Saturday, 11 January 2014

Goodbye to Auld Yonge Street

Click to enlarge- it's worth it

You don't have to travel to Detroit to photograph images of people living in dilapidated and collapsing buildings. You can find the same thing in Toronto!

On Canada Day 2013 I journeyed to the former North York area of the city of Toronto to document for the last time a stretch of 2 story postwar retail buildings. Due to development pressures, these buildings will be demolished and Condos will rise in their place.


Click to enlarge- it's worth it

The journey begins with this cute cluster of buildings that have not only survived, but are thriving.

Sapporo Sushi/ Academy of Excellence- 5469-Yonge St, North York, ON
Click to enlarge- it's worth it

I've heard they make good sushi!

Laneway at rear of 5469-5437-Yonge St, North York, ON
Click to enlarge- it's worth it

For the true urban romantic (psychogeographer, as Guy Debord would have said), a dirt laneway in such a metropolitan location presents great charm.

Mister Transmission- 5437 Yonge Street, North York, ON
Click to enlarge- it's worth it

I was drawn to this building for reasons I cannot fathom. I think partly because of the precise calibration of its dereliction... That perfectly-centered missing decor panel. The fact that a building that is going to be torn down is getting a new roof?!

It's been up for sale for over one year.

Future Condo Complex- 4917-4975 Yonge Street, North York, ON
Click to enlarge- it's worth it

Stewart Brand writes that over time, buildings learn. I would say this building has learned it's going to die. Slowly. The Conservancy Group has applied to build a complex that includes the Platinum Tower, Platinum XO, and Pearl Residences. According to Urban Toronto it has been in limbo since Jan 2009 as the developer applies for different zoning variations.



Riviera Travel Agency-5376 Yonge St, North York, ON
Click to enlarge- it's worth it

The Riviera Travel Agency is the jewel that motivated my excursion in the first place. It's such an optimistic streetfront. The beautiful typography of the signage. The obsolete logos. Vitrolite tile!

And yet that aged and decrepit roof indicates the building is being neglected..

Click to enlarge- it's worth it

Flickr member “John Fitzgerald in Toronto” had this to say about Riviera travel...
"I love the top sign. Some classic 50s-style calligraphy and some nice old fonts. I'd guess the sign is from the late 60s or early 70s, though, because the blue trim at the bottom is more characteristic of that period than of the 50s. An interesting transitional piece, as we say the Design Critics' Union meetings."

Future Centrium Condo and Hotel Complex- 5220 to 5254 Yonge Street, North York, ON

Click to enlarge- it's worth it


The City of Toronto website provides this information on the development: 

"The development, known as Centrium at North York, would consist of a 14- storey (49 metre), 150 suite hotel and a 30-storey (100 metre), 258 unit residential tower on a multi-level base building. The 5-storey (23 metre) base building would contain retail and service
commercial uses, as lobby and amenity uses for the proposed hotel and residential towers, as well as 7 rental replacement units."

How this area looked in April 1955...

Future Centrium Condo and Hotel Complex- 5220 to 5254 Yonge Street, North York, ON
Click to enlarge- it's worth it

This building was originally the North York & Weston Family Service Center. Now it's going to be the Centrium condo and hotel complex. I hope families in need still have a support organization.

Closed - 5015 Yonge St, North York, ON

The building is sloughing into a rather beautiful ruin. It's sure to be an eyesore for years to come, as no re-development plan has yet been filed with the City.

Vic-Tone Dry Cleaners- 4866 Yonge St, North York, ON
Click to enlarge- it's worth it


And we end our tour admiring a lovely sign at a classic 20th Century storefront, still surviving in the 21st Century.

No comments:

Post a Comment