The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 14

Melbourne Place, Toronto.
PHOTO: THE AUTHOR

For the past 10 years, I've worked in an office located not quite 500 metres from
this very spot. Not only did I not know that this place existed; I hadn't even imagined
that a place like this could exist in the city that I've lived in all my life. Since that day,
I've visited this urban anomaly a few times, and have discovered other tiny enclaves
in the city that have a similar feel. It's best if everyone doesn't know about these
places, but how can we exist without them?
Emerging from Melbourne Place, we travel east on Melbourne Avenue, then south on
Dufferin, to its intersection with King Street. This is a fairly major intersection in the
city, two lanes of traffic and streetcar tracks run in all four directions. It is quite noisy
here, even on a Saturday - not a comfortable gathering space. We decide not to linger.
East on King Street, south on Mowat Avenue, and we enter a small laneway on the
east side of the street, beside a building called The Carpet Factory, which it once was,
but is now home to fashionable commercial lofts. Liberty Village, where we now are,
is a rapidly developing residential and commercial precinct that is rich with history
and historic architecture, having once been a busy industrial district, as well as the
location of two prisons and an army garrison.
True to its industrial heritage, Liberty Village is a heavily textured neighbourhood:
weathered brick warehouses, smokestacks, railroad tracks, coarse brick and stone
paving all add a strong tactile sense. We stop in a narrow railway passage. The texture
of ancient red brick surrounds us, on walls and pavement. The old railway tracks are
intact, although no longer in use; a reminder of the area's history.
We follow the railway tracks south to Liberty Street and turn east again to Hanna
Avenue, where we arrive at an indoor arcade. You might be tempted to call it a mall,
but it has clearly been modelled after the glass-roofed shopping arcades popular
in the 18th- and 19th-century European cities. It's a pale imitation of a European
arcade. There is almost no colour and little pedestrian activity, so it is quieter and
less animated than it should be. Even the coffee shop that ought to be pumping out
strong aromas is under-performing. The space smells of nothing at all. The arcade is
a sensory disappointment.
Backtracking by a block, we go south on Atlantic Avenue to where it terminates at the
inter-city railway tracks and the elevated Gardner Expressway beyond. Much has been
written and discussed about the 50-year-old urban highway, most of it unflattering. It's
unsightly, disruptive of pedestrian traffic flow, hides the lake from the city, unprofitably
occupies valuable real estate and, most critically these days, it celebrates the use
of the car. Without entering into this debate, Jonathan mentions another problem: in
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018

Message from the Board
Walking
Integrated Building Design... and More
Feature Project: Guelph Market Square
Index of Advertisers
Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Walking
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 7
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Integrated Building Design... and More
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 19
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Feature Project: Guelph Market Square
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Index of Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover4
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