Beach character comes from people, not buildings
Make the entire length of Queen Street a heritage district?!?
What have people been smoking (perhaps they were at the marijuana conference this past weekend!)? I imagine a small group of Beachers sitting around in a circle brainstorming, and planning their next initiative: a Declaration of Secession! They'll dig a moat along the length of Coxwell, complete with toll bridges and customs checkpoints! Declare the Beach a principality, and Gene Domagala its king. They already have a flag.
But c'mon, I've lived here in the Beach for most of my life, but would never say I think it should remain the same as it was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Stores come and go, Greenwood has come and – sadly – gone, yet the Beach has managed to keep its unique feel.
What makes these guys think that a few small condo buildings are going to turn Queen Street into Yonge Street? It's the Beach people who make the neighbourhood what it is, not the buildings! It's the Lions Easter Parade, it's the Beaches Jazz Festival.
Jon, I know you're coming back from small town life in northern B.C. Do you notice many changes to the Beach since you've been gone? How does it compare to Smithers? Certainly downtown is beginning to resemble the concrete canyons of Manhattan. I half expect to see Spiderman swinging overhead (what do those webs attach to anyway?). But the few new condo developments going up here along Queen are nothing compared to those towers. You would think from listening to some of the talk that someone was proposing to build St. James Town-on-the-Boardwalk.
I realize that the City is upping the density levels, but there is no way they would ever cram them in like they once did. And these are not rental units either, not that I have anything against rental units. I live in one! These are upscale, high-priced, spacious (if you can call any condo spacious) condominiums that will be purchased, for the most part, by Beach Boomers cashing in on the red hot real estate market (“Sure, if they want to offer me a million bucks for my little bungalow, then spend half that again putting on a second storey, who am I to turn it down? I'll just move into a condo overlooking Kew Gardens.”) I probably would do the same thing if I could afford it.
People are complaining that these “glass and steel towers” will ruin the small-town feel of the Beach, that they will obliterate the views of more well known Beachy landmarks; the clock tower on the fire station, for example (and I'm trying to think of another example of a Beachy landmark along Queen!).
I'm sorry guys, Toronto is no longer a city of small separate physical neighbourhoods. It is now officially a megalopolis, and the Beach will eventually be swallowed in much the same way Yorkville was (I still remember the coffee houses of the 60s). If it's old buildings you want, you might consider moving to Stoufville.
Then again, I'm not looking forward to the day when the landlords decide to throw me out of my walk-up in order to convert it to a condo. On my pension I'll be looking for a basement apartment.
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