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Posts Filed Under: Cityscape



Get Your Own Toronto Street Sign

Next week, the City will start putting its decommissioned street signs on the auction block.

Photo by Marc Lostracco.

Starting April 28, you’ll be able to get your hands on some much-coveted Toronto mementoes: decommissioned street signs.

Whether you’re looking for street names with a nostalgic, personal, or humorous appeal, there’s a good chance the City’s online sign auction will have something for you: 1,750 signs will eventually be available for purchase, and between 200 and 300 signs will be added each year. (Odds are good that at some point, at least one of them will feature your name, or a very funny name, or the name of the street you grew up on.)

The City is partnering with Platinum Liquidations on this venture—the signs will be auctioned off through the company’s website. Signs will be displayed there for 60 days and bids will start at $30.

“Over the past few years, the public has shown great interest in owning a piece of the City’s history and we are very pleased to be providing this opportunity,” said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34 Don Valley East) in a news release. We’re not sure how much of this “great interest” was communicated through acts of late-night sign thievery, but it’s just possible this sale will cut down on the number of still-in-commission street signs that mysteriously go missing.



Greening the LRT

Green trackways are practical and easy on the eye, but they come at a cost.

A green trackway in Paris. Photo by Flickr user Patrick Stahl.

City planners would like to see new LRT lines on Sheppard East and Finch West and on the Eglinton Crosstown go green. They’re proposing that grass, sedum, and other plants be introduced along portions of the track, as they have been in other cities like Paris and Hamburg.

Green trackways are both pleasant to look at and useful: they reduce noise and help offset the “heat island effect.”

They are also, inevitably, more expensive than other less attractive and useful options such as gravel—22 per cent more expensive, according to Metrolinx.

Keep reading: Greening the LRT



Creating Shops and Services for Apartment Dwellers

A proposed bylaw could transform unused spaces into markets, doctors' offices, and community centres.

New highrise apartment  zoning rules hope to encourage local services like this food stand in St  Jamestown  Photo courtesy of City of Toronto, Tower Renewal Office

New highrise apartment zoning rules hope to encourage local services like this food stand in St. Jamestown. Photo courtesy of City of Toronto, Tower Renewal Office.

The City of Toronto is exploring the possibility of using more commercial and community spaces in highrise apartment properties. Proposed new zoning rules would allow property owners and residents to turn unused spaces into markets, doctors’ offices, banks, health centres, and community centres.

The City is revisiting the current rules—which prohibit such uses—to address highrise dwellers’ need for amenities within walking distance. Many neighbourhoods lack local services, because they were developed with the assumption that residents would own cars and be able to drive to their shopping and service destinations. Highrise neighbourhood tenants, though, are increasingly low-income, and are actually more likely than other Torontonians to walk or use transit.

Keep reading: Creating Shops and Services for Apartment Dwellers



Public Works: From Industrial Junk to Wildlife Watcher’s Dream

Can an oil rig-turned-Malaysian diving platform inspire the renovation of the Eastern Avenue Bridge?

Public Works looks at public space, urban design, and city-building innovations from around the world, and considers what Toronto might learn from them.

Photo by PLTam, from the Torontoist Flickr pool

Photo by PLTam, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

In the sea just off Malaysian Borneo, there’s an oil rig that has experienced a biblical-grade redemption, transforming from an environmental threat into a nature-lovers’ hot spot. Originally part of the Petronas Oil Corporation’s drilling operations, the rig was sold in 1988 to a Malaysian man who then had it towed to the Celebes Sea, near Sipadan Island, a Malaysian national park and nature preserve. Now the rig is Seaventures Dive Resort, a family-owned hotel and base for adventurers on scuba or snorkel missions to see coral, shark, barracuda, sea turtles, and thousands more species of marine life.

Keep reading: Public Works: From Industrial Junk to Wildlife Watcher’s Dream



Province to Invest $25M in Cycling

The investment will help create a cycling infrastructure across the province.

Torontonians could enjoy more bike lanes, new signage, and extended bike routes soon, thanks to a new $25-million investment from the province that will fund cycling infrastructure across Ontario over the next three years.

On April 14, the provincial government announced the investment as part of its #CycleON Action Plan 1.0. #CycleON is a 20-year strategy to improve cycling in the province through a series of ongoing, multi-year action plans. This first action plan lays out steps to “design active, healthy and prosperous communities”; improve cycling infrastructure; make streets and highways safer; “promote cycling awareness and behavioural shifts”; and increase opportunities for cycling tourism.

Keep reading: Province to Invest $25M in Cycling