On the afternoon of Saturday May 2nd, Toronto architects and urban designers James Brown and Kim Storey of Brown and Storey Architects Inc. and Office for Responsive Environments narrated a walk along the West Toronto Railpath. This walk, along with nearly 200 others this weekend, was part of Jane’s Walk in Toronto. These free, locally organized neighbourhood walking tours took place in honour of the great urbanist Jane Jacobs and her outstanding contributions to community building.
As the mercury begins to rise above zero in many Canadian cities in March, it’s tempting to pretend that we’ll never again have to bundle up and suffer through frozen-numb faces and temperatures colder than Mars. Though probably required to alleviate our collective cabin fever, in reality about one quarter of our lives in northern cities is spent dealing with winter and its many discontents. This annual recurrence of snow and slush, blizzards and black ice, has largely and traditionally been ignored by urban planners and designers whose work tends to focus on making our cities and spaces livable and functional for only three quarters of the year. Lately, however, a movement has been gaining momentum that is challenging this seasonal myopia and is seeking innovative solutions to combat this oversight.
The City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program invests in street art projects across the city, which aims to beautify public space and attribute the local culture and heritage of its host community. The program is rooted in a transformation that celebrates graffiti artwork, murals and stencil graffiti through diverse expressions, which contrast the harmful effects of vandalism. As part of StreetARToronto, the Underpass program START UP has transformed one of Toronto’s oldest communities, Corktown, and its King East pillars beneath the Richmond St E. and Adelaide St. E. overpasses. Continue reading
London-based Canadian designer, Philippe Malouin, is the latest to re-imagine Caesarstone’s diverse surfacing. At the latest Interior Design Show in Toronto, the brand debuted Swings, a playful gesture which takes the composite stone out of its context and re-appropriates it in a surreal installation.
Built between 1911 and 1914 by Henry Pellatt, Casa Loma is one of Toronto’s most distinctive buildings. Financial difficulties forced Pellatt to give the house up in 1923 and it operated as a hotel and entertainment venue before being taken over by the Kiwanis Club in 1937. Continue reading
The 15-year-old film student, Russell Wellner, spent part of the summer and the Christmas season filming a gorgeous love letter to the TTC on his Canon T3i DSLR camera. Wellner’s one-minute film features shots of Rosedale, St. George, Bloor-Yonge, and a quick front-seat burst along the Bloor-Danforth line from Christie to Castle Frank. Continue reading
As I was walking downtown I noticed this young man on this bike practicing some tricks. I bet Mies van der Rohe didn’t see this as a use when he designed the TD Buildings back in the day. This is a perfect example of how public space can transform itself into an arena of self expression and imagination through the eyes of a beholder.
Video by Richelle Sibolboro
Richelle Sibolboro is Managing Editor of OpenCity Projects
Here’s our weekly review rounding up the best stories and ideas in public space from cities around the world. This week we bring you Toronto skyline porn, a brief history of bike super-highways and Mumbai on the verge.