Presenting: Spacing Magazine Hut

Spacing magazine is pleased to announce we have obtained the naming rights to the Leslie Street Spit Quonset Hut. Months of negotiations with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) — the municipal body that regulates the Spit — have resulted in this unique partnership, allowing Spacing to expand its reach and preserve a historic structure.

As of today, the iconic metal structure will be known as Spacing Magazine Hut. On top of purchasing the rights and affixing our sign — up as of 3:14PM yesterday — we will be restoring and converting the hut into a “Public Space Interpretation Centre” that will house both permanent and rotating exhibitions. Spacing Magazine Hut will be Toronto’s premier physical hub for both thought and activity involving the public realm, a world-class attraction unique to our city.

This project began back in September, when I wrote an essay about this particular Quonset Hut for the Toronto Star’s Ideas page. Though run-down, the hut is still as formidable as its World War II origins would suggest. When I discovered that the hut was to be torn down in the near future, the other Spacing editors and I felt compelled to act. We brainstormed ideas, came up with a plan, and contacted TRCA. Being one of the continent’s most innovative conservation organizations, they were extremely open and receptive to our idea. Partially inspired by our friends at Toronto Life magazine, and their move last year that redefined — and renamed — public space by creating Toronto Life Square at Yonge and Dundas Square, this new venture is an exciting step for Spacing into the world of high profile branding and convergence marketing.

Most unique about our Quonset Hut, found approximately half-way out the Spit’s five-kilometer length (officially known as Tommy Thompson Park, named after the former Metro parks commissioner), is it’s likely the Toronto structure in a public space located farthest from privately owned land, making it even more of an attractive and natural a fit for us.

Apart from the exhibition space, we are most pleased to have secured a locally-built vintage 1961 Faema E61 Legend espresso machine that will also be installed inside the hut. Once an uncivilized land of concrete ruins and squawking cormorants, pedestrians, cyclists, and roller bladers will now be able have a robust and motivating coffee on their way out to Vicky Keith Point at the end of Spit. Though TRCA regulations prevent us from roasting our own beans on site, all our coffee will be fair-trade, supplied locally by Kensington Market’s Moonbean Café who roast and create their own blends at their 30 St. Andrew Street location.

Spacing Magazine Hut’s interpretive centre and café will open officially on Victoria Day weekend in May, just in time for a fantastic Toronto summer, something we have all been waiting for. So make a plan to come by.

Spacing Magazine gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Toronto Economic Development Corporation and Industry Canada in this endeavour.

Photo by Val Dodge


  1. …but when will the Spacing-branded condos be popping up? Must have one…must buy my way into hipsterhood…

  2. Ah, I see an April breeze is blowing in off the Lake! When I last saw “The Spacing Hut” ten days ago it looked even more decrepit than before, I fear it will not long survive without being reinforced by signage. Where is Rami Tabello when we need him :->

  3. Congratulations on your entry into the world of privatization.
    I hope the many sad ironies of this situation aren’t lost on you…

  4. Unless this is an April Fool’s joke, in which case…
    NICE ONE! ; )

  5. Will it be bigger in the inside? Like Dr. Who’s Tardis?

  6. Howsabout that… the Spacing kids have a sense of humor! 😉

  7. If i didnt remember it was April 1st, i would have been fooled for sure.

    Although this sounds like a great idea…

  8. Ha ha! Brilliant, Shawn.

    I’m off to harvest my Swiss spagetti now…

  9. Congratulations — a branded Spacing space is long overdue. I’m surprised you didn’t get into a bidding war with Scotiabank for the rights. (Or will I get a coffee discount with my Scene card?)

  10. In a related announcement, Adam Giambrone has declared that the TTC will serve this vital new location with a commuter ferry service from Bluffers’ Park.

  11. Uhm, Melissa. You might be missing something here.

  12. Melissa: Congratulations on your entry into the world of humourlessness. I hope the many embarrassments of this situation aren’t lost on you…

  13. Ooh, nice and biting commentary, perfect for a gray April day like this.

    Well done!

  14. A fine cup of Joe would be a nice break on my way out to the end of the spit. Will it be open for runners during the waterfront marathon?

    Also, happy April 1.

  15. ??
    I’m saying I got the joke…that I found it “cheeky”.

  16. Melissa #2: My comment was directed at melissa golstein, above (and I assume andy’s comment was too). For some reason your comment hadn’t appeared when I posted mine. Sorry for the confusion.

  17. It looks like Melissa G. *did* get the joke after a minute, so it’s a bit harsh to be going after her for a momentary lapse. It’s excusable to be a bit slow before 9 in the morning, and Shawn wrote this with a brilliant straight face.

  18. As you can seem Melissa G corrected herself 1/2 a minute after her first comment. We were not approving comments until noon, to let the post sort of hang. But Melissa’s comment added to it so well, so we approved that one. Unfair to her that we didn’t approve her 2nd comment right away, but there are always some casualties on April 1 for the greater good of humour.

  19. Ah, well, in that case I retract my snippy comment. Apologies to all Melissas everywhere. Good prank.

  20. I hope James M is feeling like an ass right now.

    And Shawn, I hope the greater good has been served, because you kinda spoiled the fun for me.

  21. Oops. Thanks James M, apology accepted.

    I’m suddenly feeling a lot more humoured. Humoury? Humourful? Well, the opposite of humourless, whatever that is.

  22. A few questions for those with little knowledge of the spit:

    1. Is there really a Quonset Hut on the spit?
    2. Is it really about to be bulldozed?
    3. Is that bad?
    4. Minus the branding, would doing something to preserve the hut be appropriate?

    I thought something was fishy when Shawn used words like “high profile branding and convergence marketing”, but on the other hand…the hut’s kind of neat.

  23. Josh – read the article I wrote in the Star, it answers all the questions, more or less. In short though:
    1-2 = yes
    3 = not terribly
    4 = in the heirarchy of things that need to be saved in the city, the hut is likely rather low. I thought of my Star piece as a fond farewell to it, though I like having it around.

  24. “Partially inspired by our friends at Toronto Life magazine, and their move last year that redefined — and renamed — public space by creating Toronto Life Square at Yonge and Dundas Square”

    dead giveaway. Funny though.

  25. Too bad it’s a joke; it would be awesome if it were true… I’d like nothing more than a refreshing lemonade courtesy of Spacing out at the end of the Spit.

  26. Will Alsop is a strong believer in this sort of whimsy, so it’s a shame that this is not a real story. A nice beverage by a rusty hut would be a pretty fun way to activate the area.

    Some of the modest outdoor cafes that have popped up in New York in recent years are hardly more elaborate than that hut. I’m thinking of the cafe in Riverside Park South that appears out of nowhere (a counter, really) and becomes a lively space on summer evenings.

  27. I would have turned up … sounded mighty fine.
    too bad it’s 01 April!

  28. Though it is a joke, as I wrote it I started to think it was a good idea. If it was a “real idea” we might position it differently. Adaptive reuse rather than the convergence language (which I think hasn’t been cool since 2002).

  29. you kids at Spacing got me! I started dreaming of a fun stop on the trip out to the spit. Stopping and seeing a few PV panels on the roof providing power to that espresso machine that was mentioned. Weekend warriors enjoying a little refreshment out front under a trick salvaged trellis of some sort…oh well.

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