NPS is an eye-score. To clean it up would be an affront to Torontonians. The shabbier things are, the happier they are.
 

AnnetteMeetsJane

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Walking back through NPS from Massey Hall on Friday night, (North->South) NPS initially was attractive, colourful and full of people talking pictures and hanging out.
The area between NPS and Queen St. Is much darker and with numerous large empty planters devoid of planting - not attractive.
Then one of the largest rats I have ever seen fearlessly ran across the path right in front of me, inches from multiple people and disappeared into one of the many rat holes in the grass. Apparently the city doesn’t even try to control vermin on its own property. Is there a bylaw that covers this?
 

Mystic Point

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It’s all about managed decline. If the political elite are making twice the amount on the way down than they made on the way up, the system is working perfectly. —Adam Curtis
 

smably

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It’s all about managed decline. If the political elite are making twice the amount on the way down than they made on the way up, the system is working perfectly. —Adam Curtis
I'm not saying I disagree, but this maybe seems like a topic to explore on your podcast/blog/twitter rather than in the shabby public realm thread? But hey, if you have solutions, I'm all ears.
 

nstuch

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How I wish there was a politician willing to campaign on this and get the citizens behind this so things can be fixed. It's rather embarrassing at this point.
why would there be though, the issue of shabby public realm isn't even on the radar of 99% of the population. When have you ever seen a news article about the topic, or even a discussion on any Toronto social media threads? heck, even on urbantoronto it's buried in the obscure Politics (Toronto Issues) thread!
 

DSC

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why would there be though, the issue of shabby public realm isn't even on the radar of 99% of the population. When have you ever seen a news article about the topic, or even a discussion on any Toronto social media threads? heck, even on urbantoronto it's buried in the obscure Politics (Toronto Issues) thread!
I would say that the Fixer column in the Star is one that often deals with specific examples of 'shabby public realm'. The problem is that examples are often treated as one-offs and not the result of systemic problems and silos.
 

Mystic Point

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why would there be though, the issue of shabby public realm isn't even on the radar of 99% of the population. When have you ever seen a news article about the topic, or even a discussion on any Toronto social media threads? heck, even on urbantoronto it's buried in the obscure Politics (Toronto Issues) thread!
In a parade of recycled articles, they declare Toronto one of the best cities in the world. Given the endless propaganda, why would apathetic citizenry think otherwise?
 

nstuch

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There is much to improve in Toronto's public realm; and there are certainly lots of two steps forward, one step back moments which can be disheartening.........but this statement is really too much.

This is Toronto:

View attachment 401947

There are equally and more lovely streetscapes to be seen in the St. Lawrence area, Bloor Street, Yorkville Avenue, St. George Street and Queen's Quay among others. Nuance is an important thing.

Photo taken May 20, 2022, by Moi


for every one of those, there's one of these
IMG_6625.JPG
IMG_6627.JPG
 

Northern Light

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for every one of those, there's one of these
View attachment 408334View attachment 408336

I don't recall arguing that the City was perfect or near perfect or that there aren't elements of the public realm in particular that are neglected.

In point of fact, I write reviews in the Problematic Park design thread that show such examples all too frequently.

What I was first noting here is that I don't have time for one-sided apocalyptic negativity. It doesn't accurately represent the City as it is; nor does it fairly compare us with any other.

Clearly there are people in the City bureaucracy, as well as BIAs, landlords and others who care about the public realm, and it shows.

What we have a problem with in this regard is consistency, both in well executed design and in maintenance of same.

The answers to this are clear, we need to hound those responsible to do better, with concrete examples of what that looks like; and we need to get neglected spaces the attention they deserve.

I dislike posts that seem obsessed with negativity and lack any value-add.

****

That photo is just off Queen, just west of Woodbine, Councillor Bradford's territory, please avail yourself of his contact info below, and share the location of the problem and the photo.

Phone: 416-338-2755
Email: Councillor_Bradford@toronto.ca

Additionally, the Beach BIA has been extended to cover this area and has done work on boulevard flanks elsewhere. You should ask if they would be open to maintain this location and copy them on any email.

Paul Bieksa is their Executive Director, he can be reached at 416-693-2242 or you can email social@thebeachvillage.com
 

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