With rights being awarded right and left to rename every sports facility and theatre, this is one of the strangest yet, and despite our general aversion to runaway corporate whoring, dare we say we actually kinda like it?
The long-awaited and troubled Metropolis complex finally rising over Yonge and Dundas is to be renamed Toronto Life Square, after the popular magazine owned by St. Joseph Communications. Not only is it ironically highbrow to dub the gaudy complex after a literary publication, but the name actually somewhat fits. Toronto Life? Sounds positive, exciting, and tourists are unlikely to realize that it’s a corporate brand. Not that it matters much on façade featuring 20,000 square feet of billboards and video screens.
The Metropolis was approved in 1998 and was supposed to open in 2000. Virgin and Disney were slated as anchor tenants, bowing-out amidst long construction delays. The blue construction hoarding featured prominently in Bruce McDonald’s weird 2001 film Claire’s Hat is still there, and pedestrians and subway patrons have gotten used to cramming under it waiting for the chirping light to change.
Toronto Life Square is now scheduled for a partial opening this fall and will feature a 24-screen AMC Theatre, an 11,000-square-foot Shoppers Drug Mart, and a flagship Adidas Sport store, among others. 56 million visitors frequent the Dundas Square area each year, making it the busiest intersection and number one tourist destination by volume.
Had we known a magazine was in the running to secure the naming rights, we might have even encouraged “FLARE Square,” which not only rhymes, but is appropriately flamboyant.
Image: PenEquity Development