Friday, August 29, 2008

Saturday morning branch collapse Mc Murray & Vine Ave

At about 1:30 am this Morning - Sat the 30th 08  08 a part of a widely overhanging branch fell onto the roadway at Mc Murray Ave & Vine Ave. Bringing down the power line to one house and catch on numerous telephone and cable wires.



Most of the branch still is up there overhanging the street, hopefully they can balance out this tree without taking it down.

Posted by Robert

Junction's railway industry do for a rise in volume?






Train passing through the Junction as this post is being written.

Rail freight (CPR and CN in the Junction) providers may be ramping up for the increased service demand of shippers due to the high cost of fuel, as the cost of transporting a shipping container by truck becomes prohibitive.



As fuel is international in price, and has been a problem for the CPR this year, Will fuel pass a level where trucking is more expensive?  The example below from a American railroad can thoughtfully be applied to the railroads operating in the Junction. So expect to see and hear a few more trains passing though the Junction.

"Michael L. Rennicke, vice president and general manager for Pioneer Valley Railroad, says he expects to handle 5,000 to 6,000 railroad cars loaded with freight this year. That's compared with 4,200 the year before and 3,300 railroad cars in 2006."




"'We're getting back to the way the world looked before 1970 or so,' Rennicke said recently. That's back in the days when trains handled most long-haul freight, he said. Trucks did the local deliveries, bringing goods to and from the rail lines.

It costs $3,000 to $3,500 to move a shipping container loaded with plastic trim boards from Westfield to Oregon on a train, according to Philip J. Cameron, director of order fulfillment for Kleer Lumber in Westfield.

That's with a fuel surcharge imposed by the railroad, Cameron said.

Shipping the same 48,000 pounds of finished product by truck could cost as much as $5,500, he said."

Full Story: Railroads feel economic pinch


Source: The Republican, August 26, 2008



Posted by Robert




Dundas & Jane beside the liquior store NIMBYism needed?




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For many years a closed a gas station has sat beside the LCBO store on Dundas St. West by Jane St. The property and spouted pipes and grew pumps and quietly hummed with the operation of pumps for many years as what was ever in the soil was removed. Now it appears to be clean. The owner of the property is attempting to lease a building he wants to build on the site now, as for the lease sign indicates.





The question is just what does this strip of Dundas St West need in terms of retail stores now, or does it need anything at all? Surely it will end up being a car centric retail operation as everything else around the site is and walking traffic is nil. Or are we starting a new retail NIMBYism for WTO?



Posted By Robert

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Amongst the condos and gov. buildings the city changes




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Amongst the condos that are going to rival the hospitals and government offices in number of buildings around what once was simply the hospital and government office district in the area of College St – University Ave and Dundas St. West, the Ontario Government is renewing the top parapet of the facade of one its buildings.


This renewal offers a unique chance to see the complete difference in the current building techniques and those of the near past of the last 30 years. The building’s being repaired has a brick core which supports the sleeves of stone that are the buildings outside facing. With a straight line shouting view is the new two towers Burano Condo development. (link to the condo developer site re sizes your browser window) The facade on the condo building is glass windows made to appear as a monotone surface hung from a concrete caucus.



Think about that for a second. Let it really sink in.  Not only are West Toronto's core areas usually separated by streets and avenues - now melding, but buildings of vastly different building types are being glued together in the sight lines of the city. These are strange times- for a city that prides itself on maintaining its distinct neighbourhoods as the prime building method for the development and character of the city.

Posted by Robert

MIMICOFEST grass roots community - starts



"A Community Celebration conceived and directed by Arturo Fresolone" with arts and crafts exhibit and sale, yard sale, live music, dance and theatre. Children's activities include: interactive storytelling for parents and children and book colouring facilitated by the artist.

Amos Waites Park (Lakeshore Blvd. W. at Mimico Ave.) on Sunday, August 31st, 2008 from 3pm to 8:30pm.

For more information call: 416-503-4129

Posted By David

a sign to ponder



This contractor's sign, with its artist rendering of the "new world discovery" reflects the increased dependence on and desire for real estate as a vehicle for investment or financial security that we often associate with our continents history of frontier rushing. Now we pay dearly to, in a sense, stake our claim, but there is a frontier quality to that rush for land because we know (at least in the city, where our jobs are) that affordable land is running out.

Posted By David

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CAMH help to integrate its grounds with the area



With the public's attitude toward mental health issues and its stone walls and foreboding stature, the mental health complex at Queen and Ossington has long been a landmark of some infamy. Now seeing CAMH help to integrate its grounds with the area using something as innocuous and simple as this small market helps make its presence a welcome addition to the neighbourhood. One hopes CAMH will continue to use their abundance of street accessible green space towards a mutually valued relationship with the surrounding community.

Posted By David

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TTC Jane St service by electrically-powered light rail vehicles?



A reader sent in this link Proposed Jane Street Light Rail Transit (LRT) which details a City of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission proposal to replace  the bus service on Jane Street, from Bloor Street West to Steeles Avenue West with fully accessible, modern electrically-powered light rail vehicles operating in dedicated transit lanes, separated from the normal traffic.

This city question and answer PDF has a lot of details answers to questions about this great proposal, such as- what local benefits will there be?... and more.

Two  Open Houses are planned  (one for tonight).

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2008
    6:30pm to 9:00pm
    Jane Finch Mall
    1911 Finch Avenue West (SE corner of Finch Ave and Jane St)

  • Thursday, August 28, 2008
    6:30pm to 9:00pm
    Syme Woolner Community School - Gymnasium
    69 Pritchard Ave (north of Jane and St. Clair intersection, east of Jane)


Thanks to the reader for sending this in, we would have missed it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lakeshore west old old summer residences







Many beautiful old summer residences of Toronto's elite were pulled down and replaced with apartment buildings mid last century but a few remain still.

Two homes in this short stretch of prime real estate sit empty and one wonder who owns them and what they have planned. One sits fenced in with temporary construction barriers but with nothing happening. The other sits available for what may be called a self-guided tour. It is not renovated but is nevertheless in good shape for its age with original  marquetry inlaid floors, large formal rooms (the dining room clad in floor to ceiling gum wood paneling), a family room with an upright piano and a conservatory of Victorian influence among the many beautiful original details.

Posted By David

Bloor & Dundas condo demo start? or just sales signs



HP Bloor Street Limited proposes to develop a 12 floor - 108 unit residential block with commercial stuff on the ground floor of the assembled lots at 1540 Bloor St. West. The scaffolding covered in green netting could indicate they have started their demo. Yet at the same time they are wrapping the building in great big sales banners .This photo from a quick fly by to check what was happening with the buildings. Hopefully we can find some workers at the site soon for more details.

Friends of Dundas and Bloor site on this development

HP Bloor Street Limited - Tas Design Build website.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Petro Canada rides the Junction stake your claim wagon



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The long time taxi repair station/gas station on the north/west corner of St Clair Ave West and Runnymede Rd has been undergoing extensive reconstruction over the past few months. During almost all of this time it was impossible to see if the lot was going to remain a taxi repair station/gas station or become something else.



Now it’s clear the site will become a Petro Canada Station with an attached retail store by the looks of the building new configuration.



The new station cleans up the area and provides a gas stop for people heading west on St Clair Ave. Until this station opens people wanting to purchase gas will have to continue using the gas station on the south side. They will have to make a left to return to the west direction of travel, which on this section of St Clair Save, is not fun.



Some people who may like seeing this is the car dealership that is seeking approval to open next to the Wal-Mart on the south side of St Clair Ave just before Jane St.



The goal now is to find out if  Petro Canada really has owned this site for the long period of time remained an messy  taxi repair station/gas station.



Posted by Robert


.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Are the Junction and Mimico WTO’s locus for American style drinking establishments?



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Another entrepreneur is planning to open a boutique drinking establishment along Mimico's Lakeshore Blvd West. A couple guys, including the owners, are renovating this modest store front on the north side and hope to open Dean Martini's in the next few months and add a front patio area (like Cafe du Lac, just up the street) for next year's warm season.

The junction has a few boutique drinking establishments too, no doubt they bring afternoon and nightly traffic to the areas, and hopefully each area can balance their numbers to serve the communities rather than dominate them.

Posted By David and Robert

Are the city's pipes causing your basement flooding?





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If you have a chronically leaky basement, chances are, the city already knows about it.

Reading thorough the city web page on chronically leaky basements on the City of Toronto web site, you quickly become aware of how serious the issue of basement leakage in older homes may not simply be the result of deterioration of older homes, but probably is greatly contributed too by the city’s failing water pipe and sewage pipe systems.

The next public meeting is for the areas outlined below. At the City of Toronto's site you can see maps to other areas.
The City of Toronto is having what is calls a "Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Study to assess the causes and impacts of, and develop remedial solutions to basement flooding" in four areas surrounding Mimico Creek west of Islington Ave, north of Dundas St W., east of Renforth Dr. and south of Eringate Dr. and Princess Margaret Blvd.

The first "Public Open House" is scheduled for Thursday September 4, 2008 from 6:30 to 8:30 at Burnamthorpe Collegiate Institute, 500 The East Mall (Gymnasium).

Link to City of Toronto's city wide web page about the issue

Public information slides [PDF file]

Posted By David & Robert

iloft piles dirt and ties rebar for foundation work





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iloft is a condo development marketed as lifestyle condo project on Lakeshore West and seemingly that last major condo building to have good sight line frontage off of Lakeshore Rd. You can see from the top image above there is additional land at the back and to the west side of the project. Both these parcels of land have no trespassing signs placed on their fences with a warning that this prohibited access is imposed by the City of Toronto. Why the city deems it necessary to prohibit city residents to walk on city land is a big question.



The managing contractor has moved the project from the simple digging phase to the placing of foundations.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

two homes = one on Stanley Ave. in Mimico



The people who bought one of these semi-detached houses obviously loved where they were so much that when they needed more space, they bought the house attached to theirs and consolidated the two into one home. Less affordable now, timing, as in many things, is particularly everything in real estate.

55 and 57 Stanley Ave Google map link [opens in new window]


Posted By David

Monarch Rd eatup by plants











Monarch Road at Junction Rd as it is now, in the 70 and 80’s a dark cardboard box plant sat to the right. To the left sat the repair works of the Flour mill until the mid 80’s. Much of this rd is currently being sold off by the city to GO transit for their new rail lines.



Monarch Rd as it appears on the cities GEO Map.

Post detailing Junction rd Monarch Rd closure

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

East to West Move - Beach west?



A young couple who previously owned a small house in the 'Beach' on Toronto's east end have purchased this house on a large lot in Mimico (the new Beach west?). They'll do very well selling in the elevated real estate market of Queen east and will leverage that profit to their advantage by improving their new home in its up and coming area...smart. Look for an update when they inevitably pull down and rebuild the front porch.

Posted By David

last chance view weeks away not months.






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This view of the old Monarch Flour Mills will be quickly lost in the next month or so as the new Village by the park condo development starts to build. Viewable and really smell-able until about 20 years ago when coming up to the top floor of the Canadian Tire store. You can still catch this view walking up Heinzman Ave for a while at least.


James Club - Kingsway neighbourhood - opens dirt








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A new condo building by the people who have in past built those nice looking condos on Bloor  St. West by Old Mill - Old Mill Terraces is building a "club” condominium at 1135 Royal York Road which they are calling The James Club. In the past few weeks they have opened dirt to the sun in beginning their building.



Their description of club condo project…


As with any exclusive club, one would expect a grand list of amenities. At The James Club, one would be right. Here’s a run down of that list: Designer lobby with gallery lounge, 50 ft. indoor pool and whirlpool spa, fitness centre outfitted with today’s modern work-out equipment, aerobics room, men’s and women’s saunas, billiards lounge, outdoor garden and sun terrace, private screening room, golf practice room and a special events room with private dining room and caterer’s kitchen.

With a unit price starting at a price of $192 -a wondering is started about how they can build these amenities into the building. Are they funded off future fees for the use of the amenities?

Monday, August 18, 2008

options for homes - construction track








The Options for Homes pile driver has moved to the back of the lot now, at the top of the hill and appears to be pushing some piles into the ground, probably to shore up the soil to create the basement foundations and parking areas for the new buildings. The newsworthy part of this whole operation is the old CanTire building still stands.   Most of the time in condo development  the existing building demo is completed before the pile are driven for the new building shoring. This project may be beginning to fast track now, hopefully.

Sha Sha organic bread co. - keeps it for the community






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Sha Sha organic bakery has a factory store just down the street from it’s bakery that opened a few months ago. Within the bakery store they also operate a café. Having a outlet store off the Queensway is all very nice. Their products can be pretty good, but look at the street name. Straight from the 50’s, Plastic Ave housed a complete set of industrial factories though the 50’s to 90’s. Most of the former industrial lots in the area have been populated by big box retail and other non – manufacturing firms. Sha Sha has  kept the street in a manufacturing sector. The city should award them.



Oh yes there is a small 3M building on the street, but it looks like a distributor office not a place where they make things.

Friday, August 15, 2008

follow-up, Mimico Waterfront: Phase 1 building demo





Soon these lone pines won't look like paper weights holding down the end of a green rug.

The demolition of these nondescript storefronts on Old Mimico's Lakeshore Blvd West is part of the completion of Phase 1 of the new waterfront park. Visitors and passerby will find here an inviting entreaty to the waterfront which will connect the waterfront to the street in fact and in feeling.

Posted By David

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Highway 427 project is to be the 1st new review project.




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Looking north up the 427 from the west side. The nearer bridge is the interchange with Finch Avenue. In the distance is the much larger, much more recent interchange between Highways 427 and 407.


Picture Credit -Lone Primate Flickr


The rehabilitation of concrete pavement and highway structures on southbound collector lanes on Highway 427 is proposed to be the 1st project involving “constructability” reviews. Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation is undertaking a pilot project that will see their consultant’s plans reviewed by people and firms with a contracting background prior to tendering.



Rob Bradford of the Ontario Road Builders’ Association stated “It’s important that potential errors or changes that could cause constructability difficulties are caught before a project is tendered, thus avoiding costly problems during construction.”



WTO gains in two ways from this rehabilitation of the 427 which many people use a main throughway in and out of WTO is great, having some more eyes and thoughts on the work is even greater.





Article reporting this story link [Daily Commercial News]


Ratepayer associations, counsellors & their communities are often not working togeter.

The need for reform in community efforts.





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The Toronto Star is reporting a story about two public meetings arranged to provide people with information about the recent propane explosion that occurred over the weekend. The headline for the story “Competing meetings for explosion victims” highlights one on the most pressing problems for communities in WTO the clash that often occurs between ratepayer associations, counsellors and even more often the local business improvement area associations. As long as the friction continues, community development in all ways will suffer.



Competing meetings for explosion victims [Toronto Star]

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kijiji ad to rent a house in the junction

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This ad appeared on Kijiji August 11th and posted here because it illustrates how expensive it is becoming to rent a house in the Junction. Will they actually achieve finding someone to rent in the Junction at that price in the current economy?


The ad as posted.

3 Bedroom Semi in Junction


Price: $1,900.00
Street address: 230 Osler Street, Toronto, M6N 2Z1
Location: Toronto
Date Listed: 11-Aug-08

Hello,
We are looking to rent our 3 bedroom semi detached home in Toronto's up and coming Junction neighbourhood.
Our home is 3 floors of finished space, ideal for a family or several friends looking to share a home.  The main floor has an open concept, spacious Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, with an office/mudroom off the back that leads into a (wood) fenced yard with new cedar deck and single car garage.
The second floor has three bedrooms (one is currently a kitchen, but easily converted back according to your needs) and a newly renovated bathroom with carrera marble floor and claw foot tub.
The basement is completely finished with ensuite laundry, huge closets, 5 piece new bathroom, and a second living room or fourth bedroom.  Also with separate walk out.
There is central AC throughout, and we are located close to high park, dundas west, roncy, and st clair village.
The home is available after august 17th for $1900 a month plus utlities....we look forward to hearing from you.












For lease or sale...



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Commercially zoned properties for lease or sale seem to be in abundance around the city. Agents market these properties as ideal for development (meaning condo's or townhouses) if they are in or adjacent to residential areas or have existing rezoning applications in process anticipating that the only demand is to be rezoned residential as discussed in the Aug 11 streetlevel post below.


But this movement of residential ownership is not merely movement but a gentrifying process in which morphs from self-perpetuating to a snow-ball effect. That is, movement to the finite space of the city (less so for vertical residences which increase in number and size) increases demand over supply forcing prices up and spreading high-demand areas into their formerly less expensive neighbours. Low income people are compressed into smaller or outlying areas while new owners of newly high priced land make it increasingly difficult for their commercial neighbours who they find themselves rubbing up against.


Posted By David

Parc Nuvo condo at Kipling and Dundas St West is open for sales






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The Parc Nuvo condo project - the last buildings to be built as part of Tridel’s Essex community projects is on offer to prospective buyers. With an over the top presentation center - which they probably need to compete with all the other high life condos on offer in WTO.  Tridel plans to build this condo “green” using it’s own green build technology. (Tridel Naturally Better web site). The map image below (Tridel image) indicates there are a lot of things to do and places to shop around the development and Sherway Mall is a short drive away.  Unfortunately, this condo project suffers from the one big issue that keeps arising in WTO the almost non existent future planning to provide for the increased density of homes and use that was sure to come, and has now arrived. The city has failed to plan for street level communication for people walking, riding or simply moving to and from their new condo home. The developer in this case has provided an excellent courtyard and small parkette (in front of Nuvo phase two) along with the city required park.  Yet community life would have been even greater for the new residents if only the city of Toronto had done it’s part.




The developers site for the project Parc Nuvo

Photos of the sales centre at Urban Toronto Forum

Monday, August 11, 2008

How green is West Toronto this year?


Picture Credit - Steven Fernandez  Flickr


This wonderful image taken this past weekened (Aug 9 and 10th 08) by Steven Fernandez should provide an idea and his tagging completes the thought.


His Tags Toronto, Ontario,  St. Clair, Vaughan Road, Oakwood, Arlington Soccer Field, Green, Grass, Green Grass, Golf, Sport, Athletic, Fun

Home Depot mascot?



While this bird may feel quite at home on a Home Depot security camera, perhaps some development or preservation of green areas should be required of urban and suburban retailers beyond a vast swath of box-like buildings, concrete and asphalt.

Posted By David

---- way ---- west city life



Picture Credit - rb3m Flickr

Already convinced that suburban life - moving to the suburbs is becoming increasingly unpalatable for many.  City life is becoming  preferable according to this article in The New Republic, which looks into an idea called "demographic inversion"  What's it saying is  that the neighbourhoods and communities near employment, leisure and convenience services areas are more popular now than the suburbs. Think west of Bathurst St-  all of those wealthier people with the money or credit to purchase new condos and houses, as well as the older versions of the same.  Areas such as the Humber area, the West Bend of Dundas St., High Park, and The Junction all have this demographic shift happening. It is the easiest to see in areas such as the Wallace St as well as the Junction industrial districts, where the take down and conversion (much less) of industrial buildings has removed almost all of the working factories.

Demographic inversion may also move the less affluent to move to the suburbs which may become the working persons "district". This is evident when looking at the apartment blocks between King and Queen in the Parkdale area, an area where many new immigrant families start their life in Canada making a home there, then eventually buying a suburban home with extended family members.

Posted by Robert

Friday, August 8, 2008

Interesting house of the day 4




4 elements of this house make it interesting, it's location, the built style, the interiors and how it's being offered. The location right next to the Humber ravine is wonderful, and that it is an Arts and crafts style -  a style which has some historical relation to the community where the house sits - and much of this built style remains on the outside of the house. The interiors appear - from the bad photography made to show them, to be done with thought in most areas to the character of the house. The bottom picture is a basement? If it is it's  well done, not great. But looking at the furniture it could be surmised the owners may have had "some more" there - did an agent advise them to monotone it for the sale? Last but not at all least, it's priced to remain the house it is, not as gut to the sky and rebuild, as a lot of houses are in blocks surrounding this one.

MLS© ID: W1394450   Price. $ 879,000.00










Address
60 Humberview Rd
Toronto
OntarioDirections/Cross Streets: Old Mill/Bloor
DescriptionMuskoka-Like Reverse Ravine Property O/L Humber River In Old Millside. Arts & Crafts Inspired,Stone & Tudor Centre Hall Home Nestled In The Woods.  Steps To Humber River,Etienne Brule&Lessard Parks,Subway, & All Amenities.







Basic Details

  • 3 bedroom(s)

  • Working Fireplace(s)

  • 2-Storey style living

  • Detached style living

  • Brick Exterior

  • Attached garage with 1 parking space(s)

  • 4 parking spaces total

  • Sewers system

  • 1 kitchen(s)

  • Approx. lot size is 118.33 x 92.00 Feet

  • Estimated annual taxes is $6308.19

  • Washrooms (3 total




Thursday, August 7, 2008

Green13 a group focusing on environmental issues here in Ward 13



Image: Part of the oil plume extraction equipment behind Canadian Rogers Eastern lot on Vine Ave.

Green13 is the recently formed group focusing on environmental issues here in Ward 13. Three of our key initiatives are Community Right to Know, Earth Hour, and climate change (information, and empowering the community to build resilience to what lies ahead).

Our next meeting takes place this

Monday, August 11th at 7:30 p.m.
35 Webb Avenue (east off Runnymede, 2 streets S. of Annette)

We are building a public launch for some time this September or October.

Please spread word of this group and imminent meeting. All are welcome!

This is one residents group the community needs as the city rarely properly informs communities about issues in this area.

Posted by Robert.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lakeshore mardi gras August 8-9-10 2008



Lakeshore Mardi Gras is in the heart of Etobicoke-Lakeshore - A musical and family friendly celebration beginning Friday evening and going on all weekend at Colonel Samuel Smith Park at Lakeshore Blvd. West and Kipling Avenue.

Events

Main Stage Colonel Samuel Smith Park


Friday













6:30 to 7:30Ronnie and The Jets
8:00 to 9:30Downchild



Saturday





























Noon - 1pmDinny's Dixieland All-Stars
1:30-2:30pmThe Three Dad's
3-4pmSpider Jones
4:30-5:30pmDanny Marks
6-7pmJohnny Max
7:30-9pm Glass Tiger!


Sunday




















Noon - 1pmThe Silverleaf Jazz Band
1:30-2:30pmUptown Express
3-4pmChuck Jackson and The All Stars
4:30-6pmPaul James

Sign of the times





These advertising signs aren't among the worst that can be seen around the city but this is Islington and Bloor after all. Nevertheless, it seems doubtful that when the Kingsway Kiwanis Club donated Riley Park in 1950 that the park would later gain support by succumbing to posting an add on the back of its batting cage. These signs may be legal (http://illegalsigns.ca/2008/07/08/cbc-tv-news-coverage-of-illegalsignsca/) but not so long ago a contribution would get one's name on a brass plaque rather than litter a public park with advertising.

Posted By David

Tonight. All Junction Residents are needed for idea inputs



post about the agenda

Wednesday links



The Toronto Star is reporting via Forbes magazine that Buffalo is among the 'fastest dying' U.S. cities. stating the prime cause for this is the lose of the cities life is old manufacturing cities such as Buffalo are in rougher shape than ever and still looking for something to replace their factories and mills. [The Star].

A couple of areas in WTO such as the Junction and Mount Dennis are microcosms of Buffalo, losing their commercial and industrial sectors more quickly than residents can even keep a watch. Looking at areas such as people community groups and elected persons can learn to not make the same mistakes, or inaction continue the slide.

past posts related to industrial de- development

old Benjamin Moore & Co on Lloyd Ave. a developer with a good mixed work and live plan

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Should building models be required of West Toronto condo developments?



To try and win some wants and minds, of condo buyers, developers usually construct a free standing sales pavilion or in an older building on the development site, a well appointed sales suite. Many times these sales office have a mock up of a few of the units.  Yet in an inherently small area as the Junction - encircled with other communities isn't much more needed?  Small streetscape models built to scale that include current buildings and the new projects would show the new developments effect of the surrounding buildings and would provide most people with a far greater visual picture of the situation. People would be able to use their eyes to walk down the streets and circle around the area under consideration, rather than have to wade though one inch thick reports like the one pictured above, which is only the road impact study for the old Canadian Tire site. Indeed it would give prospective buyers of the new homes or condos a feeling or understanding about their life in the space of the community.

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