A Headline Story
Media held varied attitudes towards Yonge Street over the years. Often correlating, and perhaps provoking, the many redevelopments of the commercial strip; chronicling these attitudes unveils how the street evolved to its present day condition. A HEADLINE STORY is a piece which chronicles Toronto Star headlines relating to Yonge Street, dating back to 1960. The Toronto Star newspaper was chosen for two reasons. For one, it is fair to say that The Toronto Star could be coined as the ‘people’s paper’ and would have a more democratic standpoint. Secondly, in relation to other Toronto newspapers, having an address on Yonge Street gives The Toronto Star a more personal affiliation with the subject matter. By cataloguing the relevant headlines, the exercise paints a picture of the streets evolution by expressing media coverage of the pinnacle moments that led to its economic rise, fall and revitalization.
Behind Closed Doors
These photographs were taken with a 600mm Polaroid Instamatic camera. They document the inside of Zanzibar Tavern, on a Sunday morning between the hours of 9:00 am and 11:00 am. The photographs offer a reading of the tavern through the perspective staff members, who on that early Sunday morning, were preparing for another regular day of business.
Intro to Yonge Street
The map provides a general understanding of the diverse activities found on Yonge Street. It visualises the street based on the variety of merchandise and services available to its users; each icon representing one business. The goods and services available cater to a broad spectrum of user groups, but were organized into general categories, that were then located onto a scaled street map. The combined image shows the informal distribution of the variety of businesses found on the street.
Publicly Private Space
This three part mapping exercise outlines the public spaces of Yonge Street that can be occupied as private zones by street-involved demographics. Over the course of one week, personal artefacts left behind were catalogued in order to quantify which zones could more
appropriately be identified as highly trafficked private locations. For the sake of offering a qualitative analysis of the occupation the investigation also samples the variety of textures found in Yonge Street’s rear corridor. The samples were taken from the specific private locations outlined in the previous mapping exercise. The mapping conveys a tactile analysis
of the street and building fabric within these zones. Photographic texture details accompanied by relief samples, taken using trace paper and a 6B graphite stick, were collected and catalogued in order render a more personalized and tactile understanding of Yonge Street, as experienced by user groups that inhabits these areas.
Signage vs. Space
Being a commercial thoroughfare, signage has always played an integral role in the fabric of Yonge Street. The relationship between signage and the architecture it supported evolved as the climate changed and grew to be more consumer-focused. The following investigation is a map which records all the signage found presently on Yonge Street, and arranges it based on address and relative size. The exercise illustrates the relationship signage has to the commercial public artery.
Yonge Street, although a throughway, has always been a destination. During the musical revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s, Yonge street was the centre of Canadian music and culture. The Yorkville village just north of Yonge and Bloor Streets was the breeding ground of world renowned folk singers such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Yonge and Gordon Lightfoot. The downtown strip flourished into a place frequented by independent artists, musicians and youth; it was the place to be. Anything you needed, you could find somewhere in the entrancing filigree of neon lights that coated the street façades. With each store front playing a contributing role to the street’s dynamic atmosphere. Arranged on the strip was a unique collection of independently run businesses, each with an iconic
street face. THE STRIP investigates this phenomenon by cataloguing, and arranging sequentially by address, a selection of street façades present in 1970s, that have since been built over.
This is a photo essay which narrates an experience exclusive to the back of houses and alleyways of Yonge Street. Taken over the course of two days spent walking the backstreets running from Bloor Street to the Waterfront, the photos trace both the texture palette and threshold conditions into Yonge Street’s rear corridor.