News   Jul 30, 2021
 5.5K     9 
News   Jul 30, 2021
 247     0 
News   Jul 30, 2021
 847     0 

Yonge-Dundas Square (Brown + Storey Architects)

ptbotrmpfn

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Messages
1,340
Reaction score
381
Curious what people feel the square is lacking. Other then maybe some more greenery in the summer time
 

Lyphe

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 18, 2013
Messages
318
Reaction score
299
Location
Toronto
Curious what people feel the square is lacking. Other then maybe some more greenery in the summer time

I'd get rid of that giant stage/concert contraption for starters.
I understand the spirit of it, but it shrinks the feel of the square and makes everything feel terribly cluttered.
Add some trees.
Close the street to the south and use that space for cafes.
 

picard102

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Messages
1,779
Reaction score
609
Location
Wilson Heights
I'd get rid of that giant stage/concert contraption for starters.
I understand the spirit of it, but it shrinks the feel of the square and makes everything feel terribly cluttered.
Add some trees.
Close the street to the south and use that space for cafes.

The parking and the laneway entrance come out onto that street.
 

ShonTron

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
10,742
Reaction score
4,377
Location
Ward 13 - Toronto Centre
I'd get rid of that giant stage/concert contraption for starters.
I understand the spirit of it, but it shrinks the feel of the square and makes everything feel terribly cluttered.
Add some trees.
Close the street to the south and use that space for cafes.

The street to the south (Dundas Square, originally part of Wilton Street) is staying, as that is where northbound traffic on Yonge (the tour buses, taxis/ridehailing, deliveries, etc.) will be directed to when Yonge is closed to motor vehicles between Dundas Square and Edward Street
 

condovo

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
Messages
3,302
Reaction score
4,877
Location
St. Lawrence
I hate the black granite, or whatever it is. Get rid of it. The square needs to be warmed up visually. Even dark brown granite would be better than black. Remember the embedded, colour-changing lights? Yeah, those worked for about a day. The canopy too, or whatever it is, is very heavy and inelegant. And the added electronic signage and branding "adornments" are laughable.

I don't think the square needs to be greened. It's a square after all, not a park. And those stupid, oversized, off-the-shelf planters they roll out in the summer along Yonge St. They're so half-assed and annoying, almost like the city's apologizing for the square not being a park. And why are they trying to block foot traffic on the sidewalk from spilling into the square anyway? Isn't that the whole point?

Better programming would be nice (post-Covid) too. I'd love to see a year-round farmers' market, for example. Enough with the Samsung product launches and marketing events and the like.

And a real Christmas tree and a decent-sized Hanukkah menorah next December too, please. Just more decorations overall. Why is this city so timid about Christmas? It's always mystified me. Americans and even Quebeckers go nuts over Christmas. And what about Diwali and Kwanzaa and other holidays?

I'd say the fountains is/are the only successful thing/s here.
 
Last edited:

AlvinofDiaspar

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
30,313
Reaction score
21,495
Location
Toronto
I hate the black granite, or whatever it is. Get rid of it. The square needs to be warmed up visually. Even dark brown granite would be better. Remember the embedded, colour-changing lights? Yeah, those worked for about a day. The canopy too, or whatever it is, is very heavy and inelegant. And the added electronic signage and branding "adornments" are laughable.

I don't think the square needs to be greened. It's a square after all, not a park. And those stupid, oversized, off-the-shelf planters they roll out in the summer along Yonge St. They're so half-assed and annoying, almost like the city's apologizing for the square not being a park. And why does the city want to block foot traffic from spilling out from the sidewalk onto the square anyway? Isn't that the whole purpose of the square to begin with?

Better programming would be nice (post-Covid) too. I'd love to see a year-round farmers' market, for example. Enough with the Samsung product launches and marketing events and the like.

And a real Christmas tree and a decent-sized Hanukkah menorah next December too, please. Just more decorations overall. Why is this city so timid about Christmas? It's always mystified me. Americans and even Quebeckers go nuts with Christmas decorations. And what about Diwali and Kwanzaa and other holidays?

I'd say the fountains are the only successful part of the square.

Agree with most of your points - the worst has got to be that cheapo looking canopy structure atop the underground garage entrance. I am "okay" with the black granite - my issue is the edge condition of the sidewalk. The square should be expanded to encompass that (and remove/replace all the extraenous poles in varying state of decay).

Another thing - make it a true public square - no themed, exclusive private events should be allowed.

AoD
 

Northern Light

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
13,559
Reaction score
24,512
Location
Toronto/EY
My thoughts begin with this picture of the Square from Streetview:

1612455577555.png


They follow by asking these questions:

1) Why do I want to come here?

2) Why do I want to stand here?

3) Why do I want to sit here?

4) Why do I want to stay here?

Want a successful space, answering those questions helps.

Lets compare to a successful space nearby, Nathan Phillips Square:

1) To see City Hall, To see the arches/fountain from Star Trek TNG (LOL); to enjoy the water feature, the farmer's market, take in programming, skate (in winter)

2/3) Lots of room to stand, lots of seats, options for full sun, and part-sun shade, views of new and old City Halls; lots of food vendors lined up along Queen (most aren't good, but I digress)

4) Feels like a people space, animated, lively, good to people watch.

*****

We cannot, nor should we seek to duplicate NPS at YDS.

But we can use the former to inform us on how we might make the latter a better space.

1) The space manages to feel small, without being intimate; and sparse without being large.

I would argue this flaw occurs due to the parking garage, and the canopy; along with the way in which the Square is furnished/landscaped.

The relationship to Dundas in particular, but also Victoria is too cut-off; which would be fine, if you wanted an intimate space; but then you can't have a barren, open central area that feels anything but.

I would therefore argue for removing the canopy. But I think must be tied to other improvements, including to Dundas Street which needs to be brought into the Square.

I would argue for alternative paving materials on Dundas from Yonge to Victoria that connect the North and South sides and make them and the street feel as though they belong to the square.

I would also suggest shifting the Eastbound streetcar stop to the square.

This may seen counter-intuitive, littering the place up w/commuters.

But I would argue that it provides a built-in source of animation (there will always be 10-50 people in that corner of the square.

2) I wouldn't clutter up the space with excess green space, but it does need more seating; and it does need some shade for some of that seating on a hot summer's day.

I would argue for a small number of trees replacing the canopy along Dundas.

The focus should be on quality, not quantity. 4-5 trees, each given copious amounts of soil, irrigation, a planter design which mitigates salt as an issue, and the right species is crucial.

I would argue for Red Oak.

They let a fair bit of light through, while providing shade; (there is the issue of acorns when they get bigger......but its only for a short-period each year).

They also spread nicely, have and have appealing form you can see, plus they turn a lovely shade of red in the fall, adding seasonal interest.

I would likewise replace the trees along the south side; they haven't done particularly well.

I think there should be fewer; and better. Replace in much better growing conditions, as noted above.

But I would also choose something that offers both a different colour/form than the trees on the north, and would allow clear views of the heritage buildings.

If I were feeling ambitious, I might like to see some Beech Trees here, as they retain golden-hewed leaves into the winter.

But they aren't the most urban tolerant, and good ones are hard to get, I think I might just settle for 2, yes just 2 Honey Locust, they can get quite large, but have a transparency about them, and would yield a nice yellow in the fall.

I would concentrate the seating between the trees at the edge of the square, allowing an open, central, programmable space.

3) Getting people to eat lunch here matters. With great respect to Shopper's Drug Mart, they need to leave. That whole face of heritage properties should provide a mix of to-go foods and patios than frame the square on the south and provide somewhere to grab a quick bite to eat.

4) Redevelopment of 10 Dundas would obviously be ideal; but short of the City expropriating that site for the second time, will have to wait. But some encouragement to line the ground level with out-ward facing food retail, big openable windows that bring any interior hubbub out.

5) Finally, create some repeatable, strategic programming. Special events are great, but as their timing and interest will vary, they may not create 'regulars'.

As opposed to a farmer's market; how about a Baker's market? Curated, with a focus on baked goods from around the world. Just once a week, come and sample and buy bread with its roots in East Asia or South Asia; Italy or Syria or France or Brazil.

How about a set-day for acoustic musical performances?

Just a (few) thoughts.
 
Last edited:

AlvinofDiaspar

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
30,313
Reaction score
21,495
Location
Toronto
I would actually argue for a semi-permanent stall or two selling seasonal drinks/snacks (including beer/wine). The north canopy would be the perfect location for it.

As to trees - I won't go into the specifics - but I think they are important/useful for setting up the boundary of the square itself. So it's less about vegetating the square - but vegetating the surrounding streets. Also mature trees in an urban setting creates an environment that draws people in automatically (plus help to moderate the noise level, have a beneficial impact on the microclimate - not to mention being a great place for lights in winter).

AoD
 
Last edited:

Towered

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
6,300
Reaction score
5,176
I hate the black granite, or whatever it is. Get rid of it. The square needs to be warmed up visually. Even dark brown granite would be better than black. Remember the embedded, colour-changing lights? Yeah, those worked for about a day. The canopy too, or whatever it is, is very heavy and inelegant. And the added electronic signage and branding "adornments" are laughable.

I don't think the square needs to be greened. It's a square after all, not a park. And those stupid, oversized, off-the-shelf planters they roll out in the summer along Yonge St. They're so half-assed and annoying, almost like the city's apologizing for the square not being a park. And why are they trying to block foot traffic on the sidewalk from spilling into the square anyway? Isn't that the whole point?

Better programming would be nice (post-Covid) too. I'd love to see a year-round farmers' market, for example. Enough with the Samsung product launches and marketing events and the like.

And a real Christmas tree and a decent-sized Hanukkah menorah next December too, please. Just more decorations overall. Why is this city so timid about Christmas? It's always mystified me. Americans and even Quebeckers go nuts over Christmas. And what about Diwali and Kwanzaa and other holidays?

I'd say the fountains is/are the only successful thing/s here.

Yes - that "blue globe" Christmas tree needs to unceremoniously tossed. It sucks. It's even worse than that LED tree the Eaton Centre had one year that everyone made fun of.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
30,313
Reaction score
21,495
Location
Toronto
Yes - that "blue globe" Christmas tree needs to unceremoniously tossed. It sucks. It's even worse than that LED tree the Eaton Centre had one year that everyone made fun of.

I wish they can create a series of animals - along the lines of the polar bear light sculptures.

AoD
 

Top