fourONEsix foto: Yonge Street at Night
Yonge Street at Night Originally uploaded by timberwolf1212
A few nights ago I rushed the TIFF film 7915km at Dundas Square's new AMC theatre. Once my friends arrived to hold our spot I was free to wander the square (and run to H&M to grab a jacket to keep me warm on the brisk night). Moving through the public space I was struck by how lonely it felt, despite years of attention from planners and builders. It was filled with empty chairs for an outdoor screening about to begin and glazed PR people pushing Bell's new Samsung Instinct phone from under their glossy tents. While their mobile ads pulsed onto the cold concrete below I heard a conversation from one New Yorker to another tourist about Toronto's new square being an attempt to emmulate Times Square. From the smirk on her face you could tell our efforts were falling flat.
If the goal is indeed to make the space as vibrant as New York's flashy square, or even as frenetic as Shibuya's famous crossing we're going to have to bring it some vitality and originality. Lose the PR people and "just for show" events and let people do the entertaining....DJ's, buskers, choirs, dancers, even naked cowboys or Zanta. Find a way to draw a crowd and shine some real light on the hapless Yonge Street square.