MEC Queen Street (Mountain Equipment Coop) | 21m | 3s | Parallax | Sweeny &Co

SunriseChampion

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The execution is appalling and I'm in no way defending this turd, but the 'blank wall' / 'not-activated' treatment was something that was actively pushed for by the City. Not even kidding...
Yes, as a blank canvas.

I'm telling you, this is all by design.
 

FHM16

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I live right next to this place. While it is a slight step up on the Parkin lot, this thing is still an abomination. On top of that, the green p isn't even operating as a green p. They've covered over the sign, and don't actually follow the posted rates there, no overnight parking as there is supposed to be. At least the old parking lot was convenient for visitors!
 

irishboy

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It's not only ugly, it's completely unaware of its surroundings. It's a big box store in the middle of Queen West for chrissakes! This street is known for its low rise human scale storefronts.

The most frustrating and frankly enraging part of this is that this was completely avoidable. They spent money designing a building that pretends to be multiple smaller storefronts but failed spectacularly. This isn't a budget problem, it's one of incompetence. Had they had a designer with awareness of the neighbourhood, they could've easily made 3 distinct frontages with slightly differing materials and shapes to accomplish what they set out to do.

Then you have the east facing blank wall. It's like the architect just sat in a studio completely unaware of where this was going. This is a street corner building and that blank wall isn't just some side alleyway, it's facing directly at Queen West. This is what patrons at the Black Bull have to stare at:

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At the very least, if they needed that to be a blank wall, they could've animated it like they did on the King Street facade. Wooden awnings with a bike repair station and bike racks would've been far better than a blank wall. Add some ivy at least. What this shows is that MEC doesn't care about the neighbourhood. They've long ago lost their soul and they're going to disappear because of it.
Sorry to open up old wounds but it's totally unacceptable for a building like this to be built in this location. I like MetroMan's idea to at least use ivy to cover the side of the building which faces Soho Street. At a minimum, it will salvage an eyesore and, at best it may even look quite good. My question though, is this doable and does this directive need to come from MEC or the city? I am unfamiliar with how to go about pushing for this type of change but would be happy to do what I can. I will start with a call to Joe Cressy and see where that takes me but if anyone has any other suggestions, I am all ears.

Even if it results in no changes, hopefully it gives them pause to be more thorough when approving things in the future. Something like this should NOT happen especially in areas like Queen Street West. Vogue once voted it the second coolest neighborhood on the planet! Pretty hard to keep your cool card when you have dull, big box stores in the heart of the neighborhood. :(
 

ProjectEnd

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The 'blank' treatment of the east facade was mandated by the City. This is not to say that Sweeny rose to the challenge, but the inanimate wall was a City decree.
 

Northern Light

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The 'blank' treatment of the east facade was mandated by the City. This is not to say that Sweeny rose to the challenge, but the inanimate wall was a City decree.
What was the reasoning for that?
 

Northern Light

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To protect the R Zone / Neighbourhoods to the north. It is believed that having commercial uses on anything but the Queen Street frontage represents a threat to the residential neighbourhoods above.
I'm a little confounded by that rationale.

So many wonderful areas in this city, primarily SFH in nature used to have corner stores; and a ton have mainstreet retail where a patio runs up the side.

Those things are generally seen as positives.

Regardless, the building itself is there and clearly not SFH; a blank wall does not improve its fit into the character of the area to the north in anyway.

***

I realize you're just relating the City's rationale, TY for that. Just venting that I think the City is out to lunch.
 

bilked

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To protect the R Zone / Neighbourhoods to the north. It is believed that having commercial uses on anything but the Queen Street frontage represents a threat to the residential neighbourhoods above.
Unless of course the commercial activity you'd like to engage in is renting out parking spots and your name is the TPA. Then go right ahead!
I'm sure the residents of Bulwer Street appreciate how Planning fought assiduously for their right to stare into a blank wall.
Beyond absurd.
 

MetroMan

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I am unfamiliar with how to go about pushing for this type of change but would be happy to do what I can. I will start with a call to Joe Cressy and see where that takes me but if anyone has any other suggestions, I am all ears.
In this city, and specially in Joe Cressy’s ward, sometimes you just have to give up on waiting for city hall to do anything and do it yourself. Some guerrilla gardening might be the solution. Holes drilled in the sidewalk along the wall, deep into the soil below, with ivy planted in the holes, will do its thing unattended. Unless they’re on top of it and pull the ivy out, the whole wall will be covered in a season. Climbing vines can be pretty aggressive. My morning glories took over my patio and inadvertently, my neighbours patio, in a single summer.
 

MetroMan

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I walked by and will concede that with the trees on SoHo growing out, the building’s ugly side is softening up a bit. They planted several trees close enough to the wall that in time they’ll sort of act like the ivy I suggested.

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That said, this is still a big box store on Queen St and that’s unforgivable. This should never have been allowed by the city and the councillor (Joe Cressy) and certainly MEC themselves should have known better to design a store that integrated with the neighbourhood. The King St store was just as large but had a lower profile its the sidewalk presence.
 

WeirdFishes

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I walked by and will concede that with the trees on SoHo growing out, the building’s ugly side is softening up a bit. They planted several trees close enough to the wall that in time they’ll sort of act like the ivy I suggested.
It's too bad the trees won't hide that inexcusable building for over 6 months of the year.
 

MetroMan

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It's too bad the trees won't hide that inexcusable building for over 6 months of the year.
Then I direct you to my ivy post above. I had a glance and my idea is even more viable than I thought. There seem to be silva cells under that sidewalk that were put in place for the trees. A little cut out at the base of the wall with some climbing ivy would cover the wall in no time. They'd be watered by the nearby irrigation for the trees. Anybody have a concrete saw? 😏
 

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