Besides the new condos and college buildings that we reported on yesterday, 2011 was a big year in Toronto for new public outdoor destinations, and for major new grocery stores. We asked you what your favourites were, and here's what you told us.
WaterfrontToronto's efforts to improve our lakeside lands continue to receive your stamp of approval. 2010 saw favourites Sugar Beach and Sherbourne Common South open, while 2011 saw repeated success, this time at Sherbourne Common North. For 34% of you, it was your favourite new outdoor space in Toronto, and a big reason for that are Jill Anholt's Light Shower fountains, pictured above, set amongst a creative landscape by Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg. The park was also recently named as one of the world's best new parks by The Atlantic magazine's Atlantic Cities blog.
After 3 years of work, the Bloor Street Revitalization initiated by the Bloor-Yorkville Business Improvement Area was opened. Designed by architectsAlliance with Brown + Storey Architects, the granite sidewalks, benches and planters, stuffed to bursting with changing greenery and flowers throughout the year, was the favourite new outdoor space for 31% of you, a close second! We love the way the trees are uplit at nighttime too, and look forward to the London Plane Trees growing tall along this stretch, making it even more welcoming over the coming years.
Evergreen Brick Works, sitting beside the Bayview Extension in the Don Valley, has had less attention on UrbanToronto than it deserves. While that is something which we hope to address in 2012, it did not stop 22% of of you from voting for it as your favourite new outdoor space in Toronto. The site, which has been evolving over the last 15 years from an industrial site to a public park and event centre dedicated to green initiatives, saw the opening of buildings, artworks, and outdoor facilities, both new and readapted, by Diamond + Schmitt Architects and Ferruccio Sardella in 2010 and 2011.
While those three projects grabbed the vast majority of the votes in their category, in the next category one grocery store, rather unsuprisingly, grabbed the vast majority of votes all on its own.
Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens grabbed 72% of votes for the best new grocery store, something anyone who has stepped inside knew had to happen. The 85,000 square foot store on the ground floor of the readapted Maple Leaf Gardens has raised the bar for food retailing in Toronto, with huge sections dedicated to prepared meals and desserts, a full-fledged in-store Ace Bakery, an LCBO and a Joe Fresh, a Sushi Bar, and many other tweaked sections and services, all within a striking new design by Sydney Australia's Landini Associates.
So successful is this new design in fact that our second place finisher in this category, with 9% of the votes, is a 45,000 square foot version of the same; the 2-days younger Loblaws at Queen and Portland streets. Will Loblaws' upcoming Lake Shore and Bathurst location feature a similar plan? It would be crazy for it not to be as good as these two stores.
In third place, and many kilometres to the west, American high-end food retailer Whole Foods breaks Loblaws' stranglehold on our supermarket satisfaction with their new location at Square One Missisauga with 4% of the votes.
You can get a better look at most of the projects above in our dataBase listings, linked below, and you can get in on the discussion in the associated Projects and Construction forum threads.
With our next article we will review what you are most anticipating for Toronto in 2012, the category which turned out to be the most popular of our year end polls. Stay tuned!