As Pug Award fever reaches its apex tomorrow night, I thought it might be time to shine a light on smaller-scale design issues.
The area where I live, on the Danforth between Coxwell and Woodbine, doesn’t win a lot of prizes for streetscape design. Though there’s a few trees in concrete planters—and the promise of more from the newly formed BIA—as well as a real gem in East Lynn Park, the general combination of empty/â€œaroma massageâ€ storefronts with four lanes of speedy traffic make the main street stroll, well, a little bare and unpadded at times.
However, there are some small businesses that do a lot to beautify the stretch, the most prominent of which are the fruit and flower shops that turn their sidewalks into veritable gardens of vegetation and colour during their open hours.
The corner of Glebemount and Danforth has two of these right across the street from each other, with Prince of Wales Market to the west and Natural Florist to the east:
As you can see, they really brighten up the sidewalk:
Natural Florist is open year-round, which is much appreciated visually during the dank, grey winter months, even if the flowers are behind glass. (For this, I presume we can think the O’Connor funeral home, which sits right across the street. Other close-by funeral homes are also likely part of the reason flower shops seem quite popular along the strip, even in the non-yard-work months.)
Another shout-out is due to Kelly Food Mark (yes, that’s â€œMark,â€ not â€œMartâ€) at Coxwell and East Lynn, which is also open and displays outside for most of the year. I really enjoy the colours of the fruits and vegetables together.
Once I got on this local streetscape appreciation kick, I started to notice the blah representation of politicians along the strip. Take, for instance, MPP Michael Prue’s constituency office:
It’s functional but doesn’t contribute much. MP Maria Minna’s office a block away matches the look.
Comparing corporate stores along the way is also interesting. McDonald’s at Woodmount and Danforth actually has some vegetation planted along the borders of the parking lot—I’m unsure if this was perhaps mandated by the city when the fast-foodery came in, or whether it’s a branding thing:
Note to the Ronald: those pansies could use some watering. But however sad McD’s gardening skills, Shopper’s Drug Mart across the street got off easy (and blandly) with an unadorned asphalt parking lot on each side:
Should gardening be incompatible with Shopper’s management, the Bus Terminal diner offers an example of how to contribute colour sans garden:
There’s more good examples I could show, of course: Mimi’s Convenience, Greenwood Veggie Depot, Michael’s Meat & Deli, Rendez-Vous Restaurant. And that’s just in my personal stumbling distance.
How about your â€˜hood? Is there a business in your community that you think needs some long-overdue recognition for streetscape good deeds done?
All photos by Leah Sandals