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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Koreatown unsure of what comes next after Mirvish Village

Mirvish Village is vacant and Honest Ed's had its big goodbye party this past weekend. The end is nigh for the southwest corner of Bloor and Bathurst as the wrecking ball slowly swoops in.

While the intersection was lively this weekend, it's going to be pretty quiet for the next little while. That's why I spoke to some of those nearby to see what they think about living and working near a ghost town

“I think it does feel a bit empty in this moment, but I don’t think it’s really hit a lot of us until we start to see the kind of demolition of buildings,” says Adil Dhalla, one of the organizers behind last weekend's festivities. We spoke as he was setting up the space. 

Dhalla is also the executive direct of the Centre for Social Innovation, which is headquartered just south of Honest Ed's. 

The CSI also has a location in Regent Park, so Dhalla knows it can be complicated to watch as a neighbourhood changes.

There can lots of positive opportunities, he says, “but there are also really challenging questions around displacement and about ensuring people belong and that they are being considered.”

He remains optimistic about the new West Bank rental development moving in. So does Aaron Zack, the head of operations for Snakes & Lattes just down the street in Koreatown.

Along with working at Snakes & Lattes, Zack has lived in the area for the past six years. 

“It’s sad to see something like that going and I think it’s important we remember what it was and what it built for the neighbourhood,” he says of Honest Ed's and Mirvish Village. 

“But I’m also very hopeful for the development,” he continues, noting that the rentals might provide more affordable housing in the area

He also hopes West Bank includes independently owned businesses in the retail arm of its incoming development. "I hope that they follow through with that and don’t sell space at a high premium," he says.

Andrew Koppel, who runs Kops Records, is a little nervous about the inevitable construction.

He says he hasn't noticed a significant downturn in business since Mirvish Village emptied, but notes that the increased attention on the area has been somewhat of a good thing for Koreatown.

“It’s a mix of excitement and anticipation," he says of the incoming changes. "We’re kind of not sure what’s going to happen next. It’s also good because at the same time, it’s giving the neighbourhood a lot of good press."

Last weekend, for instance, he noticed a sizeable up tick in sales, and he attributes this to the Toronto For Everyone festivities at Honest Ed's.

But still, as Dhalla notes, it's still hard to process that the neighbourhood's going to look substantially different within the next little while. 

by Amy Grief via blogTO

Popular Toronto BBQ joint just closed for good

New Toronto skyscraper would be Canada's tallest condo

Move over Aura, there might be a new tower coming to Yonge and Gerrard that'll usurp this 78-storey condo for the title of the tallest residential building in Canada. 

According to real estate site Urban Toronto, Cresford Developments will submit a proposal to erect a 98 storey building at the southeast corner of Yonge and Gerrard. 

tallest building toronto

As Urban Toronto notes, this mixed-use development called YSL Residences, would replace Kingsett Capital's 2015 proposal for the site.

The previous proposal, designed by Quadrangle, featured two towers, soaring 73 and 62 storeys high, respectively. Kingsett has since sold the downtown property. 

Cresford has yet to file a development proposal with the city, so this building - designed by New York firm Kohn Pedersen Fox - is still a long way from coming to fruition. 

by Amy Grief via blogTO

House of the week: 179 Craven Road

Houses under $1 million are hard to come by in Toronto. But the asking price for this single-family detached home in Leslieville clocks in just under that daunting sounding number.

179 craven roadThe property at 179 Craven Rd., is by no means big, but the bright, airy-looking space looks like the right place to start a family - the neighbourhood's perfect for that too.

179 craven roadSince this house went up in 2011, it has contemporary design features throughout that kind of give it a new condo vibe, though obviously it's much bigger than the shoe boxes you find downtown.

179 craven roadThe kitchen includes stainless steel appliances and there's a walk-out terrace on the second floor. The dining room also has a fireplace, just in case you want to have a romantic dinner party.

179 craven road


179 craven road

Good For

Those who don't need too much space, but don't want to live in a condo in the downtown core. 

179 craven road

Move on

Since the place has only too bedroom and an unfinished basement, this spot's probably best for a couple or a small family.

179 craven road179 craven road179 craven road179 craven road

Thanks to Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage for sponsoring out house of the week. All editorial written and selected by blogTO. 

by Amy Grief via blogTO

Toronto is getting a lumberjack festival by the water this summer

As Toronto prepares for an endless stream of announcements about events surrounding Canada's 150th birthday, one day in particular is already standing out. 

It's called the Ontario 150 tour, which will will travel to six Ontario ports, making its debut on Canada Day weekend (July 1-3) in Toronto at the Redpath Waterfront Festival and features The West Coast Lumberjack Show

The touring show based out of B.C. has a bit of a cult following and features four big, burly professional lumberjack athletes performing chain saw carving, axe throwing, tree climbing and log rolling.

They are all current and former Canadian champions in various lumberjack sports and also act as MC's for the event.  

There's also lots of opportunity for crowd participation, so you can get up close and personal with the plaid-covered, Canadian treasures. 

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

Hulk Hogan Gawker sex tape movie premiering at Hot Docs

Hot Docs just announced ten new films it'll be showing at this year's documentary festival. And boy oh boy are there some hot titles.

Not only is the doc about Hulk Hogan's sex tape fueled Gawker trial (which currently has a 100 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes) getting its international screening debut, but Hot Docs has put together a solid group of films you'll want to grab passes for ASAP.

Bill Nye: Science Guy

Our favourite TV scientist is making a big comeback this year. He has a Netflix series, a climate change tour with Bernie Sanders and now, a documentary about his crusade against creationists and climate change deniers.

Chasing Coral

The is the international premiere for a new film by the same guy who made Chasing Ice. It's a stunning journey underwater, which explores the world's coral reefs and how humans are destroying them. 


United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta is an activist who defied 1950s gender conventions as she fought to protect women and people of colour in her push for social change. She's a women's rights hero and the first Latina to be in the Smithsonian National Gallery. This film is her story.


This doc tells the story of five-year-old Eli├ín Gonzalez who was plucked from the ocean near Miami in 1999, and sparked a flashpoint for simmering US-Cuban tensions. Decades later, with the current state of Cuban-U.S. relations, the dramatic story is revisited.

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower

Learn about the story of Joshua Wong, a young Chinese man who rallied thousands of fellow students to skip school and occupy the streets in support of Hong Kong’s autonomy. This doesn't make China's government happy at all. 

In Loco Parentis

Take a look into the lives of two soon-to-be-retired educators and married couple of almost 50 years, whose passion and idiosyncratic teaching styles inspire and challenge the young students of Ireland’s last primary-age boarding school.

Nobody Speak: Trials of the free press

This is the doc about the trial between wrestler Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media ,which pitted privacy rights against freedom of the press, but ended up as a case study in how big money can silence media through the legal system. 

Rumble: The Indians who Rocked the World

This doc celebrates the legacy of Link Wray and that of other Native Americans who shaped popular music throughout history. The film also tackles the influence of Indigenous music on rock and roll.

Strong Island

Twenty years after an unarmed African-American was shot during an altercation with a young white mechanic, his brother revisits the circumstances that left his sibling dead and the killer uncharged in this powerful doc.

The Workers Cup

Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but far from the roaring crowds and media spectacle, 24 construction companies compete for glory and the thrill of hoisting the Workers Cup.

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

The cost of the Scarborough subway is up to $3.35 billion

Many in Toronto aren't too happy to hear that the estimated cost for the one-stop Scarborough subway is up to $3.35 billion.

A new city of Toronto staff report reveals this increase, which includes a recommendation for improving the bus terminal at the Scarborough Town Centre station - the only stop on this line.

When the city made the decision to proceed with this one-stop subway, it also said it would build a seven-stop light rail transit line along Eglinton Avenue East. 

Combined, all three levels of government committed $3.56 billion to improving transit options in Scarborough and as the Toronto Star notes, this increase (for the subway alone) brings the city closer and closer to that number.

The Scarborough subway debate has plagued city council for years now and frustrated Torontonians are taking to social media to share their thoughts. Some are comparing the plans to the oft-maligned Sheppard line. 

by Staff via blogTO

12 must-see concerts in Toronto this March

The top concerts in Toronto this March start and end with a couple of pop explosions (albeit from totally different worlds), and in between you’ll find fuzzed-out rock, classical experimenters, a hardcore reunion and one of the hottest new rappers currently in the game.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially living in a Pitchfork-curated playlist from 2005, according to March’s concert calendar. While not mentioned below, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Devendra Banhart, Jens Lenkman, M. Ward and Los Campesinos! are still alive and coming to TO soon.

Festival-wise, the TSO and Owen Pallett present the New Creations Festival with artists such as Tanya Tagaq and Kronos Quartet.

Events you might want to check out:

Ariana Grande (March 5 @ Air Canada Centre)
The eternally ponytailed one had a strong year, but now it’s back to straight-up performing. The Dangerous Woman world tour makes its first Canadian stop in Toronto.
Matthew Good (March 8 @ Danforth Music Hall)
After reworking a batch of the songs into nearly unrecognizable compositions, Matt Good is touring his “revisited” version of his chart-topping breakout Beautiful Midnight, a couple years shy of it turning 20.
Bloodshot Bill (March 10 @ Silver Dollar)
It's not exactly clear what's happening with the Silver Dollar Room, anyway, go enjoy the space while you can, and start with this night of deliriously fun, all-Canadian roots rock.
Dinosaur Jr. (March 10 @ The Danforth Music Hall)
Blow your ears off in spectacular fashion when J. Mascis and co. swing by the Danforth, celebrating last year’s well-received Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not.
Many Visions (March 11 @ Music Gallery)
Grimes fans, though I cannot gift you with news of a concert date, I have the next-best thing: Montreal’s classical music collective Plumes had the clever idea of recreating her album Visions by having a series of composers rework each track into something new.
The Flaming Lips (March 13 @ REBEL)
It's hard for me to look at the Lips the same way after many questionable escapades this decade (the headdress thing, pissing off Erykah Badu, sooo much Miley Cyrus). Still, who am I to begrudge others who can still dig it? Join them for glitter bombs, tinfoil costumes and bubble crowdsurfing at Rebel.
SUNN O at Queen Elizabeth Theatre March 14 (March 14 @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre (Toronto))
If you like your music to be one part crushing doom-laden horror that gnaws at every fibre of your being, and one part soothing full-body massage, then good news. Drone-metal pioneers Sunn O))) are back to shake the earth this month.
Wilco (March 15 @ Massey Hall)
Last year saw this beloved alt-country band reach two impressive feats - their 20th anniversary and thinking of the best album title of their career, Schmilco. They’re back in Toronto for two nights of a band-venue match made in heaven at Massey Hall.
Vince Staples (March 24 @ The Phoenix Concert Theatre)
The star of this Long Beach rapper continues to get brighter with every new release. If you’re a major fan, buy a ticket to the show, then head to his website for a VIP upgrade which apparently includes a copy of the much-anticipated new album mailed right to you.
The Courtneys (March 26 @ The Garrison)
Look forward to better summer days with the sun-drenched guitars and sweet harmonies of Vancouver’s The Courtneys, who just put out their instantly beach-road-trip-worthy sophomore effort a couple weeks ago.
At the Drive In (March 29 @ REBEL)
Hopefully it’s for real this time? ATDI fans still feeling spurned by the sudden cancellation of their Toronto reunion shows last year get the chance for a do-over, thanks to this long-awaited makeup date.
Prozzak (March 29 @ Danforth Music Hall)
The Canadian cartoon duo you have vague memories of is totally back and it’s not weird at all. They’ve performed a few times in recent years already, but this is their first stop on a more sustained, cross-country tour.

by Staff via blogTO

Ontario government to crack down on online ticket sales

It's not always easy to buy tickets in Toronto, especially for highly anticipated concerts and sporting events.

That's why the provincial government is looking at reviewing the rules surrounding buying and selling tickets online. 

The province put out an easy-to-access survey to seek feedback from Ontario residents about access, affordability, transparency and enforcement in regards to online ticket sales and resale sites. 

The survey's pretty simple and asks questions such as, "Have you ever had a hard time buying tickets online from Ticketmaster or through the event venue’s website?" 

As the Canadian Press reports, Ontario's attorney general Yasir Naqvi promised to new legislation around ticket sales. This was spurred by the maelstrom surrounding the Tragically Hip's Man Machine Poem tour.

"Like so many people across Ontario, I love going to the great shows and events this province has to offer. I also know how frustrating it is to see the tickets you want sell out right away, only to see them pop up for resale at double the price," said Naqvi in a new release. 

"That isn’t fair – and it isn’t right. That’s why the government is calling on fans across Ontario to help us change the rules so that we all have a fair shot at getting the tickets we want."

The government will also be speaking with artists about this issue and the online survey will be open until March 15. 

by Amy Grief via blogTO