I have to say, I’m still sad that we didn’t decide to develop Downsview (former military airfield and site of DHC – de Havilland Canada – builder of the best bush-planes ever made). There was definitely room up there for a new stadium, and facilities to make it a more useful and welcoming concert and festival park, it’s on the subway line, the area could really use some stimulus, and the way our local aviation museum was booted out of there in 2011 was nothing sort of shameful (criminal insult to our aviation heritage, a disrespect sadly typical of technocrats). That priceless collection is currently being stored in forty trailers in an outdoor parking lot (crazy-making).
BUT – the freaky high-concentration of downtown facilities which has resulted does have it’s value, and has brought other once derelict or industrial land by the waterfront into new and sometimes charming usefulness.
From Union Station, already busy enough with traffic from the railway, those going to the island ferryboat, and also to-ing and fro-ing from Billy Bishop (city centre) airport, we also get to the CN tower, the convention centre (where Fan Expo is held), Ripley’s Aquarium, the Skydome for baseball, and a lovely old former main post office, since renovated into our modern Hockey arena (currently trading names between two corporations – and screw them both for that grotesquely crass marketing BS, anyhow). Streetcar for the Exhibition-grounds, too – which means equestrian events, formula one, soccer and football (or football and football, for my more civilized friends). ;o) There’s also harbourfront – Yoyo Ma’s aforementioned lovely music-garden – and finally this wondrous little treat, sandwiched right in the middle of all of it.
The Toronto Railway Museum is just about perfect, as far as I can tell. Great collection of locomotives on display outside where you can really see them sparkle, a working roundhouse (you wouldn’t believe how many people stand there, just to watch the guy work those huge old throw-levers) – and even a collection of cute and tiny railway stations that would otherwise have been demolished (Don, where you go to catch this train, is absolutely lovely).
Here, I’ll prove it to you.
Too cute, right? – and yes, strollers everywhere – kids and trains, still – hooray!
I’m sure that if this place had been around when I was a kid, I would have hung out here all the time (along with the ROM, Planetarium, Science Centre and Ontario place, where I did go whenever I could). As a teenager I would have come back again to draw – few places downtown where we can get more exciting industrial history reference under natural sunlight – plus, there’s no admission-charge to the outdoor park, and the museum, always actively restoring more vintage vehicles in the original roundhouse workshop, only wants a fiver for entrance (and deserves it) 3 for kids. Easels ready? March!
On the other hand, while trains remain reassuringly fascinating for kids, nothing ever has exceeded their raw natural curiosity about the world. “I wonder what would happen if?”
It is of course tempting to explain this as a rather direct and forthright experiment in the interaction of mass, velocity, and materials-compliance. But if the hoped-for result is really nothing but some gravel-powder, why exactly did he post a look-out?