Toronto

Starchitect lands in Canada – Bjarke Ingels

Some of you may know about Vancouver House going up along Howe Street at Pacific Boulevard and right up against the Howe Street onramp for the Granville Street Bridge. It is Danish starchitect, Bjarke Ingels‘, huge stamp on the Vancouver skyline.

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The giant tower will contort it’s frame over part of the bridge in architectural yoga pose in the sky. It’s an impressive looking building in the computer renditions. It may be just as promising when it is finished.

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Toronto’s Transit Rollercoaster

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Ever since I lived in Toronto back in 2003, I’ve always kept an eye on transit developments in the GTA. In the early days, there was David Miller’s Transit City, which promised to criss-cross the city with light rail. Then Rob Ford rumbled into office and promised the gravy train along with the light rail trains. Instead, Rob Ford planned on fewer lines, but with all of them being heavy rail subway lines. Then most recently came John Tory and his SmartTrack which was a vaunted “surface subway” that would start moving Toronto in a new way.

Three mayors with three very different visions over the past 13 years. It’s enough to make any transit follower’s eyes spin.

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Powers of Towers – a Spacing Film [video]

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.

Jane & Finch in Toronto (Google Earth)

Jane & Finch in Toronto (Google Earth)

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In Transit – The Union-Pearson (UP) Express

On my last trip to Toronto, I actually could see part of the construction of the new express train station at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. It’s due to open in Spring of 2015 in time for the Pan-Am Games. It looks pretty exciting to me. 25 minutes to downtown Toronto would be way better than the current 60 minute ride by the Airport Shuttle Bus.  Add that to my transit checklist. Here are some pictures/renderings from the Union Pearson Express site.

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Toronto 2013 – College Street at Night

For my last night in Toronto, I stayed at Planet Traveler hostel. It’s on College Street near Augusta Avenue and just at the edge of the Kensington Market.  I do recommend staying here.  The shared accommodation is cheap, clean and comfortable.  It has the 3 C’s of hostelling that are hard to come by.  It has free WiFi and free breakfast.  Hard to go wrong with free breakfast.  I just needed the one night, so I only got to know my roommates for a short while.

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Toronto 2013 – Kensington Market

After my visit to the AGO, I had to make my way to the hostel that I booked for my last night in Toronto. I wanted to spend an extra night in Toronto to just see a little bit more.  The hostel was all the way on College and Augusta.  I had to make my way from Dundas and Beverley to get there.

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Toronto 2013 – Ai Weiwei at the AGO

When I told one of my high school friends that I was going to Toronto, he highly recommended dropping by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit. Thankfully, the exhibit had been on for a while and the David Bowie exhibit just started the weekend I was there.  So basically, I wasn’t fighting to buy a ticket.  The David Bowie exhibit had already sold out for the day.

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Toronto 2013 – Eating Along Dundas

I didn’t expect to find some good food along Dundas Street.  When I lived in Toronto 10 years ago, I don’t recall coming down to this part of Dundas for food.  However, there are definitely a couple of gems along this stretch of Dundas between Chinatown and University Avenue.

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Toronto 2013 – Toronto at Night

Previously on metrobabel:

At the end of September, I had the chance to be in Toronto for a work-related meeting.  The weather in Vancouver had already an added crispness while Toronto was still hovering in the low 20’s and high teens for temperature.

[Toronto 2013 – Around the Royal York]

After all the work meetings were done for the day and I had grabbed a little dinner, I would wonder around Toronto with Camera in hand.  This time, I had also carried along my Gorillapod SLR-Zoom.  I couldn’t fit my usual tripod in my carry-on to Toronto.  So I packed my much smaller Gorillapod.

I’ve never actually done much long exposure photography.  However, Toronto is probably a perfect place to take a lot of photos at nights with all the bright lights of the largest city in Canada.  So the small and flexible Gorillapod would help me to keep my camera still while I took long exposures.  The only problem was finding enough flat top newspaper boxes in the right spots to get the right angles.  Sometimes I just put it down on the sidewalk to take some of my shots.

Here are my shots of downtown Toronto at night.  The photos were taken on two separate nights and are primarily from the west side of downtown Toronto.

RBC Centre – Wellington St at University Ave

Toronto International Film Festival’s TIFF Bell Lightbox – King St at John St

SW corner of King St and John St

Chapters & Scotiabank Theatre – John St at Richmond St

CHUM Radio neon – Duncan St and Richmond St

Art Gallery of Ontario – Dundas St at McCaul St

Sharp Centre for Design at Ontario College of Art & Design University

Ontario College of Art & Design University

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts – University Ave and Queen St