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Assessing walkable urbanism in Toronto, Part Three.

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Nov. 20th, 2010 | 05:04 pm
mood: workingAmerica's hat
music: Girl Talk - Steady Shock | Powered by Last.fm

Everyday spaces from my tourist gaze.

Standing on the green roof of Toronto City Hall

Look within for more photos of lived urban spaces as a first-time visitor experienced them.

Baby's first passport stamp

Continuing from Parts One and Two, these are my closing thoughts on my October visit to Toronto.

This was my first trip to Toronto, and indeed my first trip out of the U.S. so I wanted to take in all that was different and all that was, well, not. I stayed in a cookie-cutter Hilton Garden Inn, so regrettably that experience wasn't very interesting. But I fared better than some of my classmates, who grabbed whatever hostel rooms they could find and ended up with little sleep and terrifying stories to tell (though for most things were just fine).

"Clock tower" at Don Mills Centre. The models are of actual homes built in the surrounding neighborhoods, which contain a large contingent of retired architects. There is a certain amount of whimsy programmed into commercial spaces there that was sort of nice to see, even if it's still programmed space.

Space defined by parking. Don Mills Centre. I didn't include more photos of this "outdoor lifestyle center" because it looks just about the same as any other mall.

Grocery store in office building atrium

"Old" city hall, still in use for some municipal business but mostly a fancy building.

"New" city hall towers. Sigh.

Outer wall of City Hall

Cuttings from the exterior walls used in the flooring

Ang at City Hall. Follow the patterns.

View from the green roof (which is on the second floor, not at the top of those towers, because that's the largest part of the building footprint).

Green roof tour

These benches appear throughout the perimeter of the roof, and are designed so that one is always in the shade. Or something like that.

Me in front of the Council Chambers. Green roof all around us.

I've included so many green roof photos in this entry because the designer repeatedly emphasized that this space is open to anyone, and the city wants people to use it, in contrast to the highly securitized space in the "square" in front of the building. That space is designed to be "prickly," so you don't feel comfortable enough to stay long. In the spirit of use, the benches on the roof have apparently become a popular post-dusk makeout spot for teenagers. :]

Ontario Government building under renovation. Might I recommend sawing off some of those corners?

Clever design for stone bollards

In order to get a good sense of these spaces, I would've enjoyed having more time to explore unaided, to see how the everyday experience really goes. But as far as enormous cities go, I liked what I saw of Toronto and I think it has promise to be improved as it grows. In that spirit, I'm hoping I can get back here next year, possibly for Pride. :]

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Comments {3}


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from: kishenehn
date: Nov. 20th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)

1. I have such mixed feelings about that new City Hall. It would be perfect if it were in some isolated, inaccessible spot where it could only be viewed from a distance ... that way, one could admire the brilliant concept of it without actually having to interact with the damn thing.

2. Next time you head north, aim for Montreal instead!

3. You know I have to say it: you're adorable in that photo. :)

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(no subject)

from: silverthief2
date: Nov. 21st, 2010 07:34 am (UTC)

Green roof or not, I have only one type of feeling for it: loathing. :P

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from: kishenehn
date: Nov. 21st, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)

Buildings like that are becoming a major issue in my line of work. Their fans are starting to want them protected as historic monuments -- many of them are approaching 50 years of age, which is when historic designation is typically first considered -- but the rest of us hate them, and realize how bad they are for communities and architectural landscapes.

I'm just grateful that the style has fallen from favor, and they're not building stuff like that anymore!

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