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Yonge-Dundas Square/Sankofa Square (Brown + Storey Architects)

I get how some see Yonge-Dundas as shabby and tacky. Perhaps that's becuase we reside here and see it on a daily basis. But from a tourists’ perspective, what do they see? I wonder if New Yorkers find Times Square tacky?

Personally I feel that Yonge Dundas is trying to be everything but doesn’t quite excell at any of them; a Times Square, a event hosting venue, a public park/square.

I hope nothing - because there is nothing there that is worth their times or eyes. It's an armpit of the city - and Times Square without New York or the excitement. It's embarrassing.

AoD
 
I get how some see Yonge-Dundas as shabby and tacky. Perhaps that's becuase we reside here and see it on a daily basis. But from a tourists’ perspective, what do they see? I wonder if New Yorkers find Times Square tacky?

Personally I feel that Yonge Dundas is trying to be everything but doesn’t quite excell at any of them; a Times Square, a event hosting venue, a public park/square.


If you ever go on youtube and see things like "my trip to Toronto" or "Toronto vlog", lots of tourist like it. It's not Times Square but people still like to go and check these places out. People get fascinated by a bustling area with preachers, buskers, and other types of street performers. The flashy billboards, and double decker tour buses ad to that ambience. Much to Alvino's despair, tourist like it.
 
If you ever go on youtube and see things like "my trip to Toronto" or "Toronto vlog", lots of tourist like it.

Lots of people eat at McDonalds. It's still crap food, that looks crap, tastes crap, smells crap and is bad for you to boot.

Just because some people like something doesn't mean we should do it.

It's not Times Square

Times Square has zero appeal as far as I'm concerned, so a rip off of a crassly commercialized, mostly barren landscape surrounded by mediocre architecture is next level awful.

People get fascinated by a bustling area with preachers, buskers, and other types of street performers.

Excepting the preachers, sure, we can keep random street artist, t-shirt hawker, a juggler and someone who plays sax really well.

The flashy billboards

Not a good feature.

and double decker tour buses ad to that ambience.

Double-decker buses are great, they belong in London

Much to Alvino's despair, tourist like it.

I won't speak for Alvin; but I would certainly join him in his disdain for the space and its surroundings; despair would be overkill though. .
 
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Lots people eat at McDonalds. It's still crap food, that looks crap, tastes crap, smells crap and is bad for you to boot.

Just because some people like something doesn't mean we should do it.


You're entitled to your opinion, but lots of people like McDonalds and it sells.

If something sells, the market sort of dictates its place.
 
If you ever go on youtube and see things like "my trip to Toronto" or "Toronto vlog", lots of tourist like it. It's not Times Square but people still like to go and check these places out. People get fascinated by a bustling area with preachers, buskers, and other types of street performers. The flashy billboards, and double decker tour buses ad to that ambience. Much to Alvino's despair, tourist like it.

Because they don't know better, and apparently some forum members as well.

AoD
 
Love or hate it, Times Square sure does have some spectacular 3D billboards. Tourists go there for the street performers, visuals, and to people watch. They aren't there for the architecture or the food. You got hundreds of other streets in NYC for that.


Y&D could use some updated 3d billboards like this. It's Toronto's tourist trap central, that will never change.

 
Love or hate it, Times Square sure does have some spectacular 3D billboards. Tourists go there for the street performers, visuals, and to people watch. They aren't there for the architecture or the food. You got hundreds of other streets in NYC for that.


Y&D could use some updated 3d billboards like this. It's Toronto's tourist trap central, that will never change.



Very well said, and let me ad this:

What else are you going to put there??? Green space like the article suggest? It doesn't fit at all with the area. Go over to the island for green space (or Jesse Ketchum Park....lol)

It's a commercial area for God sake...lol. It's a nice place just to stop, sit down, have a street sausage but still feel like you're in an urban setting. As you stated, I think if we're going to do this, we should be doing everything possible to make it more like Time Square. If we're going to do it, do it right.
 
What else are you going to put there???

Lets start by saying that I think the City has much more important things to attend to than a YDS redux. Some minor tweaks could be made, for now, to make it just a tad less.......well, the way it is......... But a true fix, which has to include the surrounding buildings, would be an enormous and expensive effort.

But to throw out my fantasy, let's start on the north side of Dundas. Tear the entire Yonge-Victoria-Dundas-Gould block down, there's nothing redeeming there.

Rebuild the original O'Keefe Brewery in the north-east quadrant of the block, as a working micro-brewery, with modern environmental standards, and a design that's suited to tours and such, but otherwise as close to the original as practical.

Rebuild the Empress hotel at Yonge-Gould as a working boutique hotel

Rebuild the Biltmore Cinema with original marquee to its south, but create a new, compatible south elevation that would give it additional screens and an animated retail frontage on both Yonge and Dundas; then set the building just a bit further back from Dundas allowing for an iconic streetcar stop canopy and a row of high quality street trees.

To the south, kick Shopper's out of that nice heritage building and create a restaurant worthy of that space whose patio can spill out onto YDS.

To the east, remove that ghastly City-TV / Torch building, not sure on any replacement structure there.

To to the west, restore the original Dundas Arcade entrance to the Toronto Eaton Centre. All of it, including the hanging gardens.

Now we can get to YDS.

Remove the Green P underneath, revenue-loss be damned.

Remove the canopy on the Dundas frontage which just cuts it off from the street.

Replace the canopy with a single row of trees in super high quality, high soil volume planters with irrigation.

Go with the same planting concept on the south side.

Plant Sugar Maple (with good enough soil conditions and moisture and minimal salt, they should be able to work and be healthy, and there's your iconic Canadiana for the tourists, two rows of Sugar Maple frame the square and give off the vibrant red colour in the fall.

Uplight the trees at night.

On the north side of Dundas and on Victoria, plant Aspen giving off a vibrant yellow framing the red.

Leave the centre of the square open except for a better proportioned, scaled and graded stage that doesn't feel so ugly or obtrusive but still allows large performances.

Incorporate a snow-melt system, so the square is entirely free of salt, snow and slush in the winter.

Lose the current water feature. It's not a value-add. Incorporate 5-seasons of annuals into a few select planters (less is more, don't clutter, but make sure the square feels inviting year round.). Bright Red Tulips in Spring, Warm native Sunflowers and Bergamot it the summer; (purple and yellow); Mums in the early fall, flowering Kale in the winter, mixed with Red Osier Dogwood twigs.

Allow any restaurant facing the square, with a special license to serve people at tables in the square.

There, and all for under 2 Billion. You're welcome.
 
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I get how some see Yonge-Dundas as shabby and tacky. Perhaps that's becuase we reside here and see it on a daily basis. But from a tourists’ perspective, what do they see? I wonder if New Yorkers find Times Square tacky?

Personally I feel that Yonge Dundas is trying to be everything but doesn’t quite excell at any of them; a Times Square, a event hosting venue, a public park/square.
Couldn’t agree more, I think they are trying to hard to be everything but that’s why they can’t complete any ideas and it ends looking like well we all know…
 
I for one would love to see a grand water feature instead of the water jets, something like what is at Berczy Park or Chicago's Crown Fountain at Millennium Park...but the city lacks imagination and is too cheap with maintenance.
 
I for one would love to see a grand water feature instead of the water jets, something like what is at Berczy Park or Chicago's Crown Fountain at Millennium Park...but the city lacks imagination and is too cheap with maintenance.

I'm not opposed to the idea; I like grand water features; but I don't see it as consistent with having a stage, a grand fountain would obstruct public gathering space and sightlines. I could go either way, but I figured the stage might be more apt at this spot.
 
Lets start by saying that I think the City has much more important things to attend to than a YDS redux. Some minor tweaks could be made, for now, to make it just a tad less.......well, the way it is......... But a true fix, which has to include the surrounding buildings, would be an enormous and expensive effort.

But to throw out my fantasy, let's start on the north side of Dundas. Tear the entire Yonge-Victoria-Dundas-Gould block down, there's nothing redeeming there.

Rebuild the original O'Keefe Brewery in the north-east quadrant of the block, as a working micro-brewery, with modern environmental standards, and a design that's suited to tours and such, but otherwise as close to the original as practical.

Rebuild the Empress hotel at Yonge-Gould as a working boutique hotel

Rebuild the Biltmore Cinema with original marquee to its south, but create a new, compatible south elevation that would give it additional screens and an animated retail frontage on both Yonge and Dundas; then set the building just a bit further back from Dundas allowing for an iconic streetcar stop canopy and a row of high quality street trees.

To the south, kick Shopper's out of that nice heritage building and create a restaurant worthy of that space whose patio can spill out onto YDS.

To the east, remove that ghastly City-TV / Torch building, not sure on any replacement structure there.

To to the west, restore the original Dundas Arcade entrance to the Toronto Eaton Centre. All of it, including the hanging gardens.

Now we can get to YDS.

Remove the Green P underneath, revenue-loss be damned.

Remove the canopy on the Dundas frontage which just cuts if off from the street.

Replace the canopy with a single row of trees in super high quality, high soil volume planters with irrigation.

Go with the same planting concept on the south side.

Plant Sugar Maple (with good enough soil conditions and moisture and minimal salt, they should be able to work and be healthy, and there's your iconic Canadiana for the tourists, two rows of Sugar Maple frame the square and give off the vibrant red colour in the fall.

Uplight the trees at night.

On the north side of Dundas and on Victoria, plant Aspen giving off a vibrant yellow framing the red.

Leave the centre of the square open except for a better proportioned, scaled and graded stage that doesn't feel so ugly or obtrusive but still allows large performances.

Incorporate a snow-melt system, so the square is entirely free of salt, snow and slush in the winter.

Lose the current water feature. It's not a value-add. Incorporate 5-seasons of annuals into a few select planters (less is more, don't clutter, but make sure the square feels inviting year round.). Bright Red Tulips in Spring, Warm native Sunflowers and Bergamot it the summer; (purple and yellow); Mums in the early fall, flowering Kale in the winter, mixed with Red Osier Dogwood twigs.

Allow any restaurant facing the square, with a special license to serve people at tables in the square.

There, and all for under 2 Billion. Your'e welcome.
I like all of this, how do we get it done? Lol. Especially the brewery, that always struck me as a big loss. Toronto doesn't have any of its historic breweries anymore, what a draw that would be, especially with the mainstream popularity of craft beer.

20161122-yonge-dundas-1960s.jpg


I've always loved this shot and the "what if" possibilities it brings.
 
I like all of this, how do we get it done? Lol.

Elect someone prepared to fork out the $$ as expropriating that block will be costly. I'm also not clear on the City's ability to expropriate from TMU; should they lack that ability they will have to 'incent' cooperation.

Nothing I proposed is technically challenging, rebuilding Notre Dame this is not.

Its just a matter of political will and the money.
 
Lets start by saying that I think the City has much more important things to attend to than a YDS redux. Some minor tweaks could be made, for now, to make it just a tad less.......well, the way it is......... But a true fix, which has to include the surrounding buildings, would be an enormous and expensive effort.

But to throw out my fantasy, let's start on the north side of Dundas. Tear the entire Yonge-Victoria-Dundas-Gould block down, there's nothing redeeming there.

Rebuild the original O'Keefe Brewery in the north-east quadrant of the block, as a working micro-brewery, with modern environmental standards, and a design that's suited to tours and such, but otherwise as close to the original as practical.

Rebuild the Empress hotel at Yonge-Gould as a working boutique hotel

Rebuild the Biltmore Cinema with original marquee to its south, but create a new, compatible south elevation that would give it additional screens and an animated retail frontage on both Yonge and Dundas; then set the building just a bit further back from Dundas allowing for an iconic streetcar stop canopy and a row of high quality street trees.

To the south, kick Shopper's out of that nice heritage building and create a restaurant worthy of that space whose patio can spill out onto YDS.

To the east, remove that ghastly City-TV / Torch building, not sure on any replacement structure there.

To to the west, restore the original Dundas Arcade entrance to the Toronto Eaton Centre. All of it, including the hanging gardens.

Now we can get to YDS.

Remove the Green P underneath, revenue-loss be damned.

Remove the canopy on the Dundas frontage which just cuts it off from the street.

Replace the canopy with a single row of trees in super high quality, high soil volume planters with irrigation.

Go with the same planting concept on the south side.

Plant Sugar Maple (with good enough soil conditions and moisture and minimal salt, they should be able to work and be healthy, and there's your iconic Canadiana for the tourists, two rows of Sugar Maple frame the square and give off the vibrant red colour in the fall.

Uplight the trees at night.

On the north side of Dundas and on Victoria, plant Aspen giving off a vibrant yellow framing the red.

Leave the centre of the square open except for a better proportioned, scaled and graded stage that doesn't feel so ugly or obtrusive but still allows large performances.

Incorporate a snow-melt system, so the square is entirely free of salt, snow and slush in the winter.

Lose the current water feature. It's not a value-add. Incorporate 5-seasons of annuals into a few select planters (less is more, don't clutter, but make sure the square feels inviting year round.). Bright Red Tulips in Spring, Warm native Sunflowers and Bergamot it the summer; (purple and yellow); Mums in the early fall, flowering Kale in the winter, mixed with Red Osier Dogwood twigs.

Allow any restaurant facing the square, with a special license to serve people at tables in the square.

There, and all for under 2 Billion. Your'e welcome.

Some of these are good ideas, but how about we stick to what's realistic?
 

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