Villain: Bohemian Embassy
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Villain: Bohemian Embassy

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.
Although the developers currently building in the Queen West Triangle have collectively incited outrage with their controversial plans for the area, the Bohemian Embassy condominium by Baywood Homes has managed to stand out among the pack for its shameless, opportunistic marketing campaign. Co-opting the image of the artists evicted from the area, BE’s website boasts that the future condo will be “so stylish and cool, it promises to redefine the way this city’s hipsters live.” Apparently, being stylish and cool involves ignoring the recommendations by neighbourhood group Active 18 to preserve the area’s unique character and constructing a depressingly bland building in the heart of the design district. The Bohemian Embassy’s sales pitches are overrun with laboured signifiers for artistry and hipness, such as the reference to the building’s design as a “triptych.” (If you turn your head to the side and squint a little, the two-towered structure with a courtyard in the middle almost looks like a medieval religious painting divided into three sections.) In May of last year, the BE unveiled their gigantic and silly ad on Queen West, throwing salt in the wounds of the locals who had fought to sustain the neighbourhood’s unique character. The Bohemian Embassy’s villainy is a particularly annoying example of condo developers usurping the vitality of an area to entice their buyers with a new and better personality to go along with their new living space.
Photo by Kevin Steele.