|Bay Adelaide Centre/ Courtesy Heather Carrol|
|Union Station/Courtesy Wikipedia|
|Humber River pedestrian cycling bridge/Courtesy Sandramck|
|Carrying Place Trail/Courtesy Ossih|
|Theater Passe Muraille/Courtesy SimonP|
David Miller is Counsel, International Business and Sustainability with Aird & Berlis, LLP. In that role, David assists in the development of Aird & Berlis’ international clean tech and renewable energy practices. David Miller was Mayor of Toronto from 2003–2010, and Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group from 2008 – 2010. He is a Harvard trained economist.
Favourite New Green Building
My favourite new green building in Toronto is the Bay Adelaide Centre (333 Bay Street, on the Bay bus line, close to King Subway Station), and it’s not simply because of its LEED certification, low emission carpeting, high air quality and great park—it’s because it is a symbol of the financial renaissance of Toronto. The Bay Adelaide Centre was originally designed in the late 1980’s and not built. The groundbreaking for the new building, completed in 2008, consisted of a “stump busting”. The developers and I used sledgehammers to knock down the 4-storey elevator tower which was the only thing that had built for the original building in the 1980’s.
Must-see Historic Building
Union Station (Front Street and Bay Street, Union Station subway stop) is an absolute must-see in Toronto. It is the busiest transportation hub in Canada and is the place where generations of newcomers first set foot in Toronto. (Toronto is unique in the world in that it is a city in which the majority of people are first generation immigrants.) In addition, it is undergoing a massive renovation involving changes to the subway, changes to the train shed, changes to the tracks and a dig-down to create a 3-storey building and incorporate retail and other uses. It is one of Canada’s architectural gems, and it is an opportunity to see this gem being rejuvenated in the midst of a significant project.
My favourite place in the City of Toronto is the Humber River pedestrian cycling bridge (on the western waterfront, visible from Lakeshore Blvd. and a short walk from the Queen Street West streetcar line). It’s design is award-winning and, located at the mouth of the Humber River in the City’s west end, is an important connector between the cities of Etobicoke and Toronto (which were amalgamated in 1997). In addition, the bridge is at the foot of the Carrying Place Trail—the historic aboriginal trail which became the site of the first European trading post from which Toronto grew.
Best Public Parks/Spaces
The best public park in downtown Toronto is the City Hall green roof (100 Queen Street West, corner of Queen and Bay Street, near the Queen Subway station). Originally a flat concrete tiled roof designed to hold events —and to drive cars onto—the roof was redone as a green roof and re-opened in 2009. It is an extraordinarily beautiful park, especially on a sunny day, with variations in design and many opportunities to sit and eat lunch. There is even a roughed-in facility for a bar, although no bar yet! In addition to its use as a park, the roof is a symbolic representation of the greening of Toronto. It was opened at about the same time City Hall passed a new by-law mandating green roofs on appropriate buildings throughout the City.
I love the theatre. There are great theatres in the City of Toronto. For a smaller more intimate experience try Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue, close to the Queen Street West streetcar) which often has avant garde innovative Canadian theatre. For more traditional fare try Soulpepper and catch the Distillery District at the same time. My favourite art gallery is the Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West, west of the St. Patrick subway stop)—a brilliant renovation by Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry. The gallery uses natural light to great effect, and has a great collection of international artists, and of course Canada’s Group of Seven. You cannot come to Toronto without seeing the works of the Group of Seven—the first Canadian artists to truly paint the majesty of this country’s natural areas.
Drinking, Dining and Shopping
My wife, Jill, and I spent our wedding anniversary this year at Enoteca Sociale (1288 Dundas Street West, Dundas West streetcar) in the west end of the City. Although it is hard to get reservations, the restaurant keeps some seats for walk-in patrons because it is a neighbourhood restaurant and they want to ensure that neighbours always feel welcome. I would recommend that you simply ask them to bring food for the table and pair wines with the food. You won’t regret it because the chef in the kitchen loves to serve a combination of foods that work well together. Everything on the menu is simply superb. For a different kind of atmosphere, Allen’s on The Danforth (143 Danforth Avenue, Broadview Subway Station) is absolutely Toronto’s best upscale pub/New York style eatery. Patrons John Maxwell and Dora Keogh (who also own the pub next door which is named after Dora) delight in superb service and a great collection of beer, wine and scotch. In addition, their meats are excellent. Local vegetables and local meat—you could literally order steaks from particular farms. Their hamburgers are the City’s best, probably because they grind the meat on-site themselves.
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