dt_toronto_geek

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Bloor101

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Totally agree, I'd like to see 480/482 restored too and worked into this proposal - anything south of there to Grenville Street is nothing special at all, except the unique retail and restaurants.
The clock tower and building below was a fire hall - wayyyy back in the late 1800's. By the middle of the 20th century it served as retail and then in the 60, 70's & 80's it was the St. Charles Tavern (Charlies upstairs), an infamous gay club in the 1970's and then very popular in the 80's. By then the exterior had already been mucked with probably decades earlier and was a nondescript brick affair with faux windows, as I recall. The ground level interior was quite something and was highlighted by an original ultra wide, two level grand staircase leading to the second floor which was all ripped out when split into several retail units in the 90's. Nothing left now, except that clock tower which will cause the developer some grief if they are proposing anything north of 480 Yonge.

So what retail do we get back? Another Starbucks and shoppers drug mart? Or perhaps a tim hortons?
 

dt_toronto_geek

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So what retail do we get back? Another Starbucks and shoppers drug mart? Or perhaps a tim hortons?

Well that's always the problem, the unique mom & pop shops will continue to disappear as downtown Yonge is walled with condos with fewer shops and unexciting chains & banks. See Bay Street.
 

modernizt

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Oh no the gentrification! God help us all!

People should always question changes in the city and decide if they are good for the city or not, on a case by case basis as well as part of a bigger picture.

I find that people who cheer on gentrification for the sake of more gentrification have a very elementary (and/or blindly middle-class) understanding of how cities work. Gentrification comes with some serious consequences, especially for lower income brackets. It's no secret that the last decade has dramatically reshaped demographics in our city, and is creating a city much more divided along lines of income and wealth than most of us are used to seeing in a Canadian city.

So yeah... God help us all indeed, if we don't take a critical perspective to the way our cities develop and grow.
 

Stupidandshallow

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I think I might be the only person here who doesn't think that the clock tower is worth saving... I always thought it was faux historicism! I had no idea it has history.

I'm interested in how the commercial spaces along Yonge st. will evolve within the next 5-10 years. It's a shame that it will take development to rehab the decrepit buildings lining the street. It's also a shame that the city doesn't seem to be terribly concerned with commercial spaces in condos or on our streets for that matter! After all, slumlords can get tax rebates for their vacant commercial spaces... I think locals/residents will turn to other parts of the city for independent shops.
 

wolfewood

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People should always question changes in the city and decide if they are good for the city or not, on a case by case basis as well as part of a bigger picture.

I find that people who cheer on gentrification for the sake of more gentrification have a very elementary (and/or blindly middle-class) understanding of how cities work. Gentrification comes with some serious consequences, especially for lower income brackets. It's no secret that the last decade has dramatically reshaped demographics in our city, and is creating a city much more divided along lines of income and wealth than most of us are used to seeing in a Canadian city.

So yeah... God help us all indeed, if we don't take a critical perspective to the way our cities develop and grow.

This. As well, it's hilarious that many of those who cheer on gentrification are the same ones who then complain about how bland condo retail is.
 

College Park

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Think of retail character like ecological succession: certain species colonize, others arrive later when conditions are right.

I think the planning requirements for granular retail along Yonge will bear out. Suburban retail blandness is durable largely due to car culture - you drive to your destination, ignoring anything between home and Walmart. Walking leads to interaction and observation.
 

adma

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I think I might be the only person here who doesn't think that the clock tower is worth saving... I always thought it was faux historicism! I had no idea it has history.

So, now that you *know* it has history, why do you *still* think it isn't worth saving?
 
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Uptowner

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Oh no the gentrification! God help us all!

I think that for a lot of people to say the concern is primarily gentrification would be to misperceive, or at least misdescribe, their concerns. I take the two posts that immediately preceded yours to be, at least in part, two cases in point. The concern there is as much to do with 'generification' than gentrification. After all, what is so gentrified about the aforecited SDM and Timmys? For many people, streets such as Yorkville and Cumberland are okay despite the gentrification because they have a sufficiently diversified/independent retail base. If this base was mostly replaced with stores like Coach, Hermes, Prada, Gucci and LV I think most people who see the benefits of gentrification, and even actively endorse it, would see this as a net loss. Much of the stretch of retail on Yonge between Rosedale and Summerhill stations is now seen as good for the city by some people for some of the same reasons. Surely this distinction is readily understandable, no?

As for me, I am in the camp that the concept that downtown could conceivably become too gentrified at some point is not ridiculous on its face. I spend time talking to fairly well-off foreigners travelling to Toronto on a quite regular basis. There is no doubt that when such things come up the eclectic nature of downtown is invariably seen as a positive. I support the contention that this character should be fostered and is a matter of valid and worthwhile contemplation not fully disposed of with sneers and sweeping dismissals.
 

Stupidandshallow

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So, now that you *know* it has history, why do you *still* think it isn't worth saving?

The tower looks botched to me; from the crappy shingles to the windows and EIFS or whatever it's called. Nothing important architecturally.
 
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67Cup

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I didn't know the clock tower had been part of a fire hall. As I'm sure many here know, they used to hang the hoses to dry in the towers. While intended to be decorative, they performed a useful function. This specimen isn't, perhaps, as attractive as some, but I do hope that some of the history that it represents can be preserved.

Back in the early 70's i was on College St when the old fire hall just west of Spadina caught fire. The flames were shooting up the tower like a chimney. Spectacular!
 
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AlvinofDiaspar

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The clock tower was more or less in a decrepit state as recently as 10 years ago when the owner of the site restored it (with a working clock, though I am not sure about the quality the of work) - it was covered by Hume as evidence of "urban renaissance". The treatment of the storefronts is unfortunate, but there probably isn't much worth saving in that regard. It would be interesting to see how the tower gets incorporated into the project.

AoD
 

ThomasJ

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The tower looks botched to me; from the crappy shingles to the windows and EIFS or whatever it's called. Nothing important architecturally.


for what it's worth, I think the clock tower is stupid (though certainly not shallow!) as well.
 
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