Bloor Street Revitalization | ?m | ?s | Bloor-Yorkville BIA | architectsAlliance

299 bloor call control.

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I hope there are plans to replace the seating that was in front of the blank wall of the Bay store. Movable seating with tables would be fantastic in that location. I also wonder if the hot dog vendors will be welcome back in that location... or if it will be a Toronto a la Cart location....
 

Tewder

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Comparing Bloor Street W. to Chicago's Magnificent Mile is just ridiculous. If you've ever been there you'd know why.

Why? I don't understand this. I could see you making this point with the Champs Elysees or 5th Ave or something but Chicago is absolutely not a 'ridiculous' point of comparison. If anything, Toronto should offer more: Chicago is a regional centre that vies with NYC and LA and other regional centres butToronto is a national centre in many regards; AND Toronto's luxury retail area is probably faring better right now. The fact that stores are expanding and ugrading here in this international economic climate is very telling about the relative health of the luxury retail market in Toronto. New high-end stores are opening and many more are just waiting for precious space along Bloor to open up.

This is not the time for Toronto's usual bleating of poverty/inferiority and it is getting more difficult to buy the typical excuses for mediocrity any more.

Except in this case - the private built environment cannot equate to the Magnificent Mile by a long shot. Context matters - and that's the Bloor Street has to contend with. You can make the public realm as pretty as you want, but up against illustrious pieces of architecture like the Hudson Bay complex, the effectiveness of those measures will be muted.\

And yes, the private realm is a failure of the private sector.

AoD

What comes first though the chicken or the egg: the lacklustre built form of Toronto's luxury retail area is a symptom not a cause. The fact that the Hudson Bay Company feels that their presence at Bloor/Yonge is 'okay' the way it is probably says it all.
 

taal

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Have you been to Chicago, not sure I agree that they have less in the way of high end retail.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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What comes first though the chicken or the egg: the lacklustre built form of Toronto's luxury retail area is a symptom not a cause. The fact that the Hudson Bay Company feels that their presence at Bloor/Yonge is 'okay' the way it is probably says it all.

Actually, given those buildings have been around for years (unlike this current round of public realm improvements), and the disproportionate impact it has on any urban design schema, I would say the lackluster architecture is more of a cause than anything else. Again, I bring up the Hudson Bay example - just what can the city do within the public realm that would improve the hideous bulk of the Royal Bank bunker, for example? That's on top of the physical constraints that is a relatively narrow ROW...

AoD
 

Hipster Duck

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Have you been to Chicago, not sure I agree that they have less in the way of high end retail.

Agreed. Toronto doesn't have a lot in the way of upscale, international retail chains. Stores, like freestanding Missoni, YSL, Jil Sander, Carolina Herrera outlets, etc. that are fixtures in most international and American cities are conspicuously absent in our city of 5 million.

Apart from Holt's and possibly Harry Rosen, upscale department stores are also a rarity. Most US cities of similar size would have a Neiman Marcus, Bloomies, Barney's and a Nordstrom for variety (whether downtown or in a suburban mall). Montreal has Ogilvy, Simons, Holt's and Les Ailes on the same strip. Maybe it's an English Canadian thing...
 

CharmAlarm

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Yes to all of the above U.S. department stores - where all of them (if not more) are represented on the Magnificent Mile. I think Tewder should make a little visit for a proper comparison before commenting. It's also a wider/grander street than Bloor with a traffic median with greenery at some spots and large planters along the sidewalk. Width wise it's narrower than University but wider than Bloor which adds to its 'maginficence'. :)
 
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Pfloyd

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Why? I don't understand this. I could see you making this point with the Champs Elysees or 5th Ave or something but Chicago is absolutely not a 'ridiculous' point of comparison. If anything, Toronto should offer more: Chicago is a regional centre that vies with NYC and LA and other regional centres butToronto is a national centre in many regards; AND Toronto's luxury retail area is probably faring better right now. The fact that stores are expanding and ugrading here in this international economic climate is very telling about the relative health of the luxury retail market in Toronto. New high-end stores are opening and many more are just waiting for precious space along Bloor to open up.

This is not the time for Toronto's usual bleating of poverty/inferiority and it is getting more difficult to buy the typical excuses for mediocrity any more.



What comes first though the chicken or the egg: the lacklustre built form of Toronto's luxury retail area is a symptom not a cause. The fact that the Hudson Bay Company feels that their presence at Bloor/Yonge is 'okay' the way it is probably says it all.

As I mentioned in post #617 on page 42, for those who have not been to the Magnificent Mile, it would help to check these 2 links:

http://www.themagnificentmile.com/Photo_Gallery/Default.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnificent_Mile

You would then realize that Bloor Street, the so called Mink Mile stretch is a joke compared to North Michigan Avenue; and this after Bloor's Revitalization Project is completed. Before this current work, it was just an embarrassment.
So, it is not about not aiming high (which we should), is that some of our standards are pretty low, otherwise the Bloor Revitalization Project would have been on a much more grander scale than what is being done so far.
 

Hipster Duck

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^While I don't agree with Tewder's assessment of Toronto's upscale retail market, he has made it pretty obvious that he thinks that Toronto should aim higher architecturally/aesthetically than it currently does and not use provincialism as an excuse to settle.

Pfloyd, while I sympathize with you about making Bloor Street look the best it possibly can, the current revitalization effort is about the best sidewalk replacement project that is humanly possible. To make the street any more of a showpiece would require luring better stores to house themselves in much grander buildings. Both of these are beyond the scope of a streetscaping project.
 

dt_toronto_geek

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Yes to all of the above U.S. department stores - where all of them (if not more) are represented on the Magnificent Mile. I think Tewdor should make a little visit for a proper comparison before commenting. It's also a wider/grander street than Bloor with a traffic median with greenery at some spots and large planters along the sidewalk. Width wise it's narrower than University but wider than Bloor which adds to its 'maginficence'. :)

That was my main point of reference, the wide avenues, super wide sidewalks adorned with lots of greenery and the surrounding architecture. N. Michigan Ave. is very engaging and extremely pleasant to walk along.
 

khris

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Here we are again comparing ourselves with what the U.S. has. Who cares what they have? We have an awesome city, and it's about time we realized that.
 

ProjectEnd

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'Awesome' though it may be, I see no harm critiquing that which isn't perfect. Toronto v. City-X comparisons are inevitable but they must be informed and reasoned rather than simple sycophantic, 'we are not worthy' pandering.
 

Torontovibe

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Here we are again comparing ourselves with what the U.S. has. Who cares what they have? We have an awesome city, and it's about time we realized that.

But we could be even more AWESOME if we just changed our thinking and decided that decent, wasn't good enough. How about being the best you can be and demanding excellent design. We are not a third rate city anymore, we need to have higher expectations.
 

khris

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I would say most of us do feel that way. It's the general public and older generation that are "comfortable", and don't want to see change.
 
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yyzhyd

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In Chicago the Mag. Mile's initial development was done as a "masterplan" after WWII and because the land ownership along the route was in the hands of a few people that could implement a "grand vision".
Bloor/Yorkville's history is very different from it's roots as a primarily residential area, to hippie hangout then finally after the 60s the area started to become the "Mink Mile". Unfortunately we didn't have the luxury of a masterplanned high-end shopping street not to mention that Chicago has had approx 40yr lead in the maturity of their "mile" compared to us.

We still should demand the best for our great city... but maturity takes time... us "older generation" know this to be true. ;)
 

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