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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Lost Space on Church

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Bert Archer has a new smart blog. He recently posted about the closing of the venerable Second Cup at Church and Wellesley – until recently home to the famous “Steps” – but the building owners didn’t like all the people hanging out, so they bricked up the Steps, effectively killing the defacto public space they oversaw. Bert had this to say about the Second Cup closing:

Serves them right.

It’s rare that you see direct repercussions from businesses doing bad things. The market seems to have a way of taking care of the evil-doers. Which makes this For Lease sign a treat. The owners of this franchise were custodians of a public space, one that, though legally belonging to them, was a central part of a community and even a beacon to folks across the country who looked to it, rightly, as it happens, as a sort of gay agora.

It’s an interesting discussion surrounding how much responsibility the private sector has to the public. It ranges from things like the Steps, to how buildings meet the sidewalks (it’s the built stuff that makes up our experience of the city, and most of it is private – so it’s safe to say we have a vested interest in making sure it’s done right).

Read the rest of what Bert had to say here.