Norm’s Open Kitchen, 1973

Norm’s Open Kitchen in 1973. Image: Keith Beaty / Toronto Star / Toronto Public Library, Baldwin Collection Item TSPA 0114771f.

We’ve seen it happen a few times recently here in Ottawa. A business attracts a clientele that the neighbourhood feels is a threat and works to have the business removed through regulatory measures. In Toronto, Norm’s Open Kitchen was one of those establishments.

Continue reading →

Danforth’s Sidewalk Protest, 1934

A sandwich man protests the sale of fruit from the sidewalk along Danforth, October 1934. Image: Toronto Star / Toronto Public Library, Baldwin Collection, Item TSPA 0113093f.

’twas ever thus. So long as we’ve gathered into cities, there have been disputes – both major and minor – over the appropriate and proportionate use of public space.  Sometimes, such as our perennial arguments over the patios installed on Elgin street here in Ottawa during the summer months, it’s an entirely legitimate exercise in negotiating the use of space. Other times, such as the pitched battles between restaurants and food trucks, it’s more a matter protecting revenues by limiting the range of choices in the immediate area. In the case of the photo above, it was more of the former, but with some drops of the latter added to the mix.

Continue reading →

Under the ‘N’… NO

Pacific Avenue residents show the Toronto Star’s Ken Faught their opposition to the Kingsway Pacific Bingo plan to open a large Bingo hall in a former Loblaws. Image: Ken Faught / Toronto Star / Toronto Public Library, Baldwin Collection, Item TSPA 0011943f.

Admittedly, one of my favourite articles in the last little while has been one that was run in Toronto Life called “People with their arms crossed in front of things they’re against: A taxonomy of the Star’s favourite visual cliché“. To be certain, it’s a light and fluffy piece, but I was happy that someone did put it out there. The arms-crossed-and-scowl (or look of deep concern) visual language that communicates opposition is common to newspapers all over.

Continue reading →

Centretown’s Apartments, Civil Servants, and the Great Depression

Chamberlin (Chamberlain) Manor. Image: March 2016.

If you’ve had a chat with me in the last year or so, there is a good chance that I found occasion to slip something about apartments, Centretown, or both into the conversation. It should come as no surprise that during the Depression, construction of all sorts ground to a virtual halt. If you were take a look around the neighbourhood during those years, it would appear that someone forgot to let a small group of developers know that the party was over.

Continue reading →