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Once-lonely Fort York area starts to buzz
June 18, 2010 | John Bentley Mays | Globe and Mail

"Within vivid living memory, the area around Fort York was a lonely place of railway switching yards, factories and broad, empty streets – perfect for peaceful evening strolls far from uptown bustle, but devoid of the pulse of city living. Toronto’s ongoing condominium boom, of course, has changed everything about the lay of the land down there. Tower after tower is rising from former industrial sites and railway lands, patching up the tattered urban fabric in the vicinity of Fort York and bringing vitality to the once-desolate neighbourhood.

And, along with the towers, the signs of metropolitan civilization are appearing. There is now a big grocery store at the corner of Fort York Boulevard and Spadina Avenue, within easy walking distance of thousands of homes. Close to the store, a new school and park will soon be completed. And a couple of long blocks west along the uncompleted boulevard (where it joins Bathurst Street), one of the surest indicators of full-service urban culture will emerge: a spanking new 17,000-square-foot public library to be designed by Shirley Blumberg, partner in the Toronto firm of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects.

The library is not, however, Ms. Blumberg’s only intervention at the point where Fort York Boulevard and Bathurst will someday meet. She is also the author of the adjacent Library District Condominiums, a 29-storey building that will conclude the westward march of condo stacks along the boulevard between Spadina and Bathurst."

Text by John Bentley Mays

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