toronto st mary's silo

Sunday Supplement: Explaining Enwave, Ford's Jarvis figures, Island ferry names, and classic council clashes

This Thanksgiving long weekend I've got plenty for you to chew on. There's a profile of local green energy company Enwave, a comparison of some of Rob Ford's recent Jarvis bike lane figures, and an explanation of some of the unusual names given to the Toronto Island ferries, some of which sadly might not be much longer for this world. There's also a video of a classic city hall confrontation to mark this week's Mammoliti-Perks bout.

The lead image shows the St Marys Cement Silos located close to St. Clair and Keele. The high-rise cylinders are a dying breed in this city; the Canada Malting and Victory Soya Mills Silos on the waterfront are now both heritage structures rather than utilitarian industrial buildings. The Victory Soya Mills tower near the Port Lands is currently vacant with no plans for its future.

The frigid world of Enwave

toronto enwave chimney

City council decided to sell its 43% stake in deep lake cooling company Enwave this week, netting a cool $100 million profit on its original investment.

Enwave draws gelid water from 83 metres below the surface of Lake Ontario and uses it to cool downtown office buildings, removing the need for energy-hungry air conditioners. A special heat-transfer station on John Street ensures the 2 degrees Celsius lake water - drawn only for the city's municipal supply - does re-enter the lake in a warm, potentially harmful plume.

Here's a few of Enwave's downtown customers:

  • Toronto-Dominion Centre
  • Royal Bank Plaza
  • RBC Centre
  • Metro Toronto Convention Centre
  • Air Canada Centre
  • 151 Front Street
(a large telecommunications and server farm)
  • Steam Whistle Brewing
  • Overall, Enwave reduces electricity use by 75% compared to older, less-efficient methods of cooling, saving the equivalent of 40,000 tons of Co2 from entering the atmosphere each year. The company also sells steam for heating systems around the city.

    Rob Ford by the numbers on the Jarvis Street bike lane

    toronto jarvis bike lane
    • $6 million - the number Ford claimed the lanes cost to install during his run for mayor.
    • $59,000 - the amount the lanes actually cost to install in 2010
    • $300,000 - the amount Ford voted to spend to remove the lanes and reconfigure the street.

    Sailing into the sunset

    toronto ferry interior

    The oldest Toronto Island ferries - one of which is 102 - could soon be headed for retirement once the city's Parks, Forestry and Recreation division gathers enough money in its new fleet replacement fund to purchase new vessels. The strategy revealed earlier this week could mean new boats in place in just a few years, providing enough money is regularly set aside.

    If you've ever wondered what's behind the names of the existing city fleet - many of which are named after real people - look no further. I've also included the two Toronto Port Authority ferries that aren't included in the story above.

    • Trillium (1910) - Named for the provincial flower of Ontario. The rare drooping trillium variety is protected in Canada.
    • William Inglis (1935) - Commemorates the head of former local appliance manufacturer John Inglis and Company, now part of Whirlpool Canada. Inglis' company produced engines for the Canada Steamship Lines vessels Hamonic and Huronic.
    • Sam McBride (1939) - Christened after a former Toronto mayor and alderman, a long-time Island resident, founder of the TTC, and the first head of council to die in office. McBride once threw a can of beans at a fellow alderman in a characteristic fit of rage.
    • Thomas Rennie (1951) - A former Toronto Harbour Commissioner, Rennie lived long enough to see the vessel christened in his honour. He died the next year aged 84.
    • Ongiara (1960) - This ship gets its name from the original Iroquois word for Niagara Falls, Onguiaahra. That name is thought to come from the Ongiaras, a tribe local to the area
    • As a bonus, here's the story behind the two Toronto Port Authority vessels that make the run between the foot of Bathurst Street and Billy Bishop airport, a 90-second, 121-metre journey which is one of the shortest ferry journeys in the world.

    • David Hornell (2006) - Named for the Canadian Victoria Cross recipient who came under fire in the North Atlantic from a German U-Boat. Against all odds, the Mimico resident sunk the ship and landed his badly damaged aircraft on the ocean. With only one small dinghy, the crew took turns in the freezing water. Blinded and frozen, Hornell died shortly after the crew was rescued.
    • Marilyn Bell (2009) - Aptly, this ferry derives its name from another lake conqueror. Toronto-native Marilyn Bell became the first person to swim across Lake Ontario when she crawled ashore, exhausted, in 1954. Bell went on to successfully swim the English Channel and Strait of Juan de Fuca in B.C.

    *An earlier version of this section implied the David Hornell and Marilyn Bell ferries were part of the city's fleet. Both are owned and operated by the Toronto Port Authority.

    Council clashes

    Earlier this week, councillors Giorgio Mammoliti and Gord Perks got all up in each-other's faces over a report critical of the mayor's office by Ombudsman Fiona Crean. The confrontation might have fizzled out with apologies all round - even if Mammoliti did go on to say he would kick Perks in the nuts - but it's reminiscent of another incident featured in the 2005 Min Sook Lee documentary "Hogtown: The Politics of Policing."

    This video shows Rob Ford laying down the law on Globe and Mail reporter John Barber back in 2004. Oh, council...

    Photos: "IMG_2652-1" by 416Pictures, "Red Light" by Dominic Bugatto, "Jarvis Bike Lane Stencil" by Martinho, "Toronto Island Ferry" by Now and Here in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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