What it is: A pair of condo towers, linked by an elevated bridge. They’d be 73 and 62 storeys in height, and they’d sit atop a nine-storey podium full of office and retail space. The development would span nearly half a block on the east side of Yonge Street, south of Gerrard.
Don’t be discouraged by the event’s critics: it turns out there’s more to Open Streets TO than just the streets it closes. While Rob Ford was quick to carp about congestion after the event’s inaugural run two weeks ago (road closures for the Indy, meanwhile, are apparently cool with the mayor), the rest of Toronto seemed to enjoy the Sunday morning outing, which saw pedestrians, bikers, joggers and performers take over stretches of Yonge and Bloor streets for four hours. Open Streets is back for a second instalment this weekend, and local shops will again be open for business. Swing by Holt Renfrew in Yorkville for free coffee and donut samples, take in some live music outside the Royal Conservatory of Music, or just wander through spontaneous yoga classes, hula-hoop stations and public art installations while basking in the rare chance to walk and bike down Yonge without being run over.
Sunday, Aug. 31, 8 a.m. to noon. FREE. Yonge Street between Bloor and Queen; Bloor Street between Spadina and Parliament, 647-206-9815, openstreetsto.org.
A sadistic true-life murder becomes part of Toronto’s painful coming-of-age in the Canadian novelist’s gritty new book
On July 28, 1977, Emanuel Jaques—a 12-year-old shoeshine boy from the Azores—was lured into an apartment above a body-rub shop on Yonge Street just south of Dundas. There, he was tortured and raped by three men, who then drowned him in the kitchen sink. Three days later, one of the killers confessed and led the police to Jaques’ body, which was hidden under a pile of debris on the building’s roof. The remaining men were caught shortly afterward on a Vancouver-bound train in northwestern Ontario. (One died in prison in 2003; the others are serving life sentences for first-degree murder.)
Kathi Roll Express is the latest ethnic street food shop to open in Toronto. Delhi-native and owner Sumit Kohli’s new restaurant serves grab-and-go Indian dishes, including kathi rolls (Indian flatbreads fried on a cast-iron griddle and filled with traditional Indian flavours, like chickpea masala and chicken tikka), and Mumbai-style sandwiches, along with a few fusion dishes, like the Korean barbecue chicken roll. Mains range from $4-13 and come in two sizes: mumbo (single filling) and jumbo (double filling). [Post City]
Tabülè, a favourite Midtown lunch destination, is the latest addition to the growing east-end restaurant scene. The new location is serving the same elevated Middle Eastern cuisine, including falafel balls, tabbouleh salad and lamb and beef skewers with assorted vegetables, as the original Yonge Street spot. The space is currently open for dinner. Lunch service starts this weekend.
Coming soon to Yonge and Bloor: The Kathi Roll Express, a new restaurant specializing in Kathi rolls, a Kolkata street snack that consists of meat, vegetables and eggs all rolled up in paratha (a type of fried flatbread). The restaurant will also serve other street foods from around the world, including Korean barbecue and Mexican snacks, along with masala chai and kulfi for dessert. Kathi Roll Express takes over its Yonge Street space from the shuttered Zelda’s Living Well, and will offer takeout and delivery in addition to dining in (and yes, Zelda’s much-loved 30-seat patio will be pressed into service seasonally). Owner Sumit Kohli expects the restaurant to open by April.
The Kathi Roll Express, 692 Yonge St., thekathirollexpress.com
The plans for a large-scale development at 1 Yonge Street, currently home to a set of low-rise buildings and the Toronto Star’s old parking lot, are even more ambitious than last summer’s rumours suggested. Late last week, Urban Toronto published a pair of architectural sketches showing Pinnacle International’s plans for a skyline-defining, five-tower development that would include Canada’s two tallest skyscrapers. Alongside the 92-storey and 98-storey buildings, the cluster would also contain an office tower of some 30 storeys, two 70-storey towers and street-level retail space (the Toronto Star office at the corner of Yonge and Queens Quay would remain untouched). The proposal is still in its infancy as the city has requested Pinnacle wait to formally submit it until after Waterfront Toronto has finished a study on future development in the area, which may not be until late summer. Moreover, as with Oxford Properties’ Convention Centre plans and David Mirvish and Frank Gehry’s theatre district proposal, questions remain over the area’s ability to sustain a set of monolithic residential towers. Although, at least Pinnacle would only be razing a parking lot, and not a beloved theatre. [Urban Toronto]
Less than a month after Marshalls opened at John and Richmond, another big American chain has launched its first downtown Toronto store. Suburban mainstay Bed, Bath and Beyond is now selling home, kitchen and garden merchandise out of a mammoth space in the base of the Aura at College Park condo building on Yonge, just north of Gerrard. The 50,ooo-square-foot store is the largest Bed, Bath and Beyond in Canada, which is appropriate since, once finished, Aura will be the country’s tallest residential building. Whether or not all those superlatives will make downtowners want to run over for bedding and bath stuff (plus all that “beyond” encompasses) remains to be seen, though we imagine the one-stop appeal of the big-box store will see it thrive.
Bed, Bath and Beyond, 382 Yonge St., 2nd floor, 1-800-462-3966, www.bedbathandbeyond.ca
Cheap, delicious Vietnamese street food purveyors Banh Mi Boys have finally revealed the location of their highly anticipated second shop. Co-owner David Chau hinted last week that the new spot would be on Yonge (previous rumours had pointed to the Eaton Centre) before confirming the address to NOW Magazine earlier this week—
339 Yonge Street, in the storefront previously occupied by Shake-o-lait. The new Bahn Mi Boys will have a similar look to the one on Queen West, plus a small patio and late-night hours come summer. What goes well with late summer nights? Booze, of course. Word is a liquor license is a possibility for the new shop—albeit, unfortunately, not a very good one. [NOW Magazine]
British boy-band sensation and global tween heartthrobs One Direction are opening up their first-ever pop-up shop in North America, and it’s going to be in Toronto (to think people even question Toronto’s status as a world-class city!). The launch of the 1D World store this Saturday at 680 Yonge Street just happens to coincide with the end of summer vacation, meaning the most ardent Directioners can score their sunglasses, T-shirts and iPhone covers in time for the first day of school. Anyone planning to head down, be warned: the Australian store saw line-ups of fans numbering in the thousands camped out hours in advance of the store opening, belting out catchy One Direction tunes. Alas, the opportunity to purchase a shirt adorned with the expertly coiffed band members is only temporary, as the shop is set to close September 2. Phew. [h/t Toronto Star]
The ongoing debt and legal issues at Captain John’s Harbour Boat Restaurant, the iconic marine eatery docked at the foot of Yonge Street since 1975, have finally shut it down. Owner “Captain” John Letnik owes $568,000 in back taxes, utilities and outstanding lease payments. Normally, the city would just seize the property and sell it after three years of nonpayment, but the fact that Captain John’s is a boat—with no engine, stuck fast in the muck—makes things a little bit tricky. The vessel will stay put for now, but Letnick has to remove the sign, gangplank and everything inside by July 27. And it looks like Chef Grant Soto (also known as Taylor Clarke) is already trolling for a new site for his gluttonous charity pop-up dinner. [Toronto Star]
Though city officials insist it’s safe to drive under the Gardiner Expressway in a convertible, the concrete-raining highway just claimed its first victim: yesterday, a five-inch chunk dented a two-door Mercedes travelling near Yonge and Lake Shore Boulevard (no one was injured). Coincidentally, the previous (of many) sky-is-falling incidents in Toronto saw glass crash down on a limousine downtown. We know there’s no surefire way to guess when the next outpouring of debris will be, but if you drive a fancy car, consider yourself a target. [Toronto Star]