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An image from Frank Gehry’s designs for David Mirvish’s project to remake his properties at King Street West and John St. in Toronto. (Courtesy of Gehry International Inc.)
An image from Frank Gehry’s designs for David Mirvish’s project to remake his properties at King Street West and John St. in Toronto. (Courtesy of Gehry International Inc.)

You said it: Readers weigh in on Mirvish’s vision for Toronto’s entertainment district Add to ...

– Rey Dunca, Toronto

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“I’m against it. Turning commercial buildings into condos can have all kinds of negative repercussions: it could reinforce the trend of jobs moving to the burbs; it could damage the entertainment industry; and it could even trigger a housing bubble. Replacing theatres with condos will of course damage Toronto’s entertainment industry, which will have economic consequences and make the entertainment district less vibrant at night. It is especially sad to tear down buildings that are historic.”

– Maria Amuchastegui, Toronto

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“These blocks of King Street are fantastic as is because all of the buildings (from St. Andrew’s Church+Roy Thomson Hall to the Princess of Wales) are all roughly the same height, giving the area a cohesiveness in scale. David Mirvish and Frank Gehry’s plan would not only deprive Torontonians of a theatre they have come to love, but it would also see the destruction of some wonderful Victorian warehouse buildings, so evocative of Toronto and one of the reasons that make Toronto so interesting to walk around. Any plans for the area should maintain the theatre and restore the warehouses, perhaps bringing them back their red brick exteriors. Toronto’s lost too much of its heritage and trading a theatre for an art gallery does not represent any net gain for the culture of the city.”

– Eliot Perrin, Montreal

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“I think it’s cool that Gehry is on board (I imagine most of Toronto will similarly – and predictably – swoon) and I’m not really adverse to the condos. They look cool. But first impression of the design is that it won’t put Toronto on the map. It’s like the AGO – interesting and deserving of respect but ultimately not remarkable. It’s missing a wow factor. Second is that there are so many crummy parts to the city – why rip up something that already looks beautiful? Mirvish must be losing money on the present theatre, otherwise it doesn’t really make sense to do that.”

– Oliver MacLaren, Toronto

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“When two great minds come together, could anyone expect anything but a visionary project? Toronto lacks significantly in any architectural wonders. The Trump Tower, L Tower and Shangri La are still just boring glass towers like any other being produced around the city. One could only hope that when the project is developed it will create a domino effect and help bring Toronto into the 21st century.”

– John Sedrak, Toronto

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“All it will do is knock down yet more of what little old architecture Toronto has left. I have nothing against the building of this, interesting modern building, but stick on top of the many thousands of bland modern architecture in the city. Torontonians compare their city to New York, Chicago, London. The difference is those three cities have retained much of their older architecture, Toronto has little left.”

-Sean Richards, Toronto

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“While only time will tell whether Gehry’s vision turns out to be great or garish, I think this is a positive move for the city. Although Toronto isn’t lacking for condos at the moment, I don’t understand why everyone is bemoaning the loss of the Princess of Wales theatre. This is not an architectural masterpiece, nor historically significant. The PofW is expendable in a city that has more theatres than it does good performances. I think the development will anchor a corridor that is already moving beyond its historical roots, and embracing TIFF, restaurants, and where T.O. is headed.”

– Justin Sannella, Toronto

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“David Mirvish is proposing that Frank Gehry create an incredible architectural marvel which will include new space for the arts. How can private money being spent on bettering the city be bad? Do I want to see the PoW destroyed, not really. But do I want to see this city offer more in the way of architecture and arts learning space? Yes.”

– Shayna Goldberg, Toronto

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“Finally the condo boom provides some interesting architecture in downtown Toronto! Next up... a subway along Queen Street?”

– Alejandro Lopez, Toronto

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“The only bold thing about this possible development is the disregard it shows toward one of Toronto’s finer theatres. Furthermore King Street’s pedestrian scale continues to be dwarfed by excessive condo development and this scheme is likely to make that condition worse. Perhaps Mr. Mirvish should focus his “city building” development aspirations on a location that truly needs urban renewal help supported by a bold vision. The Honest Ed’s block at Bathurst and Bloor comes to mind.”

– Paul Stevens, Toronto

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