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Extra, Extra: Rob Ford Goes to Downton, Get Your Own Piece of Honest Ed’s, and Norm Kelly Loves Donuts

Every weekday’s end, we collect just about everything you ought to care about or ought not to miss.

Photo by ash2276, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

  • Without a steady supply of memes, the internet would certainly die (or at least have far fewer memes), which is obviously why Mayor Rob Ford spent part of his day at Spadina Museum‘s “Dressing for Downton: Costumes from Downton Abbey” exhibit. Here are a couple of photos. If Rob Ford has not already been edited into the show in some manner or another, we’ll know it’s the end of days for the interweb.
  • Honest Ed’s won’t be around for a whole lot longer, but if you turn up at the store on March 10 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., you’ll be able to pay as little as fifty cents for a memento: one of its hand-lettered signs. And then you can use that as inspiration in the future for arguments with guests over the difference between meaningful pieces of Toronto history and terribly tacky eyesores.
  • Torontonians learned something very important about Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly today: he loves donuts—he loves them all.

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  • HotDang

    Rob Ford has the nasty disposition of O’Brien or Thomas and the intellect of William, with the self control of Tom’s brother Kieran. He probably sees himself as Lord Grantham in Carson disguise. One thing is certain though: he shouldn’t be wearing Bates’ hat.

  • bjhtn

    I misread the heading as “Rob Ford goes to downtown.” I figured there must be a snide comment in there somewhere.

  • wklis

    Rob Ford goes to Downton. Please.

  • mrbob_b

    Sad to see Honest Eds going… I’m sure whatever condo replaces it will be a wonderful boring, tasteless and highly overpriced eyesore with a wonderful morning and afternoon shadow draping Bloor street in darkness.

    When happens when this unnatural inflated condo market begins to fail? What happens in 25 years or more when the condos are in dire need of repair and people are forced to pay their mortgages plus taxes and other fees? Maintenance fees will skyrocket to sustain the buildings and we’re closing our eyes to this fact. Buildings will go bankrupt, it’ll be terrible, its already happened to some of the older condo buildings in the city where maintenance fees outstrip mortgage costs and people just can’t pay and the board can’t afford to take them to court and is forced into bankruptcy. Plus going bankrupt just clears debt, but it does not secure new credit or liquid cash to fix all the problems that still need to be fixed.

    It’s not a problem today, but it’ll be a problem in the future and it’s sad to see we have no regard for wonderful landmarks like Honest Eds. Sure, the building is not exactly pretty, but at least it has character and it’s been a landmark in the city for years, unequivocally becoming part of the cities identity.

    At the very least there needs to be some sort of a vested interest to preserve the building. I understand market forces have made it unsustainable and it is private property and the owners can do with it as they like, but at some point the city needs to step in and say to the builder/new owner “here are the limitations”.

    But I guess with the Gardiner crumbling and subway infrastructure projects, all of which are more important in the grand scheme of things, iconic landmarks simply don’t get the attention they need.

    • nevilleross

      When happens when this unnatural inflated condo market begins to fail? What happens in 25 years or more when the condos are in dire need of repair and people are forced to pay their mortgages plus taxes and other fees?

      Well, if history is any indication, many of the buildings will become as run down as those buildings in St. Jamestown near Sherbourne Avenue, and hard to live in. Too bad that the program for keeping businesses alive that the French government has for Paris can’t happen here in Canada and can’r be used to keep business like Book City, Videomatica (in Vancouver), and Honest Ed’s alive, but that’s what we get for not learning about the rest of the world and voting in assholes and the federal, provincial and municipal level.

      • dsmithhfx

        I’m predicting a condo ghetto without lights or running water, the lower floors inhabited by gangs and drug dealers, accessible only through the sewers, since nobody dares to venture down the streets for fear of being decapitated by falling plate glass.

        Does that ‘trump’ Og’s dystopian vision of political paralysis?

        • OgtheDim

          I thought dystopian was only allowed to be applied to books/movies where teenage girls go through horrible trials to save their worlds, only to have to strive to fully succeed for 2 to 7 more books/movies, all while accompanied by some hot boy?

        • mrbob_b

          It’s not too far from the truth. The Dixon Rd Condo development is basically crumbling, albeit slowly. The fees in those buildings are now at par or beginning to surpass the actual rental/mortgage fees. The condo board basically has been shedding cost by cutting maintenance practices and reducing security costs. Neither of which are sustainable in the long term since the only cure for say a leaking pipe is to eventually fix it or wait until it becomes such a big problem you have no choice but to fix it.

          The Dixon Condo community has their own problems to face with drugs, gangs, violence, poverty, education and the like but it’s a good example of the slow decline of what was once considered a nice, possibly even prestigious location.

          The whole housing market in Toronto is really a shame, since most first time home buyers can’t afford a house in Toronto, and condo’s are great until you have a family to raise and then your either rushing into the suburbs or looking to scrounge enough for a home in the city.

          It makes it difficult to live and work in the city and while condos provide a short term housing boost, or even rejuvenate an local community, they aren’t often the best places to raise a family and quickly become cramped.

          I worry Toronto’s condo boom is hiding something far more sinister behind the shiny glass facade. Condos can’t be foreign tax shelters forever, the net effect on locals is not exactly positive!

          • nevilleross

            The rub is, most of the older apartment building of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s were built a lot bigger as far as room space was concerned, even though they all looked the same and weren’t as pretty as the condos being built now (at least they’re more sturdier). What does that say about us and the people of the past?

    • OgtheDim

      Maintenance to be able to keep a building like Honest Eds going would cost a lot too. That building developed organically. We’d probably end up with facadism.

      As for condos, we should be cracking down on the crappy building going on right now, but union support for the NDP and the LIbs partnered with developer support for the Libs and Tories has deflated any political will to do anything.

      But….hey…lets like the ONDP try to elect Adam G as cabinet material, with no policies for these things beyond reusing corporate tax breaks 4 or 5 times……..what could go wrong?

      Or the Libs who don’t do anything without it being polled to death.

      Or the Tories who are in thrall to/fear of a bunch of libertarians.

      • mrbob_b

        I’m not a big fan of facadism, it works well in some cases and you can certainly get some interesting hybrid looking buildings. In the case of Honest Eds, it’s basically half warehouse, half department store. I don’t see any real use for the building beyond facadism unfortunately. It’s not like the old industrial waterfront buildings that were easily transformed into lofts, condos, studios, etc. But like Sam The Record Man, if the exterior can be preserved, then at least that’s better than loosing it all together.

        • nevilleross

          Actually, the interior can be preserved as well; let it be rented out to different businesses like Sonic Boom Records, and let those businesses be there at a reduced (and controlled) rent tied to a heritage preservation order for it.