S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Urban renovation

The Yonge-Dundas intersection has undergone more changes than most lately. I have only the fuzziest memories of the motley assortment of shops or greenery which occupied the elegant slab of concrete, erstwhilely fountained, known as Dundas Square, which opened last year. Nearly every corner of that intersection has been under construction for a year or two. Now, they're all coming together.

On Saturday, the world's first Olympic Spirit Musem (Center?) opened on the southeast corner of Dundas Square, a place to race against virtual athletes and eat sandwiches served by past Olympians. Note that it costs $18 for adults, but only $8.50 for students. They're hoping it'll be a huge success and be the first of many to be built around the world under the auspices of the Olympic Spirit Commission. Of course, for the duration of the Olympics, the square itself is one giant Olympics-watching venue.

The north side of the square is in the process of becoming an ever-deeper hole in the ground, but will eventually become the "Metropolis", an AMC movie theater complex, as the boards are finally announcing. It has been an anonymous construction site for at least two years now. It's due to open in late 2006.

Meanwhile, to the southwest, the north end of the Eaton Centre has been under remodeling since sometime last year. It, at least, it due to reopen this fall. with a new flagship store whose brand I only barely recognize: H&M. I presume the extremely convenient TD ATMs won't be returning to that end of the mall with the ever-increasing trend for regular bank ATMs to be replaced by overpriced third-party ones.

If this frenzy of dense construction weren't sufficient, merely a block west, at Bay and Dundas, Eaton Centre garage is closed for constructed change of some sort, presumably connected to the building site developing right next to it in what was once a park. Across the street on the southwest corner, yet another condo is going up. Update: C. says that the parking garage at the Eaton Centre is being demolished.

Meanwhile, in more trivial campus news, St. Joseph Street, home of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, has been partially retagged as Marshall McLuhan Way, an event perhaps connected to the big festival/conference in his honor forthcoming in October. Then again, this city can't go more than a few months without something McLuhan related happening. Strikingly, my department and theirs have almost nothing to do with each other - I'm not entirely sure why this is so.

Campus is, as ever, a maze of construction - the new pharmacy and bio-chemistry buildings at University and Queen's Park, the new student residences going up along St. George. The University of Toronto cannot, however, compete with the harbourfront condo frenzy. At what point will this city have to many condos?

A passing thought, courtesy of reading McLuhan-related websites: work can't always "just" be ground-breaking or nothing will ever be planted or built; labor will have no fruits.

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