I was riding my bike on Bloor Street along the north edge of High Park over the weekend. And in between cyclists in spandex yelling at me for seemingly riding the wrong way in the bike lanes, I managed to safely snap this picture:
It was a reminder of that thing we like to do in Toronto where we want lower-rise along our main streets and then we tuck the taller parts somewhere in the back so that we can pretend they are maybe not there. Here’s an aerial shot of the situation from Google Maps:
It’s a very different condition from what you will find in New York along virtually all edges of Central Park:
Now, New York and Toronto are not the same city. This much is obvious.
But there is a grandeur and degree of urbanity that is present along Central Park that is not present along High Park. And I would argue that this feature isn’t exclusive to New York. It can be found in many other cities, including places like Montreal.
I am sure that part of the rationale here on Bloor Street had to do with matching the lower-rise existing context. But we shouldn’t forget that the edges of public spaces are oftentimes just as important as the spaces themselves. Sometimes they can be even more important.
So I thought I would put it out to all of you. To stepback or not to stepback. What do you think would be the most appropriate built form along this north edge of High Park? Leave a comment below.