Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bank of Nova Scotia

Curiously, the Bank of Novia Scotia was designed in 1929-1936 but was not constructed until 1946-51, presumably because of World War II, but I'm very glad they did. More shots and information, including a fine interior view, are here. Peeking up behind the original 27 story building is the 68 story Scotia Plaza Tower, built in 1988.

I particularly liked the reliefs of mythological figures by Frederick Winkler.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bay Adelaide Centre

The Bay Adelaide Centre, 51 stories of sky blue glass, incorporates the facade of the old National Building on Bay Street due to strict preservation codes in Toronto. I'm all for preserving old structures, but I find keeping merely the facade an unsatisfactory compromise to both old and new structures. You see a lot of this in Toronto, however.

Trump Tower Toronto

Compared to the new Bay Adelaide Centre which just opened across the street, the new Trump Tower is heavy and very traditional, though it will be at least nine storeys taller.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

GOing to the Toronto Zoo

Having less than a month left in Toronto, and given the beautiful Easter weekend weather, I decided to check out the Toronto Zoo. I had no idea where it was, and was surprised to find out it was in the far-flung Rouge Hill area about a half hour away on the GO train plus a connection to a local bus, which on the map did not look that far. To take a bus from my neighborhood would have taken an hour and a half. The obvious choice was the train, particularly since it was only $10.50 round trip.

The journey started at Toronto's lovely old Union Station.

The GO section of the train station, however, is below, in what looks like a 1980s bus station.

Near the destination of Rouge Hill, the tracks follow along the shore of Lake Ontario.

The GO Trains are a split level design, quite confortable and modern. So far, so good. The suburban stations don't have signs telling you which direction you're headed, which I thought was a curious oversight. But the worst part was that even though I knew the number of the bus to take to the zoo, the ticket seller at the Rouge Hill station didn't know where the stop was and there were few people about. This surprised me. I expected to see a sign saying "Zoo Bus here." Finally I asked a driver of another bus. Even he wasn't sure. So I stood for a half hour waiting for bus 85. Finally, one arrived with three people on it. We rode and rode through neighborhoods, making turns and more turns and I quickly realized that I never would have been able to walk from the train station. Then, much to my surprise, the driver made an announcement: "This bus does not go to the zoo. Get off here." Yes, it appeared that I had picked the only 85 bus that did not go all the way to the zoo that day. I asked which direction the zoo was. He pointed to the right but said nothing more. I expected it to be a short stroll. It wasn't. I walked about a half hour or more along a throughway, wondering if the sidewalk would really take me to the zoo and if at some point I'd have to dash across six lanes of traffic. Eventually, I found myself walking through the parking lot. As for the zoo itself, first of all, it's not cheap. It's $21 for an adult ticket. It is modern, but not new. There are a lot of glass pavillions but I wasn't thrilled with the displays themselves. However, it is big -- or at least very spread out. It felt like I walked ten minutes between some exhibits.
The buffalo seemed to have a very large area to roam. This is just part of their domain.
I was disappointed in other areas, however, like this bear exhibit. Leaving, I made the assumption it would be much easier, but I waited at least a half hour for a bus back to the GO station. There were buses every five minutes going north, however, and the times weren't even close to those posted on the bus stop. So, final analysis: if you go to the Toronto Zoo from downtown, I suggest you drive.

Festival Tower and Ritz Carlton top out

Seen in the previous post in January, the Festival Tower sits atop the future home of the Toronto International Film Festival headquarters.
Below, as seen from the base of the CN Tower looking north on John Street.

The Toronto Ritz Carlton is an elegant addition to Toronto's skyline. The lower levels have a soaring cantilevered roof that thrusts over a porte cochere on Wellington Street West.