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Yonge-Dundas Square (Brown + Storey Architects)

MetroMan

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The plan for Metropolis (10 Dunas East) was to include these kinds of tourist traps with Disney being the anchor tenant. The roof of the building was engineered to hold rides like a roller coaster and a drop zone type attraction. Virgin was also a tenant. Both dropped out when the original developer, PenEquity, proved incapable of building this thing on time.

I agree with Alvin on the need for a district wide theme. It's already part way there with the black YONGE posts and they attempted to spread a template on sidewalks that extended the granite from the square to stripes along Yonge but this didn't catch on or remain enforced. There are plans to redesign Yonge with wider sidewalks with a unified design.
 

44 North

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Would be very cool (and provide a lot of identity) if the City bought a vertical billboard tower, but in place of having the thing plastered with ads it were to instead become a living wall / vertical garden. From ground level a 100ft trellis of greenery and evergreens could become a quintessential tourist photo hotspot, and would mesh nicely alongside the flashy illuminated ads nearby.
 

DonValleyRainbow

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I thought I heard talk of making Yonge-Dundas a heritage sign district? The SAM sign is going up this summer, Honest Ed's is going up on the theatre down Victoria Street. What is becoming of the Hard Rock Cafe signage?

Billboards are interesting, but instead of copying NY Times Square, I think we can inject some Toronto history and dot the square with heritage signs from around the city as re-development occurs.
 

Skeezix

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The plan for Metropolis (10 Dunas East) was to include these kinds of tourist traps with Disney being the anchor tenant. The roof of the building was engineered to hold rides like a roller coaster and a drop zone type attraction. Virgin was also a tenant. Both dropped out when the original developer, PenEquity, proved incapable of building this thing on time.

Yes and no. I've seen that explanation in print elsewhere, but it's a bit more complicated than that. PenEquity actually delayed finalizing its plans as it wooed Disney - the delays were actually caused by Disney. Disney backed out when it abandoned the whole DisneyQuest urban concept after attendance at the Chicago location was lower than expected. As for Virgin, it didn't drop out because of the delays per se, but rather because it pulled out of Canada entirely. Virgin decided to stop trying to compete with HMV and abandoned Canada to focus its North American expansion efforts on the U.S. market (a market it would also abandon 2 or 3 years later). Virgin sold its one megastore in Canada, in Vancouver, to HMV. Now, had Metropolis been completed as was originally expected, and had Virgin opened a Toronto megastore as it had planned, would Virgin have abandoned Canada in 2005 as it did? Maybe not. Although given that they soon thereafter also closed all their U.S. stores, it seems to me that Virgin's pull-out from the project had more to do with Virgin itself than with PenEquity.
 

Bogtrotter

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It's too late for Toronto to implement a billboard ban like in São Paulo.

Perhaps Toronto can get some more tourist trap attractions around Yonge-Dundas Square, just like the area around Times Square.

Examples could include Nintendo Toronto (though Nintendo New York is a few blocks northeast of Times Square).

That's fine, but I think this discussion is more about the visual/aesthetic experience of the square and the surrounding buildings, something that will distinguish it from being just an underwhelming and cheesy imitation. The square itself was done quite well, perhaps executed a little clumsily as pointed out, but pretty good nonetheless. Where the area fails is in the space around it. What it lacks in my opinion is originality, I like 44North's thinking outside the box than just cluttering up the square itself with more signage. I would prefer something along the lines of large luminato art installations on tops of buildings and projections on the sides of buildings. I really dislike this private initiative to clutter up the square with more small tv screens a fixed to everything- all we'll get is a baby Times Square.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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Exactly, it's up to the private sector to provide the hyperkinetic visual experience - dumping some half-baked assemblage of screens onto the square basically contracted the design intent, which is to provide contrast. And it won't even be baby Times Square - it'd be some pathetic shadow of it.

AoD
 

jje1000

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It's too late for Toronto to implement a billboard ban like in São Paulo.

I would actually like a masterplan for signage in the Yonge-Dundas district- guidelines promoting better signage quality (more video, neon, kinetic, or even just architecturally-integrated signage) & building illumination in exchange for additional signage opportunities.

Granville Street in Vancouver is one example where the city encourages neon signage, and where the streetlighting is well designed to integrate with that neon.
 

EastYorkTTCFan

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Disney backed out when it abandoned the whole DisneyQuest urban concept after attendance at the Chicago location was lower than expected.
The only one that ever did see any decent attendance is now dwindling and is rumored to close too. It's on Walt Disney World property, the current rumor for it is tha an NBA themed restaurant will take it's place.
 

Johnny Au

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The only one that ever did see any decent attendance is now dwindling and is rumored to close too. It's on Walt Disney World property, the current rumor for it is tha an NBA themed restaurant will take it's place.
Apparently, LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, and the Splash Brothers (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (no relation to Tristan)) attract more people than DisneyQuest.
 

EastYorkTTCFan

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Apparently, LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, and the Splash Brothers (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (no relation to Tristan)) attract more people than DisneyQuest.
Maybe although it's tough to say as there used to be an NBA themed restaurant at Universal Florida that got closed because of lack of attendance and turned into a NBC sports themed restaurant. The problem is not everyone that travels to Orlando is a sports fan especially if they are visiting the them parks.
 

DonValleyRainbow

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I relly don't get why we need to save either of those signs, they have little significance to people under 40.

#1: it's about preserving a piece of history. #2: I'm under 30 and they're significant to me. #3: they're frickin sweet signs that light up! what's not to love?
 

Logan

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Speaking of signs, I think it's time to revisit these silly things. They look so dated.
yonge-downtown-sign-toronto-canada-c7c635.jpg
 

EastYorkTTCFan

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#1: it's about preserving a piece of history. #2: I'm under 30 and they're significant to me. #3: they're frickin sweet signs that light up! what's not to love?
It's nostalgia and both of them are old and will get lost amongst the other signs in Dundas Square anyway. Plus I think the Honest Eds sign will wreck the aesthetic of the there they are putting it on. If we want to keep them then put them in a museum not on some random buildings.
 

Bogtrotter

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I'm not sure what age 40 has to do with anything since people of all ages visit the square. It's not just nostalgia either, vintage signage can have historical value, particularly if they are representative of an era in a city's history. If anything some vintage signage would bring more legitimacy to this contrived little times square imitation.
 

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