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2008 06 03
What Would It Take . . . ?


What would it take for Toronto's subway to make a list like this? Probably billions of dollars and a remarkable vision that's been absent from Ontario politics for over 30 years. Perhaps we should think a little less about over sized waste bins and put our energies where they are most needed like transit.
[email this story] Posted by P. Rogers on 06/03
2008 05 22
Mutable Spaces Of Innovation
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In a world that is increasingly mediated by online exchanges, it is always refreshing to remember the role well considered architecture plays in the act of connecting people and ideas.

I'm at the MaRs Centre in downtown Toronto attending Mesh08, a conference celebrating the power of Web 2.0. The tag line for this conference is "Connect, Share, Inspire." In its third successful year, Mesh gathers together the people who create the collaborative online experiences we enjoy. Those people are behind a technology-driven social shift that is changing the world—look at the "people-powered" movement of U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama for an obvious example.

As significant as that change is, it is important to remember that one of the reasons conferences like Mesh work is that they take place in social spaces like MaRs. A first for Toronto, MaRs' objective is to:
MaRS is a non-profit innovation centre connecting science, technology and social entrepreneurs with business skills, networks and capital to stimulate innovation and accelerate the creation and growth of successful Canadian enterprises.

The symbiotic relationship between this mission and the space that contains its activities is essential to the Centre's success. The designers of MaRs anticipated that too many prescriptive spaces would limit the innovation that might take place here. The spaces here are mutable in that they can adapt needs of the people who use them.

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Spaces of impromptu encounter and assembly in the MaRs atrium
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 05/22
2008 05 19
Holiday Tour Of Leslieville In Pictures
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Toronto, it is often said, is a city of villages. In spite of its seemingly endless expansion at the edges, the city's centre is always brought back to a collection of small, centralized communities that predated the automobile. Each of these villages seems to await its turn at rejuvenation. This is the story of one.

Since Queen Street West became the cultural mecca of Toronto's arts community, shop prices there have soared. Smaller businesses can no longer afford to buy in to that market—but they can afford Leslieville. In case you don't know the city, Leslieville is located along the other end of Queen Street. Just go east from Yonge, over the Don Valley, past Broadview, and you're almost there. Given new life by Toronto's nearby film studios, Leslieville has everything a culturally savvy visitor needs to explore. New restaurants seem to open every week. Furniture stores with a modern bent flourish. The city's latest collection of art galleries are doing well. Shops like Gadabout with its shelves full of quirky collectibles offer a timeless respite from the Internet era. And coffee shops are everywhere.

We took a walk along Queen on Saturday evening on our way to dinner atEdward Leveque's Kitchen (which was a real pleasure for us with a terrific wine list—although the steak is not the best item on the menu) Here are a few photos from that stroll.

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[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 05/19
2008 05 17
Harbourfront Nets Surprising Fish Installation
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When I was a kid my grandfather took me fishing along the shores of Lake Erie. The shallowest of the Great Lakes, Erie then supported a sizable fishing industry out of harbours like Port Stanley and Port Burwell. No longer. Most Ontarians today wouldn't know the difference between a salmon and a pike, but two Toronto artists want to change that. They want your kids to enjoy the natural abundance the lakes once offered and could again.

If you haven't taken the time to visit Toronto's Harbourfront this spring the holiday weekend provides a perfect reason to pack up the kids, jump on a streetcar, and come down to the York Quay Gallery to take in the FishNet experience. You won't regret it.

The show's creators, Angela Iarocci and Claire Ironside describe it this way:

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FishNet: The Great Lakes Craft and Release Project is a two-part project comprised of a craft phase and a release phase, transforms textile fish into real fish. Led by Toronto-based designers Claire Ironside and Angela Iarocci, the project is now on display at the York Quay Gallery, Harbourfront Centre from May 3 to June 22, 2008.

The heart of the crafting phase centres on 25 Toronto based schools each building a regionally specific school of textile fish and researching their species as part of their classroom curriculum.The release phase occurs when Harbourfront Centre, acting metaphorically as a fish hatchery, sponsors the 'release' of the crafted textile fish, an activity which will ultimately underwrite fish habitat restoration and restocking programs in the Great Lakes.

FishNet is to be presented to the public in a variety of forms including a project web site, classroom activities, a public exhibition, and as an invitation to other schools within the Great Lakes bio-region to undertake similar projects. When complete, the project will have combined and coalesced the creative talents of approximately 2,000 students, educators, artists and designers for the purposes of exploring and engaging in the multiple themes of sustainability, collaboration and activism.

FishNet identifies absence or neglect as the creative basis for a subtle form of protest art—one that provokes an engaging solution while strengthening the ties that bind us as a community living within the Great Lakes bioregion and beyond.

FishNet has received grants from Harbourfront Centre's Fresh Ground new works and the Ontario Arts Council, Arts Education program. Additional financial support has been provided by the Toronto District School Board and Inner City Angels.

Please come to Harbourfront and support the project by releasing a fish. For more information go to http://www.projectfishnet.org.

[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 05/17
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