A Lesson In Architecture…and Ostentatious Displays of Wealth

I got off the subway today at the Spadina station and found this beautiful old place near the corner of Spadina and Bloor St W:

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I love that red door. This place is the “Bloor Street United Church.”

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They don’t make ’em like this anymore!

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As I was walking down the Bloor, I saw this weird…thing…. sticking out into the road…..

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(Of course I know what it is…but please indulge me…)

I got closer….Image

OH my GOD…a gigantic glass and….siding?!….THING…was in the process of EATING a beautiful old building ! ! ! 

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Almost swallowed up….

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Ok, we all know that it’s “The Crystal” – part of the renovation/expansion of the Royal Ontario Museum. The renos were completed in 2007 at a cost of….wait…what?! Nevermind…I won’t print that here.

Anyway it is widely considered to be …well, I’ll just add this portion of the Wikipedia article on the ROM…I can’t explain it better than this:

“On 1 June 2007, the Governor GeneralMichaëlle Jean, attended the Architectural Opening of the “Michael Lee-Chin Crystal”.[30] This caused controversy because the public opinion had been divided concerning the merits of its angular design. On its opening, Globe and Mail architecture critic Lisa Rochon complained that “the new ROM rages at the world,” was oppressive, angsty, and hellish, while others (perhaps championed by the architecture critic at the competing Toronto Star, Christopher Hume) hailed it as a monument.[31] Some critics have gone as far as ranking it as one of the ten ugliest buildings in the world.[32] The project also experienced budget and construction time over-runs,[33] and drew comparisons to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao for using so-called “starchitecture” to attract tourism”.[34](Source: Wikipedia)

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It doesn’t look as bad in the above photo…because you can see more of the old building. Good god. …one of my friends once described it as looking like “a huge glass tumor coming out of the ROM.” I would say that sums it up pretty accurately.

Nonetheless, the ROM (http://www.rom.on.ca/en ) is a very interesting and fun place to go…especially now that they’ve added that new ancient animals/dinosaurs exhibit. I remember going there on grade school trips and being pretty bored at the end of the day after seeing what seemed like hundreds and hundreds of rooms full of nothing but clay pots and arrowheads. Kids going today get to see enormous dinosaur skeletons….which is a lot cooler.

After I passed the ROM I happened upon some pretty ritzy shops. I had unknowingly entered Yorkville. Here is some of what I saw:

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I saw a girl trying to open this door at Hermes and it wouldn’t open..?! Do you need an appointment to shop there or something…??

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In the 1960s, this area used to be known as “Haight-Ashbury North” – Toronto’s “hippie haven.” Hard to imagine now.

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I didn’t actually go into any of these stores, because, well…I’m not a) a Bay Street investment banker, b) the aforementioned investment banker’s wife, or c) a member of the Weston family.

Finally, I arrived at my actual destination: a photography exhibit of Japanese Noh Theatre at the Japan Foundation. Here is the poster outside the door:

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It was a small exhibition – two rooms – but it was really good. Noh Theatre is one of the major theatrical forms in Japan. It dates back to the 13th century. Here’s a good article about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noh_theatre

I hope to see Noh theatre in person someday….

On the way back home I captured this beautiful sunset…which I think is probably just as beautiful as anything in Tiffany and Co.

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Stay tuned!

 

 

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