Tag Archives: Toronto

Artivism takes flight in Toronto’s densest neighbourhood

Open City Projects - MuralWhen you ask Torontonians about St. James Town, you’re likely to hear some disparaging remarks. Constructed in the 1960s, the 19 towers that house many of the city’s recently arrived and economically vulnerable residents make up Canada’s densest neighbourhood at 25,000 people, and arguably its most diverse. All this vibrant complexity and dynamism, however, happens to be nestled among the drabbest and dullest architecture in the city. Continue reading

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The importance of small parks

photo 3

It’s said that good things come in small packages, and city parks are no exception. While a sprawling Central Park experience can be exhilarating, there’s nothing quite like finding that micro park, condensed into a perfect jewel of green space by the crush of the city around it. They often seem to appear at just the right moment, when you feel like you wouldn’t mind stopping for a bit.

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Endless summer at the CNE

ex 1905

As Torontonians enjoy the last days of August, OpenCity Projects examines one of the city’s perennial favourite summer activities. A visit to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), held at Exhibition Place annually since 1879, is as much a harbinger of summer’s end as it is a tradition for local families. Continue reading

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Kensington Market and intercultural public space

Image 1 Map mural of Kensington Market

Toronto is a city that proudly celebrates its cultural diversity. Do its public spaces encourage cross-cultural interactions?

Kensington Market is a unique urban pocket of Toronto that possesses some of the city’s most dynamic public spaces and commercial quarters; plus, it exemplifies the mixed and hybrid nature of Toronto’s population. Continue reading

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Urban Kinesis

flickr | castle79

Sitting on the stoop outside my apartment is one of the only ways to cool down on a sweltering summer night in Toronto. The location of my rented abode on the streetscape means that there is always something going on: the bus stop two doors up disgorges commuters at regular intervals, the crosswalk one door down flashes intermittently as pedestrians amble leisurely along, and a small parking lot near a grocery store across the street fills and empties with the ebb and flow of the day. All of this combines into a strange urban ballet that got me thinking about movement and how this intangible energy contributes to our experience of the city. Continue reading

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Tommy Thomson Park – Toronto’s Surreal Shadow

Open City Projects - Speed Bump

The places you visited as a child grow more dreamlike and take on otherworldly qualities with each passing year. Colours grow more saturated, individual memories of landmarks or moments blur together becoming an impression, more of a feeling than anything tangible. Eerier still is returning to these places and being confronted with an experience as surreal as the Daliesque memories you hold. Continue reading

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What Lies Beneath

OpenCity Projects - Layers

A few weekends ago, I attended the 6th now-annual Jane’s Walk in Toronto. I did a lot of walking, exploring my city and listening to the stories my neighbours have to tell about our shared home. On the surface, the walks I attended that weekend could not have been more different. Continue reading

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Urban Scenes on the Silver Screen

Film shoot

My first visit to New York City was a disorienting experience. Manhattan is so thoroughly filmed and documented that you can’t help but feel you know the place through TV and movies alone. Turning the corner onto the former set of a film brings to mind the classic optical illusion My Wife and My Mother-in-Law, in which you can perceive a young lady or an old woman in the same illustration, but never both at once. Here’s the restaurant from Seinfeld. Here are the alien spaceships from Men In Black. Here’s that corner of Central Park from Home Alone. And here’s the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, which I can’t place but I’m positive I’ve seen somewhere before. And on top of all that, the actual geography of Manhattan — the way all these disparate scenes and settings fit together — was never quite what I expected. Continue reading

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OpenCity Weekly Review

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 sidewalk harvesting in Amsterdam, street food out of a shipping container and a look at Olympic city’s after the games are gone.
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