We're all watching intently as the face of Toronto gets a major lift. Condos are shooting up, the waterfront is slowly being developed and previously gritty areas of the city are seeing new upstarts dressing their windows. It's fantastic, sometimes.
My main hope is that our skyline, starting with the downtown core, gets some new life. We're all still waiting to see whether Trump's Toronto Tower, made up of hotel and residential suites, climbs up 70 stories, or whether the slick Sapphire Tower even breaks ground.
While these shining new examples of entrepreneurial drive make us proud, it is also the endearing old landmarks dotted across the cityscape that fill our cup of civic pride right up to the rim. Recently, in the area where I work, developers bought the 80-year-old shop Crangle's Collision for about $28 million, so that the wannabe W hotel and condo development, 550 Wellington, can emerge in all its glassy glory. It took them less than a week to rip down Crangle's, and while the old guy who ran it is now laughing all the way to the bank, its funky facade on Bathurst Street will be missed by many.
A garage, however, doesn't appeal to the sense of community that an old theatre might. Certainly it will be harder to part with community landmarks like an old repertoire. I read this morning, in a link to The Star, that the family who runs some of the old reps in Toronto has chosen to close down 3 of the remaining theatres by end of June. They don't have the wherewithal to keep them going, they said. Come on! Surely someone can run these businesses into a profit position. The Revue on Roncesvalles is a quiet place, but The Royal on College is home to international festivals such as Hot Docs and Resfest.
The growth of Toronto is happening at a rapid pace. Sadly, if us fickle 416ers don't continue to support our favourite neighbourhood landmarks and businesses we'll lose a lot of what gives this city its personality. New and modern facades are great while our curiosity lasts, but there's nothing wrong with a few old wrinkles to give this city some character.
If you like watching films at all, please visit a rep in Toronto this month. The only way to keep these old gems is to show your support; maybe we can help turn this around.