I’ve been a big fan of the magazine, Spacing, since I lived in Toronto back in 2003. That’s about the same time the magazine came out. Spacing deals with all things urban, including transportation. The magazine’s focus was, and still remains, Toronto and its urban nature. There are different Spacing writers across the country now, but the heart of Spacing is strongly Toronto. And that’s okay, coming from this Vancouverite.
I’m excited to see this new film by Spacing – Powers of Towers. If anyone has ever travelled through Toronto, one must have noticed the many high-rise towers that dot different parts of the city. They look like large concrete blocks from the Don Valley Parkway. These are tall towers that date back to the 1960s in an age where the automobile was transforming the way people viewed and travelled the world – for better or worse.
The towers nowadays are infamously the low cost housing of present-day Toronto. I had a chance to visit such a tower out at Jane and Finch. I lived and worked in Toronto back in 2003. I remember thinking how run down and unappealing the neighbourhood was.
I’ve never visited the Thorncliffe Park area that is mentioned in the film, but it it looks similar to what I saw at Jane & Finch. Part of the film focuses on how the residents are helping to bring activity to the neighbourhood and to spaces otherwise unused.
The architect, Graeme, mentions adding commercial shops in the ground floor. It makes me think of Hong Kong public housing projects and the shops and restaurants that occupy the first floor to bring life and services to the towers. The same could happen in these old Toronto towers.
Without further ado, here’s the Spacing Film video as hosted on Vimeo.