News   Mar 01, 2024
 1.3K     2 
News   Mar 01, 2024
 2.4K     0 
News   Mar 01, 2024
 743     0 

University Avenue - Toronto's Grand Avenue?

The (in)famous fountain on University is being worked on now. Hopefully operational this summer?
 
[/QUOTE]But that's not why I posted. Since you were mentioning train stations we should compares apples with apples. I thought it would be fair to bring up Toronto's main train station - Union Station. There is a lot of money being invested inside and outside the station. The covering outside the building was recently taken down - the building is stunning when seen from Front Street. I have read that there are now plans to have some outdoor food stuff in the plaza along Front Street. The subway station is looking really good at platform level - huge improvement from before, although that isn't saying much. And the work on Front Street is looking promising and adds a much more human element to the street.[/QUOTE]

It is a bit disappointing, that there won't be any trees in the plaza in front of the station, I find it will look a bit stark when completed.
 
Apparently, particularly in the context of this thread and the yearly questions about the Queen/University fountain (now going on 5 years; or has it been miraculously completed without me noticing?)

I've been in Toronto for 7 years and belive it's been broken since I've arrived.
 
Did they replace the tiling or simply paint the concrete foundation blue? If the latter, won't it fade within a few years and need to be repainted?
 
The point of showing it was to show how even a square in front of a station which is important in Amsterdam is more impressive than what we got. With a name like Canada Square, you would think it would be more grand. Imagine telling someone you're taking them to Canada Square, they would probably be underwhelmed after seeing it. You would expect for a more significant landmark.

Now if you were to say Amsterdam is a world leader in urban space design, I wouldn't argue with that. I mean even their airport has a nice public square in front of it. To imply that you are a world leader means that you are going above what others are doing. I just don't see that here in Toronto. Sure we are improving and getting some recognition, but we just ain't there yet. This is why I found fault with the article. Sometimes we need to humble ourselves and learn from what others are doing in order to improve.

It's not that Amsterdam is so far ahead. Toronto is just really far behind.

I remember posting this image before, this is the downtown streetcar in the industrial Polish city of Katowice:

WuywKnU.jpg


Katowice is a fairly large city, but it is not at all comparable to Toronto and the city's budget is minuscule in comparison. It is a post-industrial city like Toronto with little cultural or historical heritage to draw from and the city receives next to no tourism compared to other cities in the region. Katowice is a city in a country recovering from socialism.

Yet, they build that kind of streetscape in their downtown core and all kinds of beautiful plazas, city squares and streetscapes that certainly puts Toronto's best to shame. Katowice is a cash-starved, industrial, post-communist city in Poland. Toronto is a burgeoning metropolis with the economy of a small-sized country.

I only draw from Katowice as my father is originally from there and I visited it last summer and they were actively constructing their new city square in the heart of downtown while I was there. The point is that this is the standard in Europe.

I think ksun makes his points overzealously much of the time. Despite what he says, Queens Quay is a great project for North American standards. But he is right about one thing. Our standards, values and expectations for our public spaces and streetscapes pail in comparison to even just the most basic expectations of backwater European cities, let alone the other world cities that we ought to be comparing ourselves to.
 
Last edited:
It's not that Amsterdam is so far ahead. Toronto is just really far behind.

I remember posting this image before, this is the downtown streetcar in the industrial Polish city of Katowice:

Katowice is a fairly large city, but it is not at all comparable to Toronto and the city's budget is minuscule in comparison. It is a post-industrial city like Toronto with little cultural or historical heritage to draw from and the city receives next to no tourism compared to other cities in the region. Katowice is a city in a country recovering from socialism.

Yet, they build that kind of streetscape in their downtown core and all kinds of beautiful plazas, city squares and streetscapes that certainly puts Toronto's best to shame. Katowice is a cash-starved, industrial, post-communist city in Poland. Toronto is a burgeoning metropolis with the economy of a small-sized country.

I only draw from Katowice as my father is originally from there and I visited it last summer and they were actively constructing their new city square in the heart of downtown while I was there. The point is that this is the standard in Europe.

I think ksun makes his points overzealously much of the time. Despite what he says, Queens Quay is a great project for North American standards. But he is right about one thing. Our standards, values and expectations for our public spaces and streetscapes pail in comparison to even just the most basic expectations of backwater European cities, let alone the other world cities that we ought to be comparing ourselves to.

Great post. More people, and especially our municipal politicians, need to understand this. They (City Council) ought to be forced to observe what is going on around the world, in this regard, so that they can gain a greater perspective, and hopefully be convinced that we should up our standards. We always find excuses in this city to not go the extra mile when it comes to our public spaces. In fact, we always look for ways to justify spending the bare minimum. We're so obsessed with our self-proclaimed 'world classiness', yet we stubbornly refuse to match the bravado and hubris with a public realm that reflects that notion.
 
Indeed. And just to add, while we may not have nice 4-storey European buildings on our streets, there is absolutely no reason why King, Queen, Adelaide, Richmond, Wellington can't look like the above.
 
I think ksun makes his points overzealously much of the time. Despite what he says, Queens Quay is a great project for North American standards. But he is right about one thing. Our standards, values and expectations for our public spaces and streetscapes pail in comparison to even just the most basic expectations of backwater European cities, let alone the other world cities that we ought to be comparing ourselves to.

Absolutely agree. Go visit the "World Class" thread, though. If those views are indicative of the decision makers in this city then it's no wonder Toronto continues to take baby steps. The standards are low..and maybe because we're only comparing Toronto to other Canadian cities and not other world class international cities.
 
It's not that Amsterdam is so far ahead. Toronto is just really far behind.

I remember posting this image before, this is the downtown streetcar in the industrial Polish city of Katowice:

Katowice is a fairly large city, but it is not at all comparable to Toronto and the city's budget is minuscule in comparison. It is a post-industrial city like Toronto with little cultural or historical heritage to draw from and the city receives next to no tourism compared to other cities in the region. Katowice is a city in a country recovering from socialism.

Yet, they build that kind of streetscape in their downtown core and all kinds of beautiful plazas, city squares and streetscapes that certainly puts Toronto's best to shame. Katowice is a cash-starved, industrial, post-communist city in Poland. Toronto is a burgeoning metropolis with the economy of a small-sized country.

I only draw from Katowice as my father is originally from there and I visited it last summer and they were actively constructing their new city square in the heart of downtown while I was there. The point is that this is the standard in Europe.

I think ksun makes his points overzealously much of the time. Despite what he says, Queens Quay is a great project for North American standards. But he is right about one thing. Our standards, values and expectations for our public spaces and streetscapes pail in comparison to even just the most basic expectations of backwater European cities, let alone the other world cities that we ought to be comparing ourselves to.[/b


The bar is set so low here that even the most stuff here which in places in Europe is the expected norm is so hyped up. Look at how some are comparing the Queens Quay Revitilization to the Champ Elysees. Instead of humbling ourselves and learning from other places which actually know how to build public spaces public realm, some delude ourselves into believing we are some world class leader. Look at the recent Globe and Mail article stating that we are a world leader in urban space design.

Absolutely agree. Go visit the "World Class" thread, though. If those views are indicative of the decision makers in this city then it's no wonder Toronto continues to take baby steps. The standards are low..and maybe because we're only comparing Toronto to other Canadian cities and not other world class international cities.

When some are comparing ourselves to the likes of Detroit and saying we are better than them, what else do you expect. I mean Detroit is the standard we should be adhering to.
 
The Queens Quay Revitalization is a great project. I think MetroMan summed it up best here:

You're missing the entire point. The groundwork has been laid and it *is* impressive.
The entire central waterfront has been given to people and transit with cars as an after thought. All the sidewalks have been done in cobblestone, unlike anywhere else in Toronto. I can't even think of anywhere in Canada that has that extensive use of cobblestone.
Trees were given conditions to thrive where their roots can expand freely allowing for large healthy trees. It'll take time for them to grow into the majestic canopies we see in the renderings but in just a few years, they'll be quite large already.
Underground, the infrastructure that has been built will prevent water runoff from going into the lake. In our generation, Toronto harbour will be swimable!
The highest standard of communications infrastructure has been put in allowing for businesses and jobs of the future to locate on Toronto's waterfront.
Waterfront Toronto has built a highly attractive waterfront street that will attract private investment. It already has in the billions of private dollars. You'll begin seeing the value of storefronts going up and as a result, high quality businesses opening up in those store fronts. Instead of dry cleaners and sandwich shops, it's likely that the world class restaurant entrepreneurs of Toronto will flock to Queens Quay.
The street was the bait and now we watch as private sector takes it and runs with it.

We did a great job on QQ and we will reap the benefits as private sector investment takes over for all the reasons MetroMan alludes to, however, I think the issue here is that we are placing QQ on some high pedestal, saying this is what we should aspire to because currently we have nothing else like it. No, that is wrong way to think about it. The QQ Revitalization should be the standard, the minimum of expectations that a great city like Toronto should expect on an important downtown street.

We are not setting the bar high enough.
 

Back
Top