Friday, August 22, 2014Mostly Cloudy 18°C

What's for sale at the Sutton Place auction?

Posted by Rick McGinnis / March 28, 2014

Fine vintages in the Sutton Place kitchenTouring an empty hotel is like visiting an abandoned city, where everyone from the ditch diggers to the mayor have downed tools and fled the scene. On the day I preview the contents auction of the Sutton Place Hotel, everything they left behind has been tagged with either an orange or green numbered tag by the organizers, with the hopes that by the time this weekend is over, nearly everything in the hotel will be sold before the demolition crews arrive to strip the 32-storey building back to its bones.

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Eat & Drink

Cookbook Store closing the end of an era

Posted by Rick McGinnis / March 22, 2014

Cookbook StoreWhen the Cookbook Store closed earlier this month after thirty-one years in business, it wasn't just the story of independent bookselling in Toronto that moved one step closer to writing its final chapter. Situated at the northern bookend of one of the last original retail storefront blocks north in Yorkville, the Cookbook Store embodied not just the story of how we've cooked and eaten for three decades, but also how an already affluent shopping district evolves without either going up or down the social ladder.

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Beans and booze bring new life to Wagstaff Drive

Posted by Rick McGinnis / March 5, 2014

Wagstaff Drive TorontoThere was a time when Toronto was a wild west of zoning, a free-for-all where industry and residential areas sat side by side, especially where railway lines cut through the city, leaving spurs and sidings along their path. Wagstaff Drive is one of those little industrial pockets, its long, low buildings bordered by railway tracks out back, their front doors facing the garages and backyards of a row of homes.

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Best of Toronto

The Best Public Library in Toronto

Posted by Rick McGinnis / February 17, 2014

public library torontoThe best public library in Toronto might be the one near where you live, or the one where you grew up, or the one you'll travel to because of the books in its collection, or a well-lit space by a window with a view. In any case, the Toronto public library system is a hundred-year accident that saw a philanthropic impulse meet with a rich man's generosity and the tiny library systems set up a dozen townships and municipalities to coalesce into the constantly evolving network of bookrooms all over Toronto.

Toronto's public libraries began over 200 years ago with a subscription reading room in Elmsley House, Upper Canada's parliamentary building. Over the decades, subscription libraries and reading rooms began springing up in fire halls and Mechanics Institutes all over what would eventually be called the GTA. City Hall created the public library system with the Free Library By-Law in 1883, but it was Andrew Carnegie who helped turn Toronto's libraries into esteemed parts of the streetscape.

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Sports & Play

Toronto Auto Show 2014 brings controversy & concepts

Posted by Rick McGinnis / February 14, 2014

Chevy booth at the 2014 CIASThe Canadian International Auto Show kicked off in Toronto yesterday morning with the sort of controversy and confrontation that doesn't usually set the tone for our annual celebration of all things automotive. It began when Fiat-Chrysler CEO and Toronto native Sergio Marchionne gave a keynote speech at the press preview that was a pained mea culpa, apologizing for the mistakes that sent the auto industry in general and Detroit's big three automakers in particular into a frenzy of bankruptcy and bailouts six years ago.

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What's next for the Heydon House at Old Weston Road?

Posted by Rick McGinnis / January 12, 2014

Heydon HouseWhile it's neither grand nor particularly well-preserved, what remains of Heydon House today makes the forlorn intersection of St. Clair West and Old Weston Road where it's sat for over a century seem somehow shabbier. Once a boisterous railway hotel with a dodgy reputation, now a grimy apartment building, Heydon House is rumoured to be a target for redevelopment, as part of a number of schemes to try and revive the fortunes of the streets adjacent to the landmark building.

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