Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains of 2007––the people, places, and things that we’ve either fallen head over heels in love with or developed uncontrollable rage towards over the past twelve months. Get your dose, starting Boxing Day and running into the new year, three times a day––sunrise, noon, and sunset.
As the tenants who inhabited the warehouses of the Queen West Triangle were evicted to make way for demolition crews, and as the neighbourhood’s efforts to influence development plans were trounced by the odious OMB, it appeared as if the lifeblood of the area––the artist––was going to be bled out. But in late October of this year, a deal was finally struck to protect and fortify the community that had energized the once-troubled area in the first place. Arrangements include providing 56,000 square feet of space for artists in a new condominium slotted for 150 Sudbury Street, restoring and converting the old Carnegie Library into a theatre, and providing space for health offices and an urban park.
The surprisingly positive turn after a prolonged battle with developers was the result of the tireless efforts by Artscape, Active 18, and key members of City Hall to ensure that the area’s impending gentrification did not alienate the existing community. Each apartment is expected to rent for $725 a month, a heavily discounted rate, especially considering the Artscape-controlled space has been appraised at $19 million. Although many had cried foul when one of the most prominent artistic hubs, 48 Abell Street, was destroyed, our own Patrick Metzger noted that the building was too run-down and decrepit to obtain the heritage status it sought. In contrast, the future Artscape apartments are expected to provide a new and vibrant space for artistic expression. Even if area artists think twice about sticking around with the Bohemian Embassy next door, at least now they know they’re wanted.