Change is good at Yonge/Eglinton
Christopher Hume – Toronto Star
Maybe it isn’t surprising Toronto has such problems dealing with its own success. The City of Neighbourhoods is full of people who stand on guard against change in all its forms. Often their vigilance is justified, but sometimes it’s simply obstructionist.
In either case, it means that even when things happen, they do so slowly and painfully.
But when an area such as Yonge and Eglinton has become as cosmopolitan as it is, you know that change can be a good thing, something we control but also encourage. Specifically, we’re talking about Yonge south of Eglinton, which wasn’t always what it is today.
The advent of the two residential towers on the east side of Yonge several years ago helped fill in a gap that in effect severed the street. That didn’t quell the anger of local residents who fought the project every step of the way.
At the same time, however, the old two- and three-storey buildings that line Yonge, Mount Pleasant and Bayview have been put to new uses over and over again.
Indeed, each generation remakes these modest but wonderfully flexible structures in its own image.
Condo Critic – Chaplin Place, 20 Glebe Road West
Tucked away on a tiny dead-end street halfway between Eglinton and Davisville Aves., this unusual red-brick condo takes full advantage of a site that many might consider problematic. Located alongside the TTC subway line, which was cut through the neighbourhood more than half a century ago, it would be a perfect place for anyone wanting to know if the trains are running on time.
Though far from beautiful, the five-storey building feels entirely appropriate in its context and thoroughly thought through. The boxiness seems right in such an urban setting. The large windows and slanted sunroofs on top make it clear this is residential, despite the presence of several businesses at street level. The entrance, which faces south onto Glebe, does not call attention to itself but is not hard to find. To the west, the units overlook the tracks, which may not sound desirable but this stretch of the subway is one of the most attractive.
Architecturally, the most interesting aspect of the building lies in the almost monumental quality of the masonry exteriors. With their strong vertical and horizontal lines, they bring a nice sense of simplicity and character to the place. Aesthetically, it looks like an early modernist variation on a vaguely Arts and Crafts theme.
The randomly arranged concrete planters out front don’t add much to things. Why we can’t manage to put trees into the ground where they belong is hard to understand. If North Toronto is to remain as leafy as we have grown to expect, it’s time to start planting.
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