Monday, September 29, 2008

Gawker Stalker: Pharrell Williams Shopping on Spadina

It's 6:51 on Monday night and the man from the Billionaire Boys Club, Mister "You're So Beautiful", Pharrell Williams, is checking out sneaks and doing a meet and greet at Livestock on Spadina. My two illustrious gawker friends could only peel themselves away from the window long enough to drop me a line. (Something about Spadina seems to be drawing the attention of some of my favourite hip hop icons lately.) Too far away to get there myself but I'm dying to know what Pharrell's got in his bag.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Toronto Observatory Shines on Wikipedia

Check out Toronto on Wikipedia's home page today. Front and center is a little piece on the Toronto Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory.

I like to think I know a great deal about this city but I had no clue about the existence of this building or its place in the history of modern astronomy. Measurements taken at the observatory between 1840 and 1858 contributed to the understanding of sunspots and their effect on magnetic declination, which is the variation between north and true north as one navigates the globe.

Friday, September 12, 2008

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.