Distillery is anti-franchise, the airport LINK, and small town efficiency

All articles are from today’s Toronto Star.

Distillery avoids sameness: from Chistopher Hume today…. For most visitors, the Distillery District is a pleasant way to spend a few hours, maybe go for a meal, wander through an art gallery or watch a play at the Young Centre. It’s all those things, for sure, but there’s something else going on down here that in its own quiet way is different, even revolutionary. Though it takes a few minutes to sink in, it’s hard to miss: There are no franchises here, no chains, no brands as they’re now called. That means no Starbucks, no McDonalds, no Chapters, no Tim Hortons; well, you get the idea. This is no accident. For the owners of the Distillery, Cityscape and Dundee Realty Corp., it’s part of a carefully considered strategy aimed at resisting the tide of homogenization that is turning cities around the world into clones of one another. They won’t stop globalization, but they can keep one little pocket of one little city safe from the forces of sameness.

Aiport LINK: The Greater Toronto Airports Authority yesterday staged a trial run of its three-station automated people mover — nicknamed Link. About 250 volunteers rode the 1.5-kilometre elevated-train system, offering their thoughts on what kinks need to be worked out before the $150 million system opens July 6. The bumpy ride dominated the post-trial run conversation.

Small town, big thinking: Earlier this year, when East Gwillimbury Mayor James Young was chair of the planning and economic development committee for York Region, he attended a symposium on sustainable communities that sparked some bold thinking. He knew his municipality — a town of 22,000 about 30 minutes north of Toronto — was about to enter a period of significant growth, and he was hearing about how individual buildings or specific subdivisions were being built to high-efficiency Energy Star standards. “We thought, why not investigate this to see if it could be a town-wide standard?” he recalls. Quickly, Young and his senior staff organized a forum so they could start a dialogue with the major homebuilders in the community. “We brought them in right at the beginning, said this is what the municipality was willing to do and that we needed their buy-in.” Surprisingly, they got it.

4 comments

  1. how about the distillery district “resisting the tide of homogenization that is turning cities around the world into clones of one another” by being even minutely distinguishable from every other derelict industrial zone-turned-upscale tourist pedestrian mall with no chain stores on the entire continent. THAT would be news.

  2. Wow. Everything really sucks. The Distillery avoids chains, but they still suck. Thanks for reminding us that behind all nice news, things still suck, bethany.

  3. Looks like the tower — the sort of windows-walkish place at the top of building just to the right of the main entrance.

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