Register123

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^ Agreed, so far a complete waste of millions of dollars. Who makes these choices about things like the planters and trash bins? Should it not have been decided by the winning team's designers?
 

Adjei

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^ Agreed, so far a complete waste of millions of dollars. Who makes these choices about things like the planters and trash bins? Should it not have been decided by the winning team's designers?

The same people who thought these would be appropriate to put in city parks:

Trash-Bins.jpg


http://www.greenlivingbees.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Trash-Bins.jpg
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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What you have is an organization that couldn't decide on a goal and have a decision making process in place that would enable said goal.

Those 3x3 grid covers would make for a perfect spot for some kind of sculptural treatment - preferably lit.

AoD
 

MetroMan

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This project has been one disappointment after another. While there are a few pieces left to be put in place this Fall/Winter (stone benches and other furniture), I think that we need to regroup and reboot the project.

Trying to look at it in positives:
- The new layout with the Peace Garden running along a pedestrianized Osgoode Hall.
- The stage was a pleasant surprise, deviating from the boring original to the architecturally interesting stage that was built.
- The cinderblock ice skate rental building and the Queen/Bay garage entrance have disappeared, replaced by buildings with attractive finishes.
- The green roof is a huge improvement with potential for public gatherings

But it ends there. Aesthetically, this has been a massive failure with materials that were already chipped, rotten or broken before the construction was finished. A major objective was to revitalize the walkways yet they were almost completely ignored. The stage and Peace Garden amphitheatre did provide better access but the walkways are still not a desirable destination. Bay Street was another important item to be addressed yet was dropped from the final plan. The lawn on Queen Street was one more issue that has over decades shown to be a problem, regularly turning into a trampled on muddy mess, yet it was kept. The plan called for a porous forecourt with trees providing a canopy with paving allowing for easy access in and out of the square. Finally, the railings on the garage entrances were supposed to be replaced by glass but weren't.

This is all such a major disappointment considering it was over budget and years late. Without having seen what furniture is going to be put in this Fall/Winter, I'm already expecting the worst. I hope that I'm wrong and that the stone benches provide a way forward.

The walkways remain unaddressed but parts are deteriorating and still need to be replaced so they're a good place to anchor a new phase of the revitalization. I liked how the plan called for a wood deck with larger openings to the square below. I'd like to see all the walls replaced with fritted glass like on the new skate rental pavilion. Trees should be planted closer to the walkways so that when they grow, they provide a canopy over them.

Bay Street needs to be landscaped with more trees to complete the proposed concept of an urban forrest surrounding the square. It should be opened to the street. There's no reason why Bay needs to feel like a highway, fenced off from the square.

The ceremonial ramp should be rebuilt for pedestrians. Its paved form is a relic of when it was an access to the roof for cars. It should be rebuilt as stairs where people can sit facing the reflecting/skating pool. An elevator at the top would accommodate wheelchair access. Overall, the goal should be to encourage pedestrian flow to City Hall's roof. We could have an outdoor cafe up there. With its view of Old City Hall, the square below and the wall of skyscrapers ahead, this could be a very desirable place to have a drink on a patio, even in the winter if it's heated.

The paving of the square could easily be modified to break up the ugly expanse of concrete. It's made up of square pavers and smaller rectangles. Replace the rectangles with darker pavers. This would create a grid design rather than one huge uninterrupted sea of concrete. More interesting would be to replace the smaller pieces with a transparent resin or thick glass lit from below with LEDs at night.

Finally, the design language needs to remain consistent. The work done thus far is salvageable but there's no point in doing this piecemeal. We need to step back, reassess what we now have and plan one final phase to bring everything together.
 

Armour

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Those are all great ideas, but realistically, the chances of getting more funding for future phases is slimmer than Harry Stinson's biceps; considering that the revitalization went, as you said, over budget, beyond schedule and produced mediocre results. Denzil Minnan-Wong would make it his personal duty to thwart any such decadence from coming to fruition.
 

salsa

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I'm so fed up with this stupid fence on Bay Street after myself and hundreds of others had to literally climb over it to get to Cavalcade of Lights. Then after the show it took forever for the crowds to get out onto Queen & Bay because that fence was in the way. I can't believe that after all the time and money we spent to revitalize NPS, that this atrocity still exists.

Screen shot 2015-11-28 at 9.56.42 PM.png




Also, I think Queen street should have been completely closed to traffic during the event, because the sidewalks were no match for the thousands of people that came out tonight. A lot of them were spilling onto the street because there was no room to walk, while the small handful of cars that were dumb enough to be there couldn't move an inch for over half an hour. In the end, neither the drivers or pedestrians benefited from this.
 

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taal

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What's up with the giant gravel empty block just south of the peace garden ? Is it going to be another staircase like structure ?
 

LNahid2000

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Also, I think Queen street should have been completely closed to traffic during the event, because the sidewalks were no match for the thousands of people that came out tonight. A lot of them were spilling onto the street because there was no room to walk, while the small handful of cars that were dumb enough to be there couldn't move an inch for over half an hour. In the end, neither the drivers or pedestrians benefited from this.
This happens every single year. I don't know why they can't just close the street.
 

jozl

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All great points Metrman. I couldn't agree more. The area on Queen Street, the walkways and the Bay Street side are the most irksome for me. While I can't condone vandalism, if someone took a sledghammer to the ugly, decayed bridge that runs across Queen Street to the Sheraton Hotel I'd rejoice. I'm very disappointed with this (fiasco).
 

TonyV

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I'll add my voice to the chorus of boos, concerning this revitalization attempt. All those years of dishevelment and upheaval for this outcome? Hard to believe. I can't be as diplomatic as MetroMan (I wish that I had that sort of skill).

Most of you have summed up the shortcomings. No need for me to list any more.

I adore Toronto for many reasons but I can't believe how unconcerned the administration of this city is with public space, and we can point to NPS merely as an example. We like to brag that this city has had more development than nearly any other metropolis in the western hemisphere during these past few years, and that spells revenue, revenue, revenue -- all the while the city has a hard time justifying enhancing the public realm when we know that there is money for such initiatives. I know that the reason is pure politics, but I also know that the average Torontonian wants to see the streetscapes and squares spiffied up. (And while I'm here, shit, how much overhead wiring and wooden poles - crooked or otherwise - are we supposed to tolerate?).

The recent city administrations have not understood that public realm improvements are a good investment. It will take one or two transformative people (mayors or others) to drive home the message. John Tory is certainly not the person to deliver the message.

This city is absolutely loaded with good times and great things to do and see. Getting to the destinations, beautiful or otherwise, can get me quite disgusted, considering our ramshackle streetscapes that could be so much better.
 

taal

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I wouldn't count Tory out just yet; I think he values Toronto's public realm, but he's smart ... let's keep in mind this is the "Toronto" where just last election Ford won, and while the majority of the public probably weren't aware of his complete incompetence he did win on a hateful campaign on how the city already spends too much / parts of the city are neglected while others are lined with gold / so on ... You can't flip from that to a spend happy mayor in less than a year; I think his campaign echoed a lot of that as well. Lets see what happens next year or even next election.
 

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