Dominated by pedestrian-insulting bank towers and trimmed in tack, Bloor and Yonge is a dismal disgrace. Altering the face of this money-first hub is going to take guts. There's already a plan for one side - here's what to do with the rest.
What's there now CIBC Tower
The problem This 34-storey brown blot completed in 1973 is unimaginative in design and literally stands over the street, leaving pedestrians squeezed and dodging falling ice.
The solution Make the glassed-in and empty ground floor, whose dominant feature is a security desk, an indoor park and cold-weather meeting place. Something (besides the lame-o plaque there now), perhaps a fountain or piece of public art, could tell us that this was the site of the city's first public cemetery, founded in 1826.
West side of Yonge north of Bloor
What's there now Little-noticed metal sculpture, and a whole lot of drab dreariness.
The problem Public art should provide a natural focal point, but here it's tacked onto the wall like an afterthought.
The solution Take advantage of a wider sidewalk to make this under-used space, whose sightline looks down Yonge, a public seating area with street furniture, trees and pavers to break up the greyness.
North side of Bloor east of Yonge
What's there now A few trees shoved up against a massive concrete wall.
The problem Where do we begin?
The solution Storefronts would be ideal. Fortunately, the wide sidewalk offers room for improvement in the form of raised planters (the idea of a garden has been floated) and trees to create a woodland effect. Canopies to demarcate the entranceways to both the hotel and the apartments would give this desolate stretch a sense of place.
What's there now Hudson's Bay Centre and Royal Bank
The problem The burghers who run the joint turned it into a dead zone by putting up surveillance cameras, No Loitering signs and enclosing in glass the stairs that used to provide a perch for people-watchers. They say the retrofit was to provide wheelchair access, but the elevator now used for that purpose didn't have to mess with the staircase.
The solution The Bloor Street Transformation Project, slated for the fall, proposes more trees, custom lighting and public art, but this stretch needs a radical remake - storefronts and an entrance that tells visitors they're entering the second most important public transit hub (after Union Station) in the city.
What's there now Stollery's, a menswear shop that's been there forever - and has the burnt-out sign over the front door to prove it.
The problem The building's turn-of-the-20th-century facade is worth saving, but the structure as it is no longer makes planning sense on one of the city's busiest corners.
The solution A cultural fixture. How about a library or four-storey winter garden, something the city is sorely lacking, to provide a mix of uses in the area?
East side of Yonge north of Bloor
What's there now A mess of stairways leading to the Hudson's Bay Centre, the subway and corporate offices.
The problem The glassed-in street-level entrance to the subway isn't needed (there's another entrance just a few steps south), taking up space that could be better used.
The solution Trees and benches would make the area more pedestrian-friendly and give the entrance to the HBC's corporate offices more of a presence on Yonge.
What's there now A disaster. A City Optical and a Harvey's. Think Dundas and Yonge before the square.
The problem Lacks any identity. It's no way to anchor one of the city's most important intersections.
The solution A 60-storey condo and movieplex are planned. Details are still sketchy, but anything that adds street life after the banks close is a vast improvement.