Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Elsewhere - the MABELLEarts housing projects

MABELLEarts is a org that brings together people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to make art, tell stories and creatively transform the place that is Mabelle – a Toronto Community Housing complex in Etobicoke.


Note: the blog is going to the complex Wednesday night and will add some images to this post




MABELLE History In The Making

With thoughts of website visiting in mind, don’t forget to check out our ongoing webrospective celebrating five years in the Mabelle Park!  Yep, this summer we realized was our fifth – holy moley!  To honour this milestone we are creating a short blog series full of images from each year in the Mabelle Park.  Online festivities will be capped off with a podcast created by mistress of all things audio – Maggie Hutcheson.  The podcast will include the voices of MABELLEartists, community leaders and local residents talking about their experiences in the Mabelle Park, both pre-MABELLEarts and today.

Wing wings in the St. Clair Walmart mall open mow


Old symes rd garbage plants appears to be getting ready for explosive film shoot

Construction of the wooden building on the site and effects rigging (not pictured)



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beautiful park equipment


lots more images and how it is being grown here

St Helens meats converts railway siding into parking lot

An old siding running west - east above Glen Scarlet Rd, which serviced older and now gone meat packing plants has been converted to a parking lot for this meat packing company.


Heintzman Place gazebo getting installed today

Heintzman Place and outdoor landscaping has become one of the most beautiful aces in the Junction.

Walking over to look at the landscaping is worth the walk.



Monday, October 24, 2011

Architect Richard Rogers states city development was the best way to build new homes today


With 4 condo development sites, and currently building retail site and one  more large possible large retail site available in the greater Junction area (GJA) for development, is it not time for the community to start gaining better traction to work out a model from for this development.

The report below provides a very interesting overview of the re-urbanization of inner city areas.

Lord Rogers has authored a report that states that city development was the best way to build new homes because of their jobs, infrastructure and public transport systems with garden cities and new towns far more car-based.

“Cities are the most efficient thing,” he said

From the introduction...

The vision of the Urban Task Force remains an integrated

and multifaceted one founded on the creation of urban

communities that:

• are well designed, compact and connected

• support a diverse range of uses in a sustainable

urban environment

• are well-integrated with public transport

• are adaptable to change.

True to that vision, and in keeping with the original mission

of the Urban Task Force, we make recommendations in this

report based on the principles of:

• design excellence

• social wellbeing, and

• environmental responsibility

set within a viable and sustainable economic, legislative

and delivery framework.

Full report


Thursday, October 20, 2011

2797-2803 Dundas St. W., Mc Brides Development overview


Here are some images and text captures  from the development proposal for the lot at 2797 Dundas Street West, and 2803 Dundas Street West, commonly referred to as the old Mc Brides bike building lot.

Thanks to Martin of the Junction Residents Association for sending the blog the PDF of the proposal and the meeting minutes from Wednesday night.

The lot is on the south west corner of Indian Road and Dundas St. West.






Gord Perks office minutes

Meeting Minutes:

Pre-Application Proposed Development

2797/2803 Dundas St. West – Community Information Meeting

Wednesday, October, 19, 2011

Indian Road Crescent Junior Public School, Gymnasium, 285 Indian Road Crescent




I would like to thank everyone who attended last night's community meeting regarding the proposed development at 2797/2803 Dundas St. West.  I would also like to thank the representatives from TAS Design Build, their project architect (Richard), and planning consultant (Anne) who came out and engaged with the community. Despite the rain and cold, there was a great turn out with approximately 45 residents sharing their knowledge and concerns.  Finally, thank you city planning staff in attendance and to the members West Bend Residents Association who took time out their meeting to attend this event.


For those of you who could not attend the meeting, Councillor Perks began the meeting by introducing the parties present and explaining the process for development applications.  This was followed by Anne (the planning consultant) and Rich (the project architect) providing a presentation outlining the proposed development. I have attached a .pdf of this presentation.


The Q&A period generated significant discussions and I will try to highlight -from my understanding- what was said regarding some of the major issues and concerns voiced by residents:


  • A question was raised regarding what types of units are being proposed, their cost, the general timeline, what material selection would be used to fit the neighbourhood and the maintenance of the site as it currently sits.  Mazyar from TAS Design Build outlined that the units will be priced on retail value (so no affordable home ownership programs or co-op untis), and the prices tend to fluctuate according to the market so it is too early to say.  Further, if all goes well he hopes to start marketing the units in roughly 6-9 months and start construction in 18-24 months.  With regards to site maintenance, Mazyar stated he took ownership of the site only 10 days ago, but will commit to maintaining the site, repairing the fence so it doesn't fall down, and speak with councillor Perks' office about possible uses before construction.

  • Numerous concerns were raised regarding the height of the proposed development, terracing, incursions on the angular plane, and privacy.  Anne stated that the development is identified as a soft site and spoke about the midrize guidelines.  The current planes outline a 6 story building with the 7th story being a mechanical penthouse wrapped in residential units (so depending on how you judge it, 6 or 7 storeys). Richard stated he understood residents concerns about privacy and will think about starting terracing on the 3rd story as opposed to the 4th.  Finally, Dan noted that the current plans do go over the angular plane and Anne remarked they wanted to do this for more space in the residential units.

  • There were concerns about site construction regarding noise, vibrations, pile driving, and pumping excess water.  Councillor Perks explained that once the proposal is further along a construction management plan will occur.  Anne stated that they will work with residents to minimize any disturbances that could occur and Mazyar explained that bore holes had been sunk on the property and that they do not anticipate any underground streams being a problem at this point.

  • Another of the major concerns raised by residents was regarding the laneway traffic.  Questions ranged from concerns about commercial traffic, speeding through the laneway, truck loading (both in regards to air quality and blocking traffic), traffic from the roughly 45 underground parking units proposed, snow removal, and the widening of the laneway.  Richard outlined that there will be a loading area designated beside the down ramp for parking (see page 16 of the .pdf), which should prevent the laneway being blocked.  He also explained that with the amount of underground parking spots, the traffic increase from the residents will be minimal.  Dan from planning staff spoke to the widening of the laneway, explaining that the city will widen the laneway on the new applicant's property, but not on the resident's side.  Further, even with the widening of the laneway, it will still be quite narrow so two-way traffic would not occur. Finally planning staff will look into if turning restrictions would be appropriate to keep traffic flowing and examine the impact of traffic on surrounding streets.

  • A question was raised regarding greenspace and residents praised the planters in place in the plans.  Councillor Perks explained about the green roof by-law in effect.  Further, Dan from city planning staff spoke about how it is his understanding that the site is not an area that is below the parkland dedication requirement so there will be no cash-in-lieu.

Overall, the meeting was very successful and many important insights were shared.  I will continue to keep sending you updates as I receive them regarding this proposed development.  Please feel free to share any information with your neighbours.


Once again, I would like to thank everyone who attended the meeting last evening.

The Making of Dufferin-St.Clair: 1900-1929 - talk tonight

Settlement House at the old police station number 11?


Can the creation of a traditional Settlement House at the old police station on  209 Mavety Street    contribute to the correction of the Keele St. and Dundas St. West area? Settlement House offer a place of gathering, community activity, and often contribute to neighborhood strength, and problem solving.

Below is some information on Settlement House and their history and missions in Toronto.


Settlement House or as they are often referred to now Neighbourhood Centres are part of the Settlement House Movement which began in 1883 that are still operating today as hubs and anchors for social participation. An common saying of the movement...

rather than asking residents, “What can we do

for you?” they asked, “What can we do together?”

[caption id="attachment_8979" align="alignright" width="284" caption="University Settlement 23 Grange Rd, Toronto"][/caption]

The first settlement houses were established in Toronto between 1894 and 1914, and included Fred Victor Centre (1894), University Settlement Recreation Centre (1910), Central Neighbourhood House (1911) and St. Christopher House (1912). All of these organizations are still active members of the current Toronto Neighbourhood Centres association.


A major component of Settlement Houses is:

   INCLUSIVENESS: empowering individuals and groups who have been left out of the planning, decision-making and policy-development processes in their community; promoting increased awareness, respect and an active celebration of people's diversity.[1.]

Settlement House Movement in America history link 

Local copy that can be used if above link unavailable 








Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tonight : Old McBrides site meeting



Indian Road Crescent Junior Public School, Gymnasium, 285 Indian Road Crescent  :

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Wednesday October 19, 2011.


See this post for details

St Clair Avenue West Road Improvements recycle St Clair W. in the GJA


This stretch of St Clair Avenue West could have been called meat packing central 15 years ago. The Maple leaf meats research centre stood on the lot where the Pharma Plus store is now.  Ont the North side of the street was the distribution wing of Maple Leaf Meats, a business that dominated this part of the street.

Now with houses to the north and retail to the south this finalizing of the road widening will all but complete the public street changes to crate a walk-able and people friendly area.



Monday, October 17, 2011

Butcher By Nature which recently experienced a fire is requesting comments on its Facebook page




It is great to hear the store is going to reopen soon either in its present place or another local one.  It seems suiting that the Junction central strip needs another butcher, as there is only one east of Keele St  on the North side.

A complete butcher shop has been missing in the Junction for decades. The AXIS restaurant was George's grocery, which was a complete butcher shop.  Butcher by Nature would augment the Junction's streetscape and retail offerings.

Butcher By Nature would be a much-needed and great addition to the Junction, but its removal from the revitalizing Annette St and Runnymede corner would be a great loss to the effort occurring there.

This blogs opinion, read others at the stores Facebook page by clicking here


BeauAndBauble - store to spring up in old Rawlicious

comment moved up to a post


NEW store at 3092 Dundas St W -  the new Mint green store

The Beau & Bauble for girls

... opening a store called The Beau & Bauble for girls. It’ll be goodies aimed at the 8+ crowd. Clothes, jewellery, accessories, stationery, room stuff, etc etc. I have set up Twitter (@BeauAndBauble) and am setting up facebook now. Website should be ready in about a week and I’m hoping to open the store in about 10 days.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Old Mc Brides site development proposal 2797 and 2803 Dundas Street West


From Gord Perks office
City Councillor Gord Perks invites you to a

community consultation meeting for the properties located at 2797 and 2803 Dundas Street West. A Zoning Bylaw Amendment application and corresponding Site Plan application for a proposed redevelopment will be filed with the City.

The proposed redevelopment is a mixed-use residential building with a podium height of 5 storeys along Dundas Street West stepping up and back to 7 storeys. The proposed redevelopment will have a mix of single, one bedroom and two bedroom units, retail/commercial space along Dundas Street West and Indian Grove and two levels of underground parking.
This is your first opportunity to come and see what is being proposed and contribute your ideas to the process. There will be a formal presentation beginning at 7:15 PM followed by a question and answer period. The evening will wrap up around 9:00 PM. The property owner, project architect and planning consultant will be present to respond to your questions. Dan Nicholson, the area planner with the City of Toronto Planning Division, will also be in attendance.

: Indian Road Crescent Junior Public School, Gymnasium, 285 Indian Road Crescent

: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Wednesday October 19, 2011
For any inquiries, please feel free to contact: or call (416) 338-5178

Broken social structure at Keele St. and Dundas St. West?

As many commentators have  pointed out on this blog over the years, is the idea that the Junction area at Keele St.  and Dundas St. West around the south-east corner is “broken”.

Commonly reports about the social problems we do experience in this area.  Crime, drugs . Probably resulting from the notably high levels of economic inequality,  in the immediate few blocks surrounding this corner. The great amount of travel though traffic, some making difficult or unsafe turns is also part of the problem.

The gap between intention and action, and between denial and knowledge from just about every organized body, community groups, government, business organizations, causes this corner to keep its notorious nature. 

Solutions will be difficult to inter, as the intersection sits of the dividing line between two city wards, two resident associations,  but it does sit right in the Junction business association area allowing for single interest from one entity if a workup plan to solve the intersections problems is ever put forward.

Arts in eating shops... aka restaurants, cafes, coffee jails etc

[caption id="attachment_8782" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Artist BenSlow (uk)"][/caption]

Many restaurants in the GJA and in the of city of  Toronto serve up works of art - usually surface pieces - paintings, and some collage, along with their food fare. Often the works are for sale.

The works often offer some degree of collective beauty and the restaurant proprietor often works to imbue some esthetics into the choices of what art to display.

Unforgettably it all comes down to a assemblage of commercial needs of the restaurant and the artist, mingled together in an mix that just does not work, creating  all to often a situation that does neither any real good.

The restaurant is allowed to not address the real aesthetic design needs required to address their own clients and offerings. The artist who may sell a few works, struggles with a secondary viewing experience for the work, and often reduces the efforts of other methods of showing and sales.

All this is not to say art in eating shops in not a good idea, it just isn't in the way its being done here. To make it work the artist must be allowed to view the restaurant as a canvas. This would of course need the normal discussions between artist and  businesses owner  who must also search for a body of work that attests with their own vision. Looking at the images posted with this post need I write more to give proof of the success of the method.


[caption id="attachment_8783" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="same guy as above, not named in this caption to assist is creating a memonic."][/caption]

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vine Parkette new play area to open when grass is stable in about two weeks

Spoke to the person watering the new grass today, and was told the fence would need to stay, about two more weeks to let the grass grow in.






3087 Dundas St. West window removal affects 5 buildings in the block


In what is a major renovation to the building at 3087 Dundas St. West the person or people doing the design elements regarding the work have removed the historic window types and are replacing them with flat as opposed to a pushed out bow windows.

The windows of the building were truly unique along this south side section of Dundas St. west running horizontally rather than running vertically as in the reminder of the block of  4 buildings. Sad.

On the upside they are increasing the density of the building which is nice.


...whats doing via city site

Revised stair and framing around stair, replace existing roof. Proposed two storey rear addition and interior alterations on second and thirtd floor with rooftop deck at rear of existing three storey retail / residential building.


[caption id="attachment_9078" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="and the block come tumbling down"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_9079" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Formula take the visual center of a building - design to be a key visual aspect of a block of building (as noted by peaked roof facRevision 01 - Revise stair and framing around stair, replace existing roof. Proposed two storey rear addition and interior alterations on second and thirtd floor with rooftop deck at rear of existing three storey retail / residential and rip out window that is in accord with the building."][/caption]



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Elsewhere: Inside the Twisted World of an IKEA Catalog (video)



A a brilliant satire of an IKEA-style domestic fantasy in video.

click here to visit The Atlantic site to view


Show Off @ The Junction

Show Off @ The Junction

Dundas Street W. west of Keele St.

Street Party Fri, Oct 21st 7pm-11pm,

Installations on display October 18-30th

Mason is hosting Show Off @ the Junction; an event where local designers

 and artists are let loose on Junction shop windows to create

jaw-dropping installations to showcase the amazing retailers

 and product the community has to offer.

The event includes 12 retail shops and art galleries on the

strip of Dundas St. W, west of Keele, uniting over 20 designers

 and artists to create conceptual spaces while supporting

independent business owners and their unique product.

 During the Street Party on October 21st from 7pm to 11pm,

 shops and galleries will keep their doors open with unique

offerings in support of the event. Owners will be on hand

 to chat about their unique goods alongside the artists

and designers who will reveal the secrets and stories behind

 their installations.

You can also visit our website

 or send RSVP’s to the event at

Very fine bench outside Littlefish today and a sign telling it's pancake Tuesday


Recently vacated rawlicious restaurant site undergoing remiss

Lots contractor tools and stuff visible though pen from door.




Vine Ave Parkette final grass going in Tuesday morning 10:10 am

While further cleanup of the piles of dirt are being removed by the prime contractor.





Monday, October 10, 2011

WTJHS meeting Historical Walking Tour: Sunday, October 23 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.



Historical Walking Tour: Sunday, October 23 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Tickling the Keys: the Heintzman Piano Company. One of the world’s most famous piano manufacturers was based in the Junction. Follow in the footsteps of the Heintzman family and company employees during this two-hour guided walking tour led by members of the West Toronto Junction Historical Society.
Starts at Annette Street Public Library at 2:00 p.m.Tickets $20.
For Heintzman tour tickets, call 416-763-3161or e-mail:
Tickets are also available from:
Annette Street Public Library, 145 Annette Street
Ice Cream Junction, 3103 Dundas Street West
Pandemonium, 2862 Dundas Street West
Wise Daughters Craft Market, 3079B Dundas Street West

Meet the JRA Candidates on Thursday, October 20, 7:30-9 pm, at Axis Gallery and Grill, 3048 Dundas St. W

Meet the JRA Candidates on Thursday, October 20, 7:30-9 pm, at Axis Gallery and Grill, 3048 Dundas St. W

We are heading into our fourth year -- our Annual General Meeting and election of officers for 2011-2012 will be held on Nov. 10, 7:30 to 9. On October 20, you can get to know the incumbent officers in this informal setting.

This is also your opportunity to join the JRA executive team yourself. We are looking for a new secretary! The JRA executive committee is a ring-side seat to everything that happens in the Junction and lots of fun.

The JRA Annual General Meeting - Thursday, November 10 7 to 9 pm

The JRA Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday, November 10, to report on the past year and to elect officers for next year. The meeting is at the West Toronto Baptist Church, 3049 Dundas Street West. Members, please plan on attending and voting. Eligible non-members, this would be a great time to become a voting member!

Friday, October 7, 2011


 Farm:Shop, a new project in Dalston, east London. is A former shelter for domestic abuse victims has been renovated to create the venue, showcasing the potential of hi-tech urban farming techniques.

See all about it here



Textiles in the form of screen printing at Wise Daughters Craft Market

BIG secret activity comes to Junction, , which is why the Junction is so luckily to have Wise Daughters running this project,

Textiles are the Big secret in Canadian Craft, outshining the other three craft areas taught in Ontario in this authors opinion. Surface work has traditionally been a large part of the work explored, taught and made at the two craft schools in Ontario. Students in the Fabrics [1. changed from textiles to fabrics in last few years] at Sheridan’s Crafts and Design program start early working with lino cut blocks. As well over the course of their training students receive a great amount of immersion into aspects of surface printing, much of it in the use of screen printing.

3 dimensional fabric work is also just well purported in these schools.

The greater GTA has two resident programs in well outfitted studios, one at Harbourfront in the cities core and the other in The Living Arts Centre in Mississsauga [2. Full discourse: me saying  the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga is great, can be read as self servicing as I and my studio team at the time designed, and build out the studio in 1996 though 1997] both which are great stepping stones into full time craft designer/maker. (which is not a profession in this decades long craft artists thoughts)

Groupings of makers in a learning, sharing and creation opportunity such as this one offered by Wise Daughters are terrific for the continual redevelopment of craft in the Junction [3. The junction was once a major Craft area in Toronto] and Ontario itself. After witnessing many such courses take place at various galleries and centers, you should know the atmosphere often takes  on the beauty of the teaching experiences at the educational settings at the full time schools - craft can do that, bring out everything in a person.

Interested in the deep unbounded nature and history of textile craft in Ontario and the world - read and view the works of Skye Morrison - the former studio head of the textiles studio at Sheridan’s Crafts and Design program and a Doctor of  folklore (Cornell University). Text 1 link  Text 2 link to Dr. Morrison's Red Threads project.

[caption id="attachment_9007" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Click image for texty textile story"][/caption]


One issue this author has, sure have fun with the creation of your own stencil graphic, as offered but explore the inter-connectivity of the craft process by studying and remaking images of historical and complementary textiles printers, it can make you float.

Oh and Men textile printing is simply not just for female craft-persons.



[caption id="attachment_8943" align="aligncenter" width="275" caption="3079B Dundas St. W. TO, - 761 1455m or click image to attend the WD site"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_8945" align="aligncenter" width="297" caption="3079B Dundas St. W. TO, - 761 1455m or click ikme to attend the WD site"][/caption]

Wise Full Nov calendar pdf 

Around the GJA in buildings


[caption id="attachment_8991" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Click image to go to a Google map of the area"][/caption]



Great architecture is a continuous wondrous experience.  As a family home this building is great. Buildings that are  built and continue to serve as icons of a communities built heritage are rare. Often over decades renovations and changes are made to suit the needs or simply the whims of current owners.

A building can  lose the majority of its built form over time. When this happens to a greater number of homes than those left in their original built state the fabric of the built environment changes.

How important is built environment visually to a community, - a lot, city planners often mandate and developers will subscribe to the modeling of new buildings to match the built fabric of a community. A recent example is the  Heintzman Place condominium development. This  condominium project  replaced a disused hardware and automotive retail building and the new building is cladded in a brick veneer simply to allow the mass and visual aspect of the buildings to enter into the community visually and with a historical  relationship by use of specific materials  that have been used to build in the area before.

Once in a while a house escapes this fate and its period aesthetically perfect  form is kept over the run of owners, and the decades of facade changes that occurs to most buildings. It is hard to  imagine that that a house in the Junction  looking like anything else but a added too and reworked image of its self.

Not with this house on HANLEY ST & Willard Ave. The house has retained its original cladding materials and elevations judging through material currently on the building. The rear shed may have been added as determined by the connection points and methods used at the intersection of the shed to main body of the house. Probably this was none in the same building materials era as the faux bricking is completely similar between the two masses of the shed and the main house building. 

Instead of reinterpreting the past, buildings that are left in this state create a new future, perhaps unaffected with new  shape, or materials, they are as unique as the thought processes of the original design  that can inspire new designers of buildings.

We’ll never know for sure, why this state happened has but its a great building to view for now while on a walk.

[caption id="attachment_8992" align="alignright" width="353" caption="Click on Image to go to Google maps of the area"][/caption]



 site is sat here right now while changes are made to the normal host This was done on May 28th 2019 This update post will...