Deputy mayors get "real" about the Gardiner

Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong believes “the real people of this city” want the east end of the Gardiner Expressway to stay. 

A press conference hosted this morning by sub-deputy Pam McConnell argued to the contrary. Former mayor David Crombie said that a rejection of the idea to turn the portion into a boulevard "is to dismiss the Champs-Élyssés."

But the suggestion by Minnan-Wong that Torontonians who don’t see things the same way he does lack some level of realness seems more likely to stick—coded political messaging on the order of Rob Ford’s talk of “Respect for Taxpayers.”

“The real people of this city know the truth that congestion and gridlock are getting worse and tearing down an important piece of infrastructure could add up to a 20-minute delay extra, it could add 20 minutes to their already long journeys home,” Minnan-Wong told Don Peat of the Toronto Sun.

A poll released last night by Mainstreet Technologies showed a majority supports the takedown of the expressway east of Jarvis. Mayor John Tory has championed the hybrid plan that keeps the slab where it is, but tweaks the location of some ramps, an idea that was refuted by its all-star opponents this morning.

"Are we building a city for 1960 or 2060?" asked former Toronto chief planner Paul Bedford.

The mayor brought his idea to a morning fill-in at his old radio station, Newstalk 1010, while his communications director Amanda Galbraith chastised other media outlets for promoting the poll that failed to consider the hybrid.


If nothing else, this entire mini-drama gives credence to the theory that Minnan-Wong was appointed to take the belligerent position, allowing Tory to swoop down as the grandfatherly voice of reason. 

Uber takes to Twitter for scripted support

Followers of the #TOpoli hashtag were barraged this morning with a pre-written tweet echoed over and over again—as encouraged by Uber while its future was being considered in court. A message sent to users warned that the outcome could be "leaving you without a ride and thousands of driver partners without income." Concurrently, the latest protest organized by Co-Op—whose #choosetaxi campaign has taken aim at UberX—sent a convoy of around 500 orange and green vehicles from Queen's Quay to Queen's Park.

Creative Class urban theory being debunked by PEC hipsters

The Globe and Mail’s weekend Toronto section is watching a trend so you don’t have to. “The hipsters of Prince Edward County” found reporter Brad Wheeler hanging out on the island two-and-a-half hours north of the city (that's now home to an outpost of the Drake Hotel, and the Hayloft Dancehall).

PEC’s status is validated by Torontonians who moved there permanently, relieved that they’ve gotten past the over-priced delusions of downtown life. Now, they look forward to visits from their old neighbours who get to hear them gloat about how affordably pastoral it is. Richard Florida’s theory of creatives craving to live in urban environs is essentially being disproven.

And yet Florida’s concept of a “Gay Index” foreshadowing the appeal of a place is sort of vindicated by looking back at a Toronto Star travel story from 2008—a report based on a a trip paid for by the county’s tourism bureau, no less—which extolled its “growing number of LGBT farmers, artists, and business people.”

Subsequently, in 2012, David Frum expressed his enthusiasm for the evolution of the area he spent every summer hiding out in: “I prefer these bad new days to the good old days that never were." 

So, if the nation’s most rabid anti-bohemian was three years ahead of the Globe’s notion of hipsters, the Creative Class theory of how cities evolve must be over.

What happened to all of the record company offices in suburbia?

Joe Summers, who ran A&M Records of Canada as an outpost of the storied L.A. record label for much of its run, died on Friday at age 75

While not a household name, his legacy is a reminder of when the Canadian music industry took root in buildings throughout the eastern suburbs of Toronto (and gained a mythic reputation among kids who’d read the fine print of records). The secluded locations allowed rock stars to meet their minders with no chance of being mobbed. 

The former A&M building at 939 Warden Ave. in Scarborough, home of A&M until it was absorbed by Universal Music in 1997, is being sold for $2,680,000. Recently, the lifeless-looking spot served as a furniture clearance outlet, storing couches and recliners in the space that once held LPs and tapes.


A similar building for CBS Records of Canada was located at 1121 Leslie St. When what became the music division of Sony was sold to BMG in 2004, the merged company moved to Liberty Village, but the Don Mills building remained as offices for the Japanese electronics giant. Now, it’s available for lease.

The three surviving major record companies are now all outside of downtown. Universal has remained close to the original A&M site, at 2450 Victoria Park Ave.; Warner Music Canada is currently at 3381 Steeles Ave. E., not far from its longtime Scarborough home; and the Sony BMG office eventually moved back north to 150 Ferrand Dr. in Don Mills. Downtown office space is no longer supper the major record companies want to sing for.

How things look to Dick Smyth in this century

A rare Facebook post from the legendary 81-year-old Toronto media curmudgeon, who retired to Bracebridge in 1999, offers his prediction for the fall federal election:


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