Comment 118193

By Haveacow (registered) | Posted May 04, 2016 at 08:31:18

The Eaton Centre in Toronto was one of the first attempts in North America to put a suburban mall downtown. It's unfortunate futuristic architecture on the outside of the mall especially the Yonge Street, side made it look like a space ship right out from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, hand landed on Yonge between Queen and Dundas Street. It also like every other mall had internalized the shopping environment and cut it off from the outside. The result was a wind swept alien like landscape on the west side of Yonge in downtown Toronto.

It took about 15-20 years but the change started when the mall and some of its restaurants realized that, it was better to allow these places to knock out the outside wall and put in windows and doors. Then allow patios and restaurant patrons to travel through the restaurant to the patio and allow possible patrons to walk in from the Yonge street entrance as well. It was a quick easy way to establish a on street presence. Then were possible, very small leasable social, retail, commercial and restaurant space that had only supply access to the mall and whose entrances faced towards the street were built. Even smaller street only facing garage like spaces were given short term leases to media (TV and Radio) or community organizations, Toronto public Health comes to mind. CFNY Radio had a small garage space were local and some international artists and bands would play to the street on Friday and Saturday nights, allowing for broadcasts from the street front space. Once the young and the young at heart, had great street space the whole block picked itself up. The idea being that you have to start small and build slowly and cheaply then it will pick up when the market re-establishes itself back on the street. Then the sky is the limit. It gets easier when you get young people first. If they make it hip, then half the battle is done.

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