Is Canadian Modernism dead?
A crowd of 85 people gathered Saturday, March 2, at the Institute Without Boundaries on Adelaide East to remember Toronto's long-lost or about-to-be-demolished architectural gems, among them the Inn on the Park, Pearson's Terminal One, Riverdale Hospital and the stunning Imperial Six Theatre.
The meet was part of the launch of Endangered Species, a book cataloguing the city's architectural destruction, and it didn't take long for rumours to start swirling around the room about what modern beauties would next meet the wrecking ball.
Maple Leaf Gardens? Perhaps, now that Loblaw has announced firm plans to go ahead with a superstore on the site.
"That would be cultural suicide," says John Martins-Manteiga of Dominion Modern, a group trying to preserve what remains of Modernist architecture in Canada.
But we can put to rest those whispers about condos at Ontario Place, although the park seems open for development.
Says Ontario Place media relations manager Jennifer Kerr, "We're always looking to change within our property, but there will not be any kind of condo developments at Ontario Place."
Book contributor Gene Threndyle blames city planners' and councillors' "lack of respect for buildings" for the loss of our modern architectural heritage.
Jane Jacobs's old Smith Corona typewriter is on display along with parts of demolished buildings. Judy Keeler, who saved the urban guru's relic from the trash, says there's a symbolic lesson to be learned from the fact that an artifact belonging to Jacobs - a defender of modern architecture - would wind up in the garbage.
"Canadians don't care about history," says Keeler. "Every time I walk down the street something familiar to me is gone."
Suit hangs over airport critics
CommunityAir and Toronto Port Authority lawyers are talking about finally resolving a libel suit filed by the TPA against the community group last May.
CommunityAir, whose opposition to TPA plans to expand the Island Airport has been vociferous, has already apologized for and retracted remarks made in a March 2006 memo to politicians about Authority honchos Henry Pankratz, Lisa Raitt and Alan Paul.
The TPA wants blood, it seems. It took the threat of a press conference by CommunityAir (it could rightly be asked what the federal government agency is doing using taxpayers' money to muzzle a citizens group) to drive the TPA back to the negotiating table.
"Logic, democracy and business rationale have been completely thrown out the window," says area MP Olivia Chow.
The TPA has declined to comment on the matter.
CommunityAir, though, is sounding as determined as ever.
"We won't shut up," says CommunityAir chair Bill Freeman.