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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

St. Clair ROW, Nathan Phillips Square, & the ROM condos

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The Toronto Star had a few articles today that directly relate to some of the issues we’ve been covering here lately on the Spacing Wire.

1. St. Clair ROW:
Since the case about the St. Clair ROW is going to be heard again, the group that is fighting the dedicated streetcar line, Save Our St. Clair (SOS), is worried that the City would use a long drawn-out legal fight to bankrupt their movement. They had raised about $60,000 for their legal challenge. To quote Margaret Smith, head of SOS, “We are a group of citizens. We don’t have access to taxpayers’ pockets. We’re being penalized here.” Note to Smith: you and SOS are a group of well-off businesses in the area and the ones who took this to court in the first place — you put yourselves in this situation by using the last available tactic. Did you expect the City do anything less? The real people being penalized are the residents and businesses along St. Clair’ 512 route. Now, construction equipment and materials will sit on St. Clair W. until the spring when a final decision is expected to be made. Also worth noting: the reasons for the construction stoppage have yet to be released.

2. Nathan Phillips Square:
Doug Holyday’s moronic idea of selling the naming rights of the square drew a “no, no, no, no, no,” from Mayor David Miller. Holyday had to apologize to Nathan Phillips’ family for his hair-brained scheme. Meanwhile, the administration and planning and transportation committees agreed to pay $16 million in repairs to the square — which includes a re-design — but councillors recommended that Toronto ask the private sector and senior levels of government for $24 million to be used for upgrades. Hmmmmm. If the private sector does get its hand on the repairs, they may still be able to get their logos into the square on a permanent basis by sponsoring the new features from the eventual re-design (think of a “Scotiabank Stage”). Also worth considering is the city might have some problems getting the private sector involved since so much philanthropic money has been sunk into Toronto’s other cultural institutions (ROM, AGO, new opera house).

3. The ROM condos: The board of the ROM has decided to withdraw its plan for a massive condo beside the museum (above image). “We always knew there would be opposition but were startled by the intense wave that hit us late in the process,” William Thorsell, the museum’s CEO, said yesterday. “When the consensus is that broad, you just have to back off.” Read about the public meeting that took place last week on Reading Toronto’s website.