In the News

Our neighbourhood in the news

Wallace Ave: Train crashes into firetruck; Firefighters barely escape

The Globe, December 22, 1930: Click image for full-size versionThe Globe, December 22, 1930: Click image for full-size version

On Saturday, December 20, 1930, four firefighters narrowly escaped injury or death when they jumped from their firetruck moments before it was struck by a train at the Wallace Ave. crossing. You can get the details of what happened in The Globe's article (click for a large, readable image), but here's a quick summary:

Bailao Speech Draws Attention

Ana Bailao delivered an enpassioned speech today in council, recalling her own life story, that brought applause from fellow councillors and the visitors gallery. I watch a lot of the council meetings online and Ana really hit a nerve that you dont often see at council with all the posturing and faux outrage that goes on. I will try to find the clip but it was mentioned in the Globe:

Local Puppet Shop in the News

Check out the March 8 2012 article in The Grid about the Junction Triangle's very own puppet shop, Open Door Designs.

While those involved in puppet-making and performance are no doubt aware of how to find the shop, the stretch of Dupont where Open Door is located is a bit off the beaten path. “Foot traffic is a challenge on this strip,” says Bigham. However, this was not always the case. “Evidently, in the early ’50s this was a very commercial street,” Bigham says. “People would get on the train and come down from North Toronto—it was quite a vital neighbourhood.” And, in some ways, with the current influx of young families to the area, Bigham sees it making something of a return to its former self, saying, “the neighbourhood is changing—it’s stroller city!”
In addition to doorway theatres, Bigham also produces larger theatres for schools and libraries—”the first one was commissioned by a grade 10 teacher; now, we’re five years on and we’ve shipped to Italy and all over the states”—and sells a wide assortment of puppets both new, many of her own design and “museum quality vintage,” with the oldest dating back to the ’30s.
She’s currently working on a proposal to take over a building just down the street from her shop to open what would be the city’s only full-time puppet theatre. “I’m hoping it’ll start in October,” she says, “There’s going to be seven performances, once a month on a Sunday. We’ve got this beautiful little venue over here. Five all-ages performances, one adult and one ‘puppet slam’—an open mic for people that are serious.”

You can read the entire article online here, and be sure to look at the gallery of puppet pics.

Could the Junction Triangle Become the Next Liberty Village?

From Torontoist:

Could the Junction Triangle Become the Next Liberty Village?

An ambitious development could introduce major change to this tiny west-end neighborhood.

While the brownfield on Sterling Road just east of the West Toronto Railpath is known to most as a first-class eyesore, a proposed development might not only revitalize the property, but possibly also the chronically underdeveloped Junction Triangle neighbourhood that surrounds it. That is, if the City of Toronto and corporate interests can agree it should be built.

The Junction Triangle is enclosed by three sets of railway tracks, a tall, skinny area that roughly runs south and west of Lansdowne and Dupont, narrowing to a point at Dundas West. It’s a bit south and a bit east of the Junction—the two are distinct neighbourhoods—and hasn’t yet seen the same revitalization the Junction has. The brownfield in the Junction Triangle was formerly Tower Automotive, a sheet-casing facility built in the early 20th century that closed in 2006. Its machining buildings have since been razed, though a 10-storey tower, designated a heritage property and popular with urban explorers, still stands. Castlepoint Realty Partners purchased the property in 2008. Their hope is to turn the area into a mixed-use neighborhood, in the vein of Liberty Village or the Distillery District.

Perth School Playground, and Public Library Expansion

The Villager / Inside Toronto has an article that touches upon two major community-lead projects in the Junction Triangle: The Junction Triangle Library Project, and the Perth Avenue Public School Playground Revitalization Project.

You can read the article online here.

Some quotes:

Perth Avenue Junior Public School's yard is a bare patch of asphalt, but if Junction Triangle resident Allison Grey's New Year's resolution comes true it'll be well on its way to becoming an urban oasis for sports, agriculture and outdoor learning.
She is just one of many community activists who is looking ahead to January and beyond to build on initiatives they spearheaded in 2010.

Grey, who has lived in the neighbourhood for a decade, was instrumental in launching the Perth Avenue Public School Playground Revitalization Project. She credits Perth P.S. Principal Janice Robinson for inspiring her to kick-start the redevelopment of the yard. Its sorry state has stopped some area parents from enrolling their children in the elementary school on Ruskin Avenue, said Grey.

"We'd love to do a whole big soccer pitch with a track around it, but it'll likely cost thousands of dollars," she said.

The aim is to start with smaller, less costly projects. Already, Robinson has erected two new hockey nets and has plans to purchase other equipment, such as basketball hoops. There are ideas circulating for some artwork like a mural, added Grey.

Meanwhile, Grey's neighbour, Kevin Putnam, the co-founder of the Junction Triangle Library Expansion Committee, is eager to continue efforts to grow the beloved Perth/Dupont branch, one of the smallest in the city.

At a Nov. 22 meeting, Bailao announced a $1.2 million injection of funds toward the project, which includes encouraging local residents to fill out an online survey called 'The 100 Day Survey.' They can do so until the end of February. Its purpose is to gather as much input from as many people as possible. A report outlining the results of the survey and a public consultation process will be submitted to the Toronto Public Library Association before it is released to the public at the end of March, said Putnam, with fundraising to follow.

Torontoist: A Spotter's Guide to Endangered Library Branches

Today, Torontoist has published A Spotter's Guide to Endangered Library Branches, highlighting some of the Toronto Public Library branches that are in danger of being cut by City Council. The first branch they feature is our very own Perth/Dupont Branch.

A few quotes from the article:

On page 152 of KPMG's core service review report—which identifies City services that could be cut or reduced for cost savings—is a column marked "Key Opportunities" that contains a single bullet point. "Some library branches could be closed," it says.

Specific proposals for cuts are still a long way off. Thursday night's (and Friday morning's) marathon executive committee meeting was only the prelude to a longer fight that will culminate next year, when it comes time to approve 2012's budget. But if library branches are to be closed, it seems likely that the most vulnerable ones will be those that do the least business.

Boys & Girls Club - New Bloor St. Location

The Villager / Inside Toronto has an article about the new location for the Junction Triangle Boys & Girls Club, on Bloor St. between Symington and Lansdowne.

A few quotes from the article:

Junction Triangle members of the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club are just months away from moving into a new home base.

Operations Manager Justin Hanna confirmed the club is about to sign a lease for a new space on Bloor Street West between Dundas Street West and Lansdowne Avenue.

Plans to move into a new renovated warehouse space on Ernest Avenue were derailed last year, much to the dismay of area residents. Community activist and former Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club board member Kevin Putnam said he is frustrated by the club's lack of communication with the neighbourhood and its lack of accountability. The Bloor Street West location, at 2,600 sq. ft., is a far cry from the 7,000 sq. ft. 45 Ernest Ave. warehouse, said Putnam.

"It's no replacement for the club house they promised us," said Putnam.

Hanna explained that the 7,000-sq.-ft. warehouse with 18 foot ceilings would have cost the organization $100,000 in operating costs after taking care of rent, utilities and maintenance. However, Putnam said the club had to pay $90,000 to settle with the landlord of 45 Ernest Ave., who was going to rent his space to the club at cost.

The new Junction Triangle club house will be located within a condominium complex and features a kitchen, various rooms and an elevator. The condo's developer was required to provide community space within the complex and has thereby leased it to the city for 99 years, said Hanna. The Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club will lease the space from the city for three years.

This new home will allow the club to continue and grow its homework club, its nutritional cooking class and provide a technology room and an arts and culture program.

"We'll be starting a teen program in a teen lounge that will concentrate on leadership, social responsibility and volunteerism," said Hanna.

Local man charged with cruelty to animals for attacking raccoons

The mural removal incident isn't the only local story all over the news this week. On Wednesday morning, a resident of Rankin Cres. was charged with cruelty to animals and possessing a dangerous weapon after allegedly beating a family of raccoons in his backyard. Details from the Police and media follow:

From the CP24 story:

Toronto police said officers were called to a home on Rankin Crescent, near Lansdowne Avenue and Bloor Street, shortly before 6 a.m.

At least one neighbour called 911 to report a man striking small raccoons with "a shovel-type" garden tool in his yard while a mother raccoon attempted to rescue her offspring, police said.

The neighbour told CP24 that he was startled by wild animals' shrieks, so he looked outside to find the suspect beating the raccoons with a red-coloured spade.

"The screaming from the first baby was horrific, it was loud," said the neighbour, who confronted the man.

Joel Richardson's "Suit Stencil" Mural Removed [Updated]

Photo by Martin Reis, in the Junction Triangle photo pool on Flickr.

I mentioned this briefly yesterday: The "Suit Stencil" mural by Joel Richardson in the railway underpass on the south side of Dupont St., between Campbell and Lansdowne Avenues was whitewashed by the City this week.

This is a bizarre twist in Toronto's recently-escalated "War on Graffiti", as Joel worked with the City to install this mural, in addition to his other mural on the north side of the street.

David Rider has an article about this in the Toronto Star. A few key quotes:

Artist Joel Richardson says the city has painted over a popular Dupont St. mural that it paid him $2,000 to create, an apparent misfire in Mayor Rob Ford’s war on graffiti.

A city spokeswoman says the railway underpass wall was returned to drab grey because Richardson’s artwork was unauthorized, uncommissioned, political and may have “referred to (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper.”

The painter and filmmaker kicked off work on the new mural last Sept. 25 with a community party. He had spent at least 30 hours on it, with about another 10 to go, when he learned Monday the city had used grey and white paint to completely blot out the mathematical formula incorporating Morse code symbols and grim-faced businessmen with yellow halos.

Elyse Parker, a director in the city’s transportation services department, said the artwork was erased after a resident complained it was political. City records suggested the older north wall mural was commissioned, but not the one on the south wall, she said.

“This was not approved by the city and we would not endorse any kind of mural with political messaging,” she said. “There was some discussion that the mural referred to Stephen Harper. That’s the suggestion, that’s what it looked like to us.”

Richardson says the mural “had nothing to do with Stephen Harper” — while it is “subversive and anti-freewheeling capitalism” — and his friend Benjamin Blais was the model for the businessman.

Vic Gedris, who runs the Junction Triangle website and led the Jane’s Walk that saw participants question Robertson about his mural, said the city recently painted over graffiti by “Posterchild” in a different, nearby underpass depicting Harper in riot gear.

West Toronto Railpath on Metro Morning, CBC Radio

CBC Radio's Metro Morning did a segment about Rail Trails today, with Mary Wiens interviewing Ken Greenberg while on a bike ride along the West Toronto Railpath:

"The CBC's Mary Wiens spoke with author Ken Greenberg about why our city's rail trails are an indication that Toronto is going to get even better. His book, "Walking Home", is published by Random House Canada."

You can listen to this segment on the CBC website here.

Photo by Vic Gedris, from the unofficial Railpath opening ride in 2009.

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