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DEVELOPINGS: Annual review reflects tension between community activism and OMB

March 9th, 2016 · Comments Off on DEVELOPINGS: Annual review reflects tension between community activism and OMB

Our third survey of development projects in our coverage area highlights projects that interest us, trends that appall us, and elements that enthrall us. We favour innovative projects that connect with a neighbourhood’s built form, reflect community consultation, and meet the objectives of the City of Toronto’s Official Plan. We take a dim view of developers that do an end run around the process and appeal directly to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which demonstrates little respect for the city’s urban planning guidelines. And, we — once again — make an argument for razing the OMB. Please click on the image below to enlarge.

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Tags: Annex · News · Columns

NEWS: Break out the pink on April 13

March 9th, 2016 · Comments Off on NEWS: Break out the pink on April 13

By Brian Burchell

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Tags: Annex · News

U of T art museums unite under new name

February 2nd, 2016 · Comments Off on U of T art museums unite under new name

Two of the University of Toronto’s distinguished art galleries have merged to create one of the largest university-based art museums in the country. The Art Museum at the University of Toronto — previously the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the University of Toronto Art Centre — is also the second-largest museum-standard visual art museum and collection in the city, and will continue to occupy two close physical spaces at Hart House and University College. Sarah Robayo Sheridan has curated the art museum’s inaugural exhibition Showroom, which will showcase a diverse range of work from 48 artists all portraying the influence of lifestyle marketing on the cityscape.

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Tags: Annex · News · Arts · General

FORUM: Untapped potential

February 2nd, 2016 · Comments Off on FORUM: Untapped potential

Animating our local laneways

By Joe Cressy

Downtown communities like ours face unique challenges and countless opportunities. Almost every day, in conversations at our local coffee shops, in public meetings, and as we connect with our neighbours, we look for ways to work together to build our communities. We look for opportunities to enhance our parks, support our neighbours, and to create new public spaces.

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Tags: Annex · Columns · Opinion

Catching up with history

May 27th, 2014 · Comments Off on Catching up with history

Once completed, One Spadina Crescent will be a gateway that not only bridges the university to the community but the past to the future.  COURTESY?THE?DANIELS?CORPORATION

Once completed, One Spadina Crescent will be a gateway that not only bridges the university to the community but the past to the future.

One Spadina Crescent embraces the past and welcomes the future
By Annemarie Brissenden
With its grey facade looming eerily behind a chain-link fence, One Spadina Crescent seemed destined to become the ramshackle province of ghosts. Instead, the nineteenth-century Gothic revival building is undergoing an ambitious renovation that will transform it into the new home of the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.
The transformation will occur in two phases. The first, scheduled for completion at the end of this year, is the renovation of the existing building, once home to Knox College and Connaught Laboratories. An irregularly-shaped contemporary wing with a multi-storey north-facing glass facade will be added to the building in the second phase, for which construction is scheduled to begin in the fall. Completion is expected in the 2015/2016 academic year. The design by Boston architect Nader Tehrani, principal of NADAAA, and his collaborator Katie Faulkner, is marked for openness to the surrounding neighbourhood, sustainable urban design, and preservation of the historic building’s heritage aspect.
Neil Wright, chair of the Harbord Street Business Improvement Area, characterizes the design as a “stunning mixture of heritage conservation and modern architecture” that creates an essential link between the community and the university. “It’s an opening where people will know they are coming into an academic and heritage area.”
“We see this project as literally designed as a crossroads. The structure is meant to link to the community in the west and the university in the east,” said Professor Richard Sommer, dean of the Daniels Faculty.
Tom Dutton, senior vice president of the Daniels Corporation, echoes this sentiment. The company, together with University of Toronto graduate John H. Daniels and his wife, Myrna Daniels, has donated $25 million towards the $50 million project.
“We see this circle in the middle of Spadina as being a bridge between the university community and the rest of the community,” said Dutton. “It will be an inviting pathway and a reason to cross Spadina.”
“It should contribute to the transformation of the entire area,” said Sommer, explaining that the original building dates to a time when the university was on the north edge of the city.
“When [Knox College] was built, all the city’s institutions faced south,” said Sommer. The university then found itself at the centre of the city and, preparing for a highway artery, “turned its back on Spadina.”
Now, with the Spadina Expressway long since defeated, the university is “catching up with history.”
In this way, the project is also a gateway between the city’s built heritage and its physical future, something that attracted both the Faculty of Architecture and the Daniels Corporation.
“We’re tying into the broader discussion regarding the future of built design in Toronto,” said Dutton. The Daniels Corporation is responsible for some of the city’s most visible mixed-use buildings, such as the TIFF Bell Lightbox on King Street West and the revitalization of Regent Park.
They’re also helping to produce the urban designers and architects of the future, added Dutton. “We now have the opportunity within the University of Toronto to create a state-of-the-art architecture and landscape faculty that’s up till now been working out of an inadequate facility.”
The faculty’s new home is also much needed following its own transformation from a very small fledging faculty into a new centre for visually-based thinking that now includes the department of visual studies.
“The building is a way to claim and have a physical setting that is an appropriate expression of our work and ambition,” said Dean Sommer.
For his part, Neil Wright is delighted that this “lovely orphan heritage building” is finally being adopted after so many years. “It’s something that everyone will be proud of, and it will be there for another 200 years.”

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Tags: Annex · News

Parkdale discusses Community Land Trusts

June 17th, 2012 · Comments Off on Parkdale discusses Community Land Trusts


Ideas and suggestions about how community land trusts (CLT) form in Parkdale were noted, so that community stakeholders could revisit these ideas down the road. Courtesy Kuni Kamizaki.

By Perry King

A different approach to land ownership is now moving forward in Parkdale.

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Tags: Liberty · News

UTS gets the slow boot

June 13th, 2011 · Comments Off on UTS gets the slow boot


By Síle Cleary

UTS, pictured here with students gathered outside for a Jane’s Walk in 2010, will be searching for a new home. Beth Macdonell/Gleaner News

The University of Toronto School (UTS, 371 Bloor St. W.) board is eager to enter into discussions with their academic partner, the University of Toronto, in order to clarify the terms of the school’s relocation plan.

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Tags: News

Time to ask your west-downtown Toronto federal candidates some questions

April 4th, 2011 · 4 Comments

Gleaner Community Press is interviewing Federal candidates for Trinity-Spadina and  Parkdale-High Park and we are seeking questions from you (besides “why are we having another election?”).


After we have received all the questions we will then make a final selection based on diversity, relevance to the local community, and “goodness” (objectively and subjectively decided by our editorial staff), dutifully record the answers, and publish them for all to read.


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Tags: Liberty · News · People · General

U of T, locals butt heads over 42-storey proposal

June 10th, 2010 · Comments Off on U of T, locals butt heads over 42-storey proposal

By Tim Legault

A proposal to build a massive 42-storey academic residence at 245 and 253 College Street, between Spadina and University, was met with a general unease from local residents during a May 18 community meeting.

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Tags: News · General

Party’s over: Frats may lose rooming house exemption

June 8th, 2010 · 7 Comments

By Jacob Arnfield

Is there a difference between a fraternity and a rooming house?

Historically, municipalities with rooming house laws say yes. When Toronto’s rooming house legislation was first instituted, fraternity and sorority houses were exempted, but this is not likely to be the case for much longer.

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Tags: News · General

Unlucky in injury: World’s first “spleen protector” built for U of T athlete

April 21st, 2010 · 1 Comment

Courtesy: Nick Snow

By Perry King

With U of T’s bittersweet playoff loss to against York University Feb. 24, Nick Snow capped a memorable university athletics career that almost did not happen.

The last five years were a maturing experience for Snow. The basketball program gave Snow the chance to see and compete in basketball games worldwide, and connect with other academically gifted athletes. “It’s been fantastic. It’s like I have 12 brothers to share all my experiences with,” said the six-foot-eight centre. “The program has supported me when I’ve been through health problems, and that’s very important to me. I’m not sure where I would be without Varsity Blues Basketball.”

In 2005, after high school, the London, Ont. native was diagnosed with auto-immune hepatitis—a condition where his immune system attacks the liver as if it were not his own. Because of those problems, Snow’s spleen became enlarged.

But it did not stop Snow.

“When I first came to U of T, the doctors said I would never be able to play any contact sport again because it was dangerous to do so with an enlarged—and thus unprotected by the ribs—spleen,” wrote Snow in an email.

After a rough summer, Coach Mike Katz, along with Dr. Doug Richards at U of T’s Sports Medicine Clinic (55 Harbord St.) and Nirtal Shah, the team’s physiotherapist, “helped put together the first ever documented ‘spleen protector,’” said Snow.

Developed from composite materials into a shell, made to fit around his left rib cage and midsection—to protect him and his opponents on the court—Snow was able to play for five seasons.

“He continued to soldier on that way, but that became a given, you know. It certainly didn’t hold him back physically or ability wise,” said Katz.

When Snow played, he was integral part of the offense and defence. This season alone, he was a stable defensive player, averaging 11 points a game and 4.4 rebounds in nine league games.

But this season was an odd one for both the Blues and Snow. Although the team went 9-1 against the CIS and was ranked in the CIS Top Ten for much of the early season, they almost crumbled. They sustained four tough losses to perennial opponents in University of Ottawa and Carleton University. After winning five of their last six OUA games, they let a poor 21–3 start dictate the rest of their playoff game against York, eventually losing 86–79.

“The loss to York was very tough to handle. We had high expectations of ourselves as a team, with lofty goals. Unfortunately, we didn’t attain those goals. I give York credit though, they really came out ready to play, and hit some really tough shots down the stretch that won them the game,” said Snow.

Snow’s season was about as unpredictable. “I first had someone land on my ankle in a pre-season tournament, then after one game back I got the H1N1 flu, and over Christmas I injured my knee, getting a bone bruise that would keep me out about six weeks,” said the resilient Snow.

“He’s been a starter for the last three years, he’s been an integral part of the team. Unfortunately, this year, he was chronically injured and that upset the dynamic of the team and it didn’t make for a good year for him,” said Katz. “It was very disconcerting for everybody.”

For Katz, Snow’s best basketball was about to bloom in his senior year on the team. “Leadership notwithstanding, it’s about the fact that he wasn’t able to play. And we missed his skill and experience; he’s a big guy. He’s our big man, and if we get him to play enough, that’s what this is really about.”

The Blues are losing four starters to graduation. For Katz, the summer is a crucial time to develop many of the returning and incoming players who have developed their skills and gained high performance experience.

As for Snow, he is opting for rest. “For now, I’m just lifting weights, swimming and cycling. I’ll get back into playing a bit more seriously later on, but for now, just healing and training.”

But his love for the game will always be strong, injuries or not. “I’ll always play basketball, to what extent I’m not sure. I would love to work around basketball and sports, in the sports administration side of things, so we’ll see if there are any jobs for me out there!”

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Tags: Sports · General