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Arts

Gehry and Mirvish project officially unveiled in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / October 1, 2012

Mirvish GehryDon't call them condos. "I am building three sculptures that people can live in," David Mirvish said during his official unveiling of the Mirvish/Gehry transformation of King Street West. "We're sharing a privilege."

That privilege will climb up to 85 storeys (pending approval, of course), spread over three residential towers and sit atop two six-storey stepped podiums. David Mirvish and world-renowned architect Frank Gehry formally introduced their plans for a major overhaul of King Street West this morning at the Art Gallery of Ontario — an appropriate setting considering the 2008 AGO redesign exists as Gehry's other major Canadian project.

The project, as it currently stands, will stretch from the Royal Alex to John Street and include a 60,000-square-foot gallery, a new OCAD University facility, and three distinctly designed residential towers. The gallery will showcase the personal art collection of Audrey and David Mirvish, which will land after years of international travel (loans to museums in Europe and the U.S.) and will be free and open to the public. The one major casualty of the Mirvish and Gehry design, however, will be the Princess of Wales Theatre, which opened back in 1993. Mirvish was not shy to address this point at his press conference Monday morning.

"Having theatres that are not full all the time is not better than art galleries," he said.

Gehry echoed that idea — albeit, somewhat vaguely — when he later took the mic. "We have this image of Toronto that doesn't really exist anymore," he said, noting that his Toronto roots stem back to his grandfather's hardware store on Queen Street. "Yet we're yearning with nostalgia to connect to it."

Gehry's portfolio includes such venerable works as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. When asked why he's decided to return to Toronto now, Gehry answers simply, "David Mirvish. Period."

Mirvish Gehry TorontoBoth Mirvish and Gehry readily pointed out that the models presented this morning don't necessarily represent the final project as it will eventually be built. That is to say; the exterior sculptural "cladding" (which some commenters have helpfully noted as akin to "garbage" or "torn paper") that's intended to create vertical expression may not survive. And we'll see if Mirvish and Gehry achieve their far-reaching (excuse the expression) goal of three 80+ storey towers.

But Councillor Adam Vaughan, of course, was there to offer his unbridled optimism. "Planning is about finding the word 'yes,'" he said to reporters after the presentation. "It's very easy to say 'no, it's too big' or 'no, it's too small' [...] something's going to happen, we have to make sure it builds strength into the community not just simply builds a building."

"I believe when you build a tall building like this it must be a vertical neighbourhood if it's going to succeed."

The next step to success for Mirvish and Gehry however, depends on City approval.

Mirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish GehryMirvish Gehry ProjectMirvish Gehry ProjectPhotos by Tom Ryaboi

Discussion

79 Comments

Bilbao / October 1, 2012 at 02:11 pm
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So i guess the current OCAD building will become another condo!

Justin / October 1, 2012 at 02:23 pm
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I like how in the first photo the central building is almost completely blocking out the CN Tower, conveying effectively that Toronto is being completely overrun by condos. Pretty soon we'll be indistinguishable from Hong Kong.
Binky / October 1, 2012 at 02:23 pm
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Gee. I guess with all the additional condo residents the TTC will have to add another streetcar to supplement the two currently servicing King Street.
J / October 1, 2012 at 02:26 pm
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What I don't like is how they are DOWNPLAYING that this is a condo building - by adding the bells and whistles in the lobby their trying sway the public eye away from the fact.


Stephanie replying to a comment from Bilbao / October 1, 2012 at 02:26 pm
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Everything has indicated that OCAD is expanding its space with this project, not moving.
Stephanie replying to a comment from Bilbao / October 1, 2012 at 02:28 pm
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Specifics re. OCAD's plans can be found here: http://www.ocadu.ca/about_ocad/articles/headlines/20121001_mirvish-gehry_dev_news.htm
Maria / October 1, 2012 at 02:32 pm
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They look like Jenga. Careful or they'll collapse!
Don / October 1, 2012 at 02:33 pm
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Tearing down the Princess of Wales theatre for this garbage? No need to call it the theatre district anymore with only the Royal Alex left (RTH doesn't count as a theatre). Ed must be turning in his grave! No wonder DM waited until Ed had passed on to destroy his legacy.
zappa / October 1, 2012 at 02:35 pm
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Toronto is already raped...so don't worry you Arch. Cake Makers. Sculpture yes...tell me about it...
zappa / October 1, 2012 at 02:37 pm
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Close all the Architectural courses. Cake makers design the future.
Greggreg@rogers.com / October 1, 2012 at 02:38 pm
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Just what we need, another condo. Traffic is already a nightmare here... Couldn't we at least at a tax in areas like this for transit improvement?
EricM / October 1, 2012 at 02:45 pm
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Good grief NIMBY's! As was stated by The Stars theatre critic today it could ultimately improve the culture scene in the city. Unlike the condos on the waterfront, these don't really take away from the lake at all with everything else there and unlike so many of the boring glass and steel buildings these have the potential to be iconic in their creative design. This is good development for a city that is growing. Do you want the TTC to stop increasing fares? Would you like better service and infrastructure? How about getting our jack ass of a mayor to shut up about how the city is out of money and there is invisible gravy everywhere? Three 80 story towers where each individual unit pays annul taxes and initial land transfer can help...
v79 / October 1, 2012 at 02:49 pm
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I guess Toronto is where Gehry dumps all of his half-assed leftover designs. I won't miss the ugly exterior of the PWT, but two of these three buildings are entirely forgettable, and the museum entrance "cladding" not only doesn't fit with the rest of the project, but really does look like scraps of paper inexplicably littering the neighbourhood. If you're going to invest up to 1 billion into something, make sure the design is worthy of the investment. At the moment, this is not.
Binky / October 1, 2012 at 02:49 pm
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This is a fantastic project, a piece of the puzzle that is Toronto's future. Look at the building density in NYC. Toronto is destined to follow suit. If there's a problem it's that bureaucrats perennially fail to anticipate the obvious future transportation infrastructure needs, be that the TTC, expressways, or bike lanes.
condos condos condos! / October 1, 2012 at 02:57 pm
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From the Globe and Mail
"“I’m not sure if we’ll have a fight with this,” said Mr. Mirvish, as he explained how he believed the condos were necessary to finance the rest of the project"

What rest of the project?! He's saying he needs 3 condos to fund a museum and OCAD space? What a load of BS. Mirvish is trying to cash in on the condo bubble. Too bad it's just about ready to burst.
Oh God no!!! / October 1, 2012 at 03:04 pm
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We can't have this! What happens if people actually live there! In fact lets bulldoze any semblance of progress and cancel all building approvals in the city. Maybe we can go back to the horse drawn streetcars as well! It's so weird that developments like this are the corner where RoFo's most geriatric Etobians and the more radical urban NDPers intersect.
Sean / October 1, 2012 at 03:08 pm
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I don't get it. The 2nd picture has what looks like a long sheet of toilet paper in front of the wooden pallets stack and what looks like a stack of styrofoam take-out containers.

This is far from progress. Getting rid of the Princess Wales Theatre is no surprise. Just like New Tork City, theatre goers are thinning out due to expensive tickets and the rehashing of the same musicals, etc. I'm guessing David will be building more condos and getting rid more theatres one by one. Expect lame excuses why they will need to come down.
Cyril Sneer / October 1, 2012 at 03:17 pm
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Everything Gehry does looks like shit.
Bobby / October 1, 2012 at 03:27 pm
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I don't care this project looks incredible! Can't wait to see this
Hammered / October 1, 2012 at 03:38 pm
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"Both Mirvish and Gehry readily pointed out that the models presented this morning don't necessarily represent the final project as it will eventually be built. That is to say; the exterior sculptural "cladding" (which some commenters have helpfully noted as akin to "garbage" or "torn paper") that's intended to create vertical expression may not survive."

----

YEP! Another ROM "crystal" shitshow COMING RIGHT UP KIDS!

They should be forced to keep the theatre's facade.
Douglas replying to a comment from Justin / October 1, 2012 at 03:46 pm
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Yeah you're right Justin, that 80 story condo is totally going to block out the measly 181 stories of the CN Tower. With only another 110+ stories towering over everything else it'll be lost forever.

Come on.
Douglas replying to a comment from Douglas / October 1, 2012 at 03:49 pm
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before someone jumps all over me let me correct my typo...

With only another 101+ stories towering over everything else it'll be lost forever.
Paul / October 1, 2012 at 03:50 pm
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I quite like each of the buildings individually, but I'm not a fan of how the three of them look together. Makes me think of a gap-toothed smile. I think it would be better if they varied the heights. The 'scrap paper' podium doesn't look very good, so hopefully it will be refined a lot before the final iteration.

Personally I would visit an abstract art museum / gallery ten times more often than I would see a Broadway-style theatre production, but that's just me.
Miguel / October 1, 2012 at 03:54 pm
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Perhaps now would be the time to build a subway below the length of King (to join up with the other lines at either end of course), to help move the higher density of residents.
Hammered / October 1, 2012 at 04:01 pm
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I just realized the theatre only opened in 1993.

It ain't no historical jewel.

No need to save any of it.

Unless someone famous peed there.

Then save the urinal and put it on top of one of the new towers.
Hammered replying to a comment from Paul / October 1, 2012 at 04:03 pm
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If each towerwas 10 storeys higher than the next, they could let people zip line down from roof to roof.

CAN YOU SAY CHA CHING
JennyT / October 1, 2012 at 04:08 pm
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I like it. :) There are still plenty of tourist trap theatres in the city for the American's and 905ers. I'd recommend Captain John's or the old spaghetti factory for a pre-show meal for them. ;)
Brian replying to a comment from Paul / October 1, 2012 at 04:10 pm
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I agree...galleries are much more appealing than another rehash of Annie or Sound of Music....
SPC / October 1, 2012 at 04:10 pm
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so... what about this development happening pretty much next door? (see last week's blogTO "Restuarant Row" article)

Is King between Spadina and University going to be one giant construction block for the next ten years? I love how none of these developments seem to look at the broader context.
How is that stretch going to sustain several thousand more residents?
Matt replying to a comment from JennyT / October 1, 2012 at 04:13 pm
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Ha! I know American's are well... American. Still, even they don't deserve The Captain or Old Spaghetti. Amazing how far we have come thinking that way. Meah, I like it as well.
Diego / October 1, 2012 at 04:13 pm
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Amazing!... What a Landmark this could be!...
JP / October 1, 2012 at 05:03 pm
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Guys. Seriously. This is not like ... bulldozing the Annex to build Cityplace.

It's knocking down a non-historical theatre, that appears to be no longer commercially viable, and some very nice, midrise buildings (that I would be sad to see go).

But Gehry IS probably the most renowned living architect today. Dish out the cynicism if you want, but it's true.

The idea that someone like him could have a downtown cityblock to sculpt is something that Toronto has been screaming for. So many boring, glass, boxy buildings. So much mediocrity, and low aspirations in the way this city is built.

This is a bit crazy. But if it succeeds as a cultural and architectural landmark, it has a chance to be monumental for the city.
Jacob / October 1, 2012 at 05:04 pm
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I love it. We need some daring architecture in this city.
JP / October 1, 2012 at 05:07 pm
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And as for the 'oh great, more condos' stuff.

I think I wrote this in another post - but Toronto is growing. It will continue to grow. (This is actually a good thing, by the way).

Toronto can either build up (downtown condos) or build out (Brampton/Vaughn suburbia). Guess which is more livable? Guess which gets more people out of their cars and using transit/walking? Guess which is better environmentally? Guess which creates a more vibrant, enjoyable, interesting city? NOT the option that has everyone drive out of the downtown at 5pm (one person per car) to their house 45 minutes away (see most US major cities).

Obviously, this can go too far. You don't want your whole city made up of condo highrises. But this is right downtown. It's a fine place for something like this.
Matt / October 1, 2012 at 05:16 pm
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In a city wrought with monotonous, sterile glass towers, this project would provide a much needed edge to Torontos skyline. Some people have argued it shadows the CN Tower. Our skyline is viewed from the lake, and King Street is north of the Tower. Calm down everyone the Tower will still dominate the skyline .Oh no! Not the PWT!! Come on everyone, its bag of 90's architectural trash with little significance to this city. Why are My fellow Torontonians so afraid of making progress??
dee / October 1, 2012 at 05:32 pm
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I'm far from being a huge fan of pricy condos, or construction. But you know what? I LOVE THIS. Three beautiful buildings to give our skyline something unique and striking (think NYC and all the many landmark showpiece buildings!) plus space for students AND a free gallery?! I say this is well worth the demolition of a single theatre that has no historic significance anyway! I think the location choice is excellent, and would much rather see condos going up in this area than expanding ever-further down a waterfront (a sorely abused waterfront that could be better developed for public space instead). So bravo to Gehry and Mirvish; I for one am eagerly anticipating this project.
GL replying to a comment from JP / October 1, 2012 at 05:39 pm
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Wow JP. Thanks for posting my exact thoughts :)
SPC replying to a comment from JP / October 1, 2012 at 05:41 pm
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You're right the city will continue to grow, but I just wonder if it'll match the growth of condos. We're already seeing a slowdown of people buying condos, and yet we're planning on building even more.

People are crying that Cityplace and Liberty village are going to become slums since there's "no neighbourhood" and the area's so expensive, well what will happen here?

The city needs to pace itself and look at long-term planning, instead of being dazzled by big names dangling the promise of "world class" buildings.

This condo boom just isn't sustainable unless we take a hard look at what else is going on in the area with respect to demographics, transit, and community services
crappyArchitecture / October 1, 2012 at 05:42 pm
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sorry no WOW factor...not ugly, nor beautiful or interesting enough. blah!
JP / October 1, 2012 at 05:48 pm
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@SPC - King West is already such an established neighbourhood, I don't think we need to have the same Cityplace concerns. I mean Cityplace was basically built in a field.

I think the fact that we may be building too much too quickly is a fair criticism from a real estate point of view though. If that's the case, I'd love to see this project go ahead of some other, less ambitious proposals.
Andrew / October 1, 2012 at 05:49 pm
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Save The Princess of Wales Theatre!
NotAFan / October 1, 2012 at 06:05 pm
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After hearing about this proposed development all day on the radio, I was excited to come home and discover what the actual buildings would look like. Let's just say I'm not in the least impressed by the proposed building designs. They look clunky, awkward, and ready to collapse - like a game of Jenga, as Maria commented. Gehry has done some truly graceful designs in the past, so I was surprised to see these. Perhaps they thought Toronto's skyline and architecture was too graceful already, and they wanted something that resembled the ugly cousins of Mississauga's more visually sensual "Marilyn Monroe" Towers?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/63649137@N06/8017977990/

If that was the case, then BRAVO! - they've succeeded? I don't think the idea as a whole is necessarily bad, but these initial designs make me shudder.
NotAFan / October 1, 2012 at 06:07 pm
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The link I added doesn't seem to be clickable, perhaps because of the ampersand. Copy and paste, please. Sorry about that.
david / October 1, 2012 at 06:36 pm
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I am a little sad that any theater would be going but this one is not historical, its an ugly building inside and out and says little. Lets build some real urbanization in Toronto and get on with it- time for some strong and interesting buildings. There is still a strong condo market for the right buildings in the city.
Maybe replying to a comment from Cyril Sneer / October 1, 2012 at 06:46 pm
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To be fair, most of your comments (not limited to just this article) are shit as well so at least you two have something in common.
Gee / October 1, 2012 at 07:37 pm
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Who knew that most of Toronto is made of wood!
Jim / October 1, 2012 at 08:34 pm
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A refreshing update to the prosaic condo-scape currently marring the once-distinct, layered Toronto skyline. At last, Toronto takes a chance with architecture! I personally like Mississauga's "Marilyn Monroe" towers better.
Why not make a real statement and make them taller, say, 120 stories?
Knobber / October 1, 2012 at 08:37 pm
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Frank Gehry is 83 years old if the project takes 7 years he will most likely be dead before its finished. At 83 you can crumple paper and stack up wood blocks hey Frank its almost time for the nursing home. David Mivish is in his late 60`s in his late 70`s he can say he owns three empty 85 story buildings. If you built a building with toilet paper its must be shit.
Passerby / October 1, 2012 at 09:20 pm
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I like it.

It'll look fine on the Toronto skyline and at ground level, I always enjoy Gehry's bizarre metal designs. This is a pretty cool project and I hope it goes swimmingly.
need a jjob / October 1, 2012 at 09:24 pm
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if those were commercial imagine all the jobs that would be created....
How do you spell / October 1, 2012 at 09:25 pm
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Downtown Relief Line.
OhNO! / October 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm
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OH NO, How dare they demolish a 20 year old theatre that has absolutely no historical value. OH NO, how dare they build an iconic landmark in our city. OH NO, how dare they build something that is different from the rest of the glass towers in the city. OH NO, what ever are we going to do??????

I do think that the TTC will need a MAJOR overhaul to handle the added density, however.
Jesse / October 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm
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One of the most famous architects of all time is building three massive buildings in Toronto, and people are complaining? My only complaint is that they aren't a little taller, say 400 or 500 meters. Tall buildings are pretty sweet, and I don't see why folks are up in arms. That theater kinda sucked. I love skyscrapers.
jen / October 1, 2012 at 11:11 pm
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I'm not sad to see PWT go (ugly ugly building, that) but it WILL be sad to see those beautiful heritage warehouses around it go down. I love the White Wear building on the corner of King and John. We keep on losing viable office space in this neighbourhood for more condos and that is incredibly sad. The Gehry project does not need to be this big. I think there's a lot of ego driving this one.
billy bob thorton / October 2, 2012 at 12:25 am
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Glass falling from an 85 floor building built by an 83 year old man that cant be safe. Why cant we get a younger Architect there must be a few around.
RodrigoRube replying to a comment from Jesse / October 2, 2012 at 02:24 am
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No! The real problem with these buildings is that development, in general, hasn't been stopped. What Toronto needs is a little bit of depopulation. It'll help the all the businesses in the service sector. Besides which, I don't want my condo view blocked, dirty people using MY park, or other people - other than myself of course - generating traffic, etc. People should move to the green fields north of Canada's Wonderland. It'll stop the traffic problem that won't continue to rise for the foreseeable future and has been rising for the last 40 years. Further, it's quite clear that these 3 specific buildings are the source of all the city's problems and that the faux historical preservationists understand better than David Mirvish what is viable in terms of theatre.
JatinderDoe replying to a comment from condos condos condos! / October 2, 2012 at 02:40 am
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methinks you doth protest a lot for someone who figures the 'condo bubble' is about to burst. what's the matter? deep down you think these might actually get built?
Winker / October 2, 2012 at 02:48 am
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Why dont they build something big like a 160 story condo building.
steve replying to a comment from RodrigoRube / October 2, 2012 at 08:10 am
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I am going to have to assume your post was tongue in cheek, I can't believe you seriously believe what you wrote
j-rock / October 2, 2012 at 08:55 am
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I'm all for Toronto thinking big for a change, but they need to make sure that they deal with the unsexy issues like providing adequate services, and proper transportation for the thousands of people that this will bring to the area. The King streetcar is already struggling.
cobyrne / October 2, 2012 at 09:42 am
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OH NO! Change!
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from How do you spell / October 2, 2012 at 09:56 am
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Ain't gonna happen now, thanks to our stupid mayor and the FYIGM (Fuck You I Got Mine) crowd that voted him in.
Boring Bill / October 2, 2012 at 11:08 am
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Try to take a streetcar between 3 and 6pm any day of the week between Spadina and Yonge on King and tell me throwing 2500-4000 people in that area is a good idea. And years of construction can't possibly help. Also, let's be honest here- an art gallery will be no more of a draw than the theatre is. That's their way of distracting anyone complaining about the loss of culture. How long before the galler becomes a H&M?

tripper / October 2, 2012 at 04:47 pm
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I, for one, am thrilled that there are still a few people like Mirvish and Gehry around who have big ballsy ideas and plans for this city. We need more of this kind of thing. People with vision and big ideas and the guts (and money) to see them through.

It's very unCanadian, I know. But Canada hates us anyway, so screw 'em.

I wonder / October 2, 2012 at 09:12 pm
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I wonder how many of you whiners would have bitched and complained about the CN Tower when it was being built. HOW DARE THEY CHANGE TORONTO!!!

Mr. Condo / October 3, 2012 at 01:54 am
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I'm going to try to get myself a condo in each of the new towers.
Sriskandakumar OMalley / October 3, 2012 at 11:01 am
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Hearkens back to what I said the other day about how the second generation can't wait to cash in as soon as the first generation is out of the picture. And again, looking at the comments section here - seriously, condo sales guys - vary up your prose more - different comments, but looking like they're all written by the same sales team - hire some creative writers! Next up - flatten Honest Ed's and turn it into another vertical douchebag storage depot.
canmark / October 3, 2012 at 03:16 pm
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From UrbanToronto.ca: Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor of OCAD University about what Mirvish+Gehry means for the school

http://urbantoronto.ca/news/2012/10/sara-diamond-talks-ocad-university-mirvishgehry
Love the Mirvish Trolls / October 3, 2012 at 07:40 pm
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Love the obvious Mirvish staff trolling the posts with threads of praise for this crap. David has never been interested in theatre, his dad bought the Royal Alex and was interested in theatre as was his mom. David has only ever been interested in art. This hideous pile of rubble will choke the area with people and our tax dollars WILL be used for this, Mirvish always gets tax kickbacks and handouts, sadly Toronto reporters will never follow the stories that count like what about Kaufman who fudged invoices for Drabinsky and now works for Mirvish and will build this? Why is Adam Vaughan so rah rah rah for this? OH I forgot, lots of people will do whatever it takes for the free tickets they get tossed for kind words.
Love the Mirvish Trolls / October 3, 2012 at 07:42 pm
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Honest Ed's will be torn down for condos at any moment, I'm surprised this ghastly project beat it to the news. At least David has a bit of class; and is waiting for his mom to die before he tears it down.
iTheatre / October 3, 2012 at 11:31 pm
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I prefer to watch live theatre on my iPhone5.
wanker / October 4, 2012 at 01:53 am
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Lets tear the Princess of Wales down and all the buildings around them and put in some parking for the other condo developments that are going up in that area of King St. Then we can hire Frank Stella to do a painting on each parking space.
iPad / October 4, 2012 at 02:12 am
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There won't be any congestion issues from the completed condos if there are heli-pads / blimp docks on top of them.
Mister Me / October 4, 2012 at 05:40 am
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I am all for having interesting buildings in our city --- skyline-defining buildings. The design's beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but no one can deny that these designs are at least interesting.

I'm not grieving for the Princess of Wales Theatre. In the downtown core alone, we have the Royal Alex, Roy Thomson Hall, the Sony Centre, the Opera Centre, the Operetta Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Tarragon, Lower Ossington, Factory, Hart House, and I'm sure I'm missing others. I don't think we're in any danger of losing crucial performance space.

If Princess of Wales' attendance is dwindling and people agree it's a bit of an eyesore, then why not go ahead and build something cool in its place? Some people are saying, "It was only built in 1993, why are we tearing it down so soon?" You just can't win with some people! It it were built in 1893, you would here, "It was built in 1893, so it can't be torn down." For the first time ever, I'm hearing that a building isn't old enough be torn down. Wow, get a grip people!
Realtor Igor / October 5, 2012 at 03:05 pm
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I am a realtor and up until now I sold houses and condos. I will have to brush up on art now that they are planing to build statutes with condo fees and land taxes.
Sculpture Living / October 8, 2012 at 04:29 am
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I always wanted to live inside a sculpture.
J replying to a comment from JP / May 10, 2013 at 01:48 pm
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Normally, I'd agree with this theory... except that Toronto's transit and traffic can't keep up with the condo boom. I had a condo on the Harbourfront and within the first year of five that I lived there, 48 new buildings went it. At an average of thirty to forty floors each, with ten units per floor, and two people in each unit... that's 33,600 people who moved into my neighborhood, along one single street -- with another two dozen condos breaking ground. Do you think the TTC added new streetcars or increased service? Nope. Not once in the five years I was there. I saw a bunch of expansion projects canceled though! By politics and residents who didn't want disruption in their neighborhoods! I saw a mayor take out the bike lanes I was using to get around in good weather. And I could no longer actually TAKE transit on a cold, winter day when it was -20 because the streetcars we jam-packed long before they got to me, and the line-up at the stop was 20-people long, with people who had watched six streetcars pass by because they couldn't take on any more passengers. You might suggest we walk... except the sidewalks were never plowed. Whenever I DID get to the subway, it was stalled, three days out of five -- and I'm not even exaggerating. I was always late because of the TTC. So, I found myself taking $40 cab rides to work every day. I finally decided to buy a car and move out of the neighborhood so I could be in more control. But I couldn't find a condo that would sell me a parking spot, because everywhere I looked claimed I needed to purchase a two-bedroom unit to qualify. When I asked why buildings were building less spaces than units, they said it was a green-initiaitve in Toronto, to discourage driving an encourage transit use. Well, given my transit experiences thus far, I was not about to give up my new car, so I decided to move an hour out of the city and at least be stuck in traffic in my own car rather than wedged like sardines in a stalled subway with no air-conditioning. I looked the condo people straight in their faces and told them: "Your initiative sucks. If you'd given me a spot, I probably would have let my car sit there all week and only used my cars on weekends and on days when the transit is screwed up. As it stands, you've given me no choice but to move out of the downtown core and add to the pollution by commenting... because the reality is that people who want cars will HAVE cars and will not be discouraged by these initiatives. And most people can't afford a car AND a condo in the city, so discouraging the few who do is having the opposite effect. Your initiative doesn't make me want to get rid of my brand new car... it makes me want to sit in traffic rather than deal with these backwards politics."

That said, I have always been an advocate of building up instead of out. It works... when the city keeps up with itself. But Toronto doesn't. We've canceled every transit and highway project since the 60s, and people wonder why we're ranked 5th in North America for the worst traffic. Even New York City is like 20th on the list! We are worse than an island with like 6 million on it! Hello? The idea that we should tear down an institution of art to build another is ridiculous when you look at what's happening to arts and culture in general. We cut it out of schools and we tear down the venues and then we wonder why movies and plays sucks these days -- because we've eradicated any way for people to study GOOD ART. You don't see people tearing down the Sony Centre at Front and Yonge. They're building condos on top of it so they can preserve what is arguably the ugliest theatre in Toronto. A good architect would figure out how to build around and over the Princess of Wales. It's the nicest theatre in the city, and being newer doesn't make it expendable. It's a monument to a woman who died and now we're disgracing both her and the legacy of now-deceased Ed Mirvish by doing away with it. Ed brought culture to Toronto through theatre and SAVED properties like the Royal Alex and Old Vic from the wrecking ball. This whole thing is devastatingly ironic and hypocritical.
Old Vic / May 10, 2013 at 02:22 pm
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Yeah, let's keep that dangerous old trap the Royal Alex while destroying the Princess of Wales which is much easier to get around inside and far more comfortable.
Abi replying to a comment from JennyT / May 16, 2013 at 06:06 pm
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"tourist traps for Americans and 905ers". I thought that people in cities were marked by their urbanity and open-mindedness to different cultures and people? So where does this disdain for tourists and out-of-towners, come from? Do you presume that living in the city gives you a monopoly on culture and sophistication, and that anyone who lives in Toronto's conurbations is some kind of rustic? Your purviews are a bit narrow. Rather than condescending to recommend a bad restaurant to visitors, you might have shared your knowledge, and behaved like a civilized person, instead of an abhorrent snob.

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