Archives for posts with tag: eglinton avenue west

Errands_On_Eglinton

Judging by the amount of traffic along  Eglinton Avenue, it’s safe to say that construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT has begun in earnest.

Running underground through central Toronto, and above ground at its extremities, this new rapid transit line is sorely needed in a city that has long outgrown its transit system. Fixing the mistakes of the past, when an Eglinton subway had begun to be dug, but was cancelled by Mike Harris in the late 90s, the Eglinton Crosstown will transect Toronto, cutting through culturally diverse neighbourhoods, linking together the six former boroughs of Metropolitan Toronto.

In anticipation of the frustration that will be felt by 8 long years of construction on Eglinton, the Upper Village BIA had a contest for a poster campaign that will encourage residents to shop locally during these hards times.

I entered the contest with my good friend and collaborator, Josh Schendel, a student of Advertising at Humber College. With my spatio-analytic skills as Your Urban Geographer, and his debonair intuition as an Ad Man, we thought we really had a shot.

We didn’t win, but I present you our submission anyways, pictured above, with our biographies and rationale below.

I think we put in a really good effort. What are your thoughts?

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BIO
Daniel Rotsztain and Josh Schendel grew up along Eglinton Avenue West. Daniel is an artist, designer and urban geographer who celebrates Toronto in his written and visual work. Along with freelance art and design, he is employed by Evergreen Brick Works, Artscape, and writes for Spacing Toronto. Josh is a writer and student of advertising at Humber College. He is finishing a novella that follows the residents of a Forest Hill home, chronicling their misadventures.
Recognizing complimentary skill sets — Daniel’s visual communication skills and urban issues acumen, and Josh’s sense of humour, wit and advertising sensibilities — this is Josh and Daniel’s first collaborative effort. At early stages in their careers, the Experience Eglinton contest has been an excellent opportunity to sharpen their design, communication and writing skills. They will undoubtedly continue to collaborate in the future. Josh and Daniel are excited at the opportunity to give back toEglinton West and contribute to the celebration of local businesses in their home Ward.
Josh and Daniel explored Eglinton West as kids, made relationships with its proprietors and frequented its restaurants during school lunch breaks. They continue to live in Toronto and visit the strip when doing errands for their parents. Josh and Daniel understand the essence of Eglinton and are perfect ambassadors to spread the message of support for local businesses during the strain that construction of the LRT will bring to this beloved Avenue.
RATIONALE
Eglinton West is the backbone of the Ward 21 community. Unlike destination streets such as West Queen West and Bloor/Yorkville, Eglinton West is a working street that serves as an important conduit for transportation and services. Eglinton’s charm is in its honesty, serving the purposes of the everyday needs of its residents.
With this campaign, we intend to celebrate one of the pillars of Eglinton West: Errands. The importance of the errands of Eglinton deserve to be celebrated. Highlighting its everyday activities in the form of a playful visualization and ad campaign will remind residents of the value of their street and its importance to their lives.
While acting as a reminder to shop locally during construction of the LRT, our slogan, “Your Errandswill still be on Eglinton” contains within it a secondary slogan “Errands on Eglinton” that is meant to extend beyond this campaign and become part of the way people talk about their main street.
By including pictograms of the now ubiquitous construction fences, and directly addressing them in our tag line, “get beyond the fence”, we wanted our poster to honestly engage with the disruptions construction will bring, rather than ignore them. The disruptions construction of the LRT will bring toEglinton West can already be felt, and it is important to take this opportunity to make a solid call to arms to support local businesses in these difficult times. “Errands on Eglinton” is a poster that will do just that.
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BONUS
Collaborations often mean compromise. I had an entirely different vision for the piece, pictured below, but through my partnership with Josh, let it be and took the project in another direction.
With this version, I was trying to evoke Instagram. My idea was to celebrate what Eglinton is, thinking that an image of a familiar scene on a billboard would cause a resident to pause and reflect.
Errands on Eglinton

This post first appeared on Spacing Toronto

On a recent walk along Eglinton just east of Bathurst, I noticed that several blocks are lined with beautiful Art Deco apartment buildings. The apartments — most of them rental units — aren’t tall. At five to seven storeys each, they’re mid-rises. And they make for a very attractive, human-scaled streetscape.

With intricate brick-work and distinctive fonts carved into stone that spell out the apartments’ names (there’s The Crofton and The Forest Hill Manor and The Roycroft), Forest Hill’s Art Deco apartments feature quintessential characteristics of the international style-movement.

image from TOBuilt

The Forest Hill Manor, on Eglinton at Old Forest Hill Road, image courtesy of TObuilt.ca

According to the excellent building database TObuilt.ca, Forest Hill’s Art Deco apartments date from the 1940s — the height of Art Deco design internationally. The style, known for its whimsical, rounded and striking forms, represented a period when modern ideas were being expressed in traditional building materials, like stone, brick and wood.

Other cities’ mid-century experiments with Art Deco continue to define their contemporary identities. Gaudi’s Modernisme in Barcelona, most famously captured by the dripping stonework of Sagrada Familia, will forever stand as a symbol of Barcelona. The origins of Chicago’s smoky allure can be traced back to its Film Noir-Art Deco heyday. South Beach is Art Deco, Florida style. In Amsterdam, major swaths of the city are distinguished by expansive brick “Amsterdamse School” social housing complexes.

Mid-rise Art Deco apartment buildings line Amsterdam's outer streets

The intricate brick work of mid-rise Art Deco apartment buildings line Amsterdam’s outer streets

Not surprisingly, with its 1940s building boom, Toronto has its own abundance of Art Deco architecture. Think of the short apartment buildings in Parkdale, and the sturdy office towers that line St. Clair east and west of Yonge. (For more, check out Art Deco Toronto, or get a copy of Tim Morawetz’s book. Also keep your eyes open for exhibits like Smart Address, which just ended at the St Lawrence Market Gallery.)

Typical Toronto: this city can’t be defined by its abundance of Art Deco. Even though there are many striking examples,  most of Toronto’s Art Deco is less dramatic than its international counterparts. Toronto’s version plays more of a background role in the city’s landscape, as we can see in the genteel apartment buildings that line Eglinton east of Bathurst.

Strolling along Art Deco Eglinton, I can understand what Toronto Chief PlannerJennifer Keesmaat has in mind when she speaks of the importance of building mid-rises along Toronto’s avenues. Mid-rise population densities wouldn’t overwhelm the city’s infrastructure the way towers do, and their scale would promote walkable and strong communities. Building avenues of mid-rise apartments would put Toronto on the map with other beloved mid-rise cities like Paris and Berlin.

Keesmaat’s mid-rise Toronto would look and feel very much like Eglinton east of Bathurst does today. Based on my walks along Art Deco Eglinton, I agree with her. Eglinton’s mid-rise apartments make for a very functional and attractive cityscape.

Daniel Rotsztain is the Urban Geographer. After six years of formal and informal education in Montreal, Halifax and Amsterdam, he is happily back in his home-city of Toronto and ready to respond to it with words and art. Check out his website, or say hello on Twitter!

Leading photo by Robin Pope