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Massive arts hub coming to West Queen West Triangle

Posted by Derek Flack / May 10, 2012

Arts hub Queen West Triangle Active 18A new 36,000 square foot arts hub is coming to the area dubbed the West Queen West Triangle — and longstanding community group Active 18 has their fingerprints all over the project. To be built at the bottom of the still-under-construction Edge condo at Queen and Lisgar, future tenants of the space already include Gallery TPW, the Toronto Media Arts Cluster (TMAC), Interaccess, Le Labo, the Canadian Film Distribution Centre, Charles Street Video, the Toronto Animated Images Society, and the Images Festival.

Although a firm opening date remains elusive, the target is fall late 2013. At present, the development that will house the hub is little more than a foundation. When complete, the space will occupy the second and third floors of the condo.

The news represents a significant accomplishment for Active 18, who's fought to retain the artistic character of the area in the wake of the condo boom that's taken place over the last five years. While they were ultimately unable to prevent the demolition of 48 Abell — the crusade for which the group is best known — this is much more than a consolation prize.

TMAC arts hubAlong with the Artscape Triangle Lofts, which occupy the first three floors of Urbancorp's 150 Sudbury development (a.k.a. The Westside Lofts), the new space should ensure that the arts remain a vibrant element in the community from both a residential and commercial standpoint (i.e. galleries, cinema space, arts organizations).

The cost of the arts hub is currently pegged at $12 million. According to a press release, "the space will be built out by the developer and 'purchased' by TMAC subject only to a $3M take back mortgage." The key to the deal is that Urbancorp was granted the zoning rights to build its Edge and Epic condos to a greater height in exchange for the art space.

Choosing not to dwell on the past, Active 18 characterizes this development as a "happy beginning." It's hard to argue against the idea that this will serve as an excellent addition to a neighbourhood that, with the exception of 99 Sudbury, lacks for cultural life south of Queen Street. And, as far as trade-offs go, the additional height is unlikely to change the character of an area that's already thoroughly defined by tall towers.

West Queen West TriangleLead photo by the author / ground level photo-diagram by Michelle Gay



Nick / May 10, 2012 at 02:25 pm
"Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings." —Jane Jacobs
mike in parkdale / May 10, 2012 at 02:27 pm
This is great news. I'm very happy to hear of a development that's actually bringing something back to the area.
Vikki von Vikki / May 10, 2012 at 02:31 pm
I miss the Elvis...
Rob Ford / May 10, 2012 at 02:31 pm
better use of the space would be a tim hortons and a swiss chalet, this is what the people want!
Vikki von Vikki replying to a comment from Derek / May 10, 2012 at 02:49 pm
You are a dear.
GRBY / May 10, 2012 at 04:07 pm
This is great. Glad to see the city is making a tiny bit of an effort to maintain the integrity of this neighborhood in which I reside.

I'd be happier if they built that damn bridge over the train tracks like they promised! If I walk from 150 Sudbury to liberty villiage it takes 20 minutes, when it should take 5!!!
hi!q replying to a comment from GRBY / May 10, 2012 at 04:32 pm
Why not just drive?
JB replying to a comment from GRBY / May 10, 2012 at 04:41 pm
They should throw that pedestrian bridge in right now while they're working on the Strachan railway underpass.
lol / May 10, 2012 at 05:46 pm
so we are going from an unused relic old factory to the bottum of some yuppie tower filled mostly with airhead renters thinking they are still in dorm rooms ya this will work out nice...
Rahim / May 10, 2012 at 05:46 pm
I'm glad such a thing is occurring - it's good for the city and for the area (I've lived and worked in the neighbourhood for a couple of years of my life) But, I do hope that Active 18 approaches the idea of encouraging some of the arts organizations/tenants of this area to open up their doors to younger artists and instill a few more programs that will develop and strengthen some of the younger voices that are presently not having access to funding or peer support for some of their work. Community responsibility isn't just about preservation of buildings or protecting your backyard, but opening your doors. Great victory, yes, but I hope the list of organizations moving into the area understand that they have a responsibility to encourage such development of other voices in the area and truly being part of the community (otherwise, aside from the preservation of some structures, what are we ultimately celebrating, really?)
EatIt / May 10, 2012 at 06:17 pm
queen west is going to be the next city place!!1 except the building will be built even crappier!... this place will be urban wasteland with building that are falling apart, and renters not owners occupying the buildings.
steve replying to a comment from lol / May 10, 2012 at 07:03 pm
That sounds just so sad
steve replying to a comment from EatIt / May 10, 2012 at 07:03 pm
you sad too?
Alan / May 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm
art spaces cannot be created by developers they can only "happen" by artists.
Suss / May 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm
The last 4 comments: WAAAAH!

You are walking cliches.
Eric26 replying to a comment from Suss / May 11, 2012 at 06:16 am
Agreed. And that Jane Jacobs quote in the first comment has to be the least intelligent thing she's ever said.
lol / May 11, 2012 at 07:55 am
The closest thing to art that happens in the WQW triangle these days is the polaroid effect on Instagram
Alex / May 11, 2012 at 09:12 am
I thought artists generally didn't make much money. How will they be able to afford to live in the area if it is all luxury condos?

How come they are only building 'luxury' condos? I know it's all marketing and greed anyway, but it would be nice if they built some more affordable condos in the city too. Once supply exceeds demand I guess they'll just start becoming affordable.
Stephanie / May 11, 2012 at 10:05 am
I'm confused by the comments that see renters in buildings as a problem. What's so wrong with not having an overstuffed mortgage or an average-level income? Not everyone can afford a condo at Toronto prices, and there's just not enough rental-only buildings in the city for the people who don't have the luxury of financial-sector jobs. People with high incomes and high debt levels are not the only responsible people in this city.
mk / May 11, 2012 at 11:44 am
God I hope proposed building on the corner lot (#10 on the map) isn't going to be designed by the same architects as Bohemian Embassy. Hope the developers realize that is a once in a lifetime location.
Rafter / May 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm
As soon as those fuckers tore down the old artist's co-op at 48 Abell St. it was clear the idea of queen west as an 'artists hub' or any sort of community was nothing more than a marketing angle to these selfish greedy myopic fuckers.
Teena replying to a comment from Vikki von Vikki / May 11, 2012 at 01:16 pm
Me too ... great greasy breakfasts!
Holly replying to a comment from Rafter / May 11, 2012 at 04:47 pm
It was clear before then... but there's Artscape and my building listed as the "Social Housing Tower" that do provide affordable homes for those in the arts. That said... the future here for culture is looking pretty grim indeed.
Josh / May 13, 2012 at 10:40 pm
Artists will create where they want to create - you can't force them in a 500sq foot condo and go - OK CREATE!!
Mr. J replying to a comment from hi!q / May 17, 2012 at 09:29 am

Evolution equipped you with two legs for walking not for acceleration and breaking pedals.
Adam replying to a comment from EatIt / May 21, 2012 at 05:47 pm
LOL! no this won't become city place. The people and the area are way cooler than most shity place dwellers. This area attracts a strong number of people that come here for the great nightlife, restaurants, galleries etc. Shity place has nothing of the sort to offer. West Queen West will be the next King West.
Theresa / May 27, 2012 at 05:02 pm
190 Unit Social Housing Tower! Blog TO can you hear me say "Law Suit" With parking I pay $1325 for a 2 bedroom in the "Social Housing" Tower. Social Housing my ass. Why would you want to stigmatize a whole building. There are some tenants on subsidy but it doesnt even make up half the population. The majority of people are paying market rent to live here. Including me! 190 Rental Units would have been much more appropriate. Change it please before I make an issue out of it.
SocialHousingRus replying to a comment from Theresa / May 27, 2012 at 06:10 pm
it is a social housing tower... 1350 for a 2 bedroom is hardly market rate in this area.. the other building you are lucky if you can find a 1 bedroom for under 2k

it is subsidized housing.. even the property management says so.
Mr. J replying to a comment from SocialHousingRus / May 29, 2012 at 09:25 am
Hey there SocialHousingRus – I do to live in the “Social Housing Tower” @ 180 Sudbury St, and I find it insulting that you just slapped a label on the whole building without doing the minimum required research as a journalist, oh sorry – blogger.

The firs levels of the building are work/live studios for artist – that’s where I pay the $1170 monthly rent for a 750SF unit. To be eligible to live there you have to be a professional artist – to translate this for you, it means to sell your art to make a living.

Subsidized housing dose not all the time refers to the inability of its end users to make market payments. Sometimes, and this is the case, the subsidizing tries to ease the burden of housing in a crazy market like Toronto’s housing market, and support those who do not work in the financial system (not all of us desire to be a banker). I have a master degree in industrial design; my partner has a master degree in art and history of art - these are very unprofitable financial career paths that limit our “affordability” in terms of housing in Toronto.

When the opportunity at 180 Sudbury arrived we went for it. For the developer it may come with strings attached – you developer, you have to accept some squanders in your building too if you want the government to subsidize the costs of the development – and I to had to learn to deal with the situation, but to label the whole development as “social housing” with that condescending tone it is just pure, crass ignorance and stupidity – YOU BLOGGER!!!
SocialHousingRus replying to a comment from Mr. J / May 29, 2012 at 02:56 pm
oh god.. someone drake the cool-aid... it's a project / social housing building. there is no shame in living in one, and the city by-laws state that you have to build a certain number of project / or social housing units in areas that have high density.
Theresa / May 29, 2012 at 03:51 pm
Last I checked there were people renting their units at 170 "The Curve" for $1250 for a 2 bedroom. Is that a Social Housing Building too? Around neighbourhood apartments are priced in the range I pay.
The problem I have is the labelling. When in this world will people stop the labelling. I work in Social Services and it just bites my ass that people have to do this.
Dont you think it would be more appropriate to put 190 Rental Units?
Why dont you just paint it up the side of the building? Then the rest of the world can know too?
It is insulting and stigmatizing. Hey SocialHousingRus, did you want me to send you a listing for a cheap place at the Curve and you can fit right in?
Mr. J replying to a comment from SocialHousingRus / May 30, 2012 at 09:59 am
Hey SocialHousingRus, don’t try to spin it in a different direction now. It will be fair to assume responsibility for your writing, admit mistake, and be prone to change the description on the map – at least that’s what a courteous person will do.

I do not expect that from you though. With your discourse you proved that you are a prejudiced, biased person, and here are some reasons.

First - you use the “social housing” label on 180 Sudbury building to make a statement of superiority against the other: “1350 for a 2 bedroom is hardly market rate in this area.. the other building you are lucky if you can find a 1 bedroom for under 2k”. Being “competent” to pay 2000 instead of 1350 brings that feeling extra special sentiment in you right?

Second - you apparently, very apparently, have no idea what a government subsidized development means: “it is a social housing tower... it is subsidized housing.. even the property management says so”. Social and subsidized are not the same thing – the federal government defines affordable housing as housing which is AT or bellow the average market rent for the area, on the other hand the social housing refers to allowing people and families with low wages, or who get government help (checks in the mail), to find housing in the private sector. It might sound the same for you but it is so not the same. The first group shops the market until they find something that goes well with their budgets (why would I pay 2k/1 bdr in this building when I can pay 1350/2 bdr in the vis-à-vis building), the second group needs government support to find housing, this usually are older people, persons with disabilities, people who are homeless or have special needs, and racialized people.

Third – you belittle fellow commentators with your condescending tone and the type of dissertation you bring to the table.

Fourth – you did not prepare at all in order to sustain a point of view. The typical attitude, just go out there and say whatever comes out of your simple, ignorant, lazy mind. You get questioned by others that do not agree with how and what you say and your attitude/answer is this:” oh god.. someone drake the cool-aid... “. What this mean anyway?

Theresa replying to a comment from Mr. J / May 30, 2012 at 11:49 pm
At Mr. J.... good job! Much more diplomatic than what would come out of my mouth. Well said....well said.
The more I am in this area the more I realize.....I dont want to eat construction dust for 2 more years, I dont want to be around a single person like SocialHousingRus either.....
West Queen West Triangle......IM OUT!
Take your shwank and SHOVE IT!
Theresa replying to a comment from Mr. J / May 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm
I would take love, peace, compassion and REAL ASS PEOPLE above money and power any day!
STEWART replying to a comment from Theresa / May 31, 2012 at 08:38 am
I'm an ASS MAN myself. I love it when they're real.
Get On With it! / May 31, 2012 at 09:46 am
Get on with the Gentrification!
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I mean Massive arts hub coming to West Queen West Triangle is
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