written by:
photos by:
March 16, 2011

Last week I headed north (and quite a ways east) to one of my favorite cities: Toronto. I spend a fair share of my childhood in Toronto visiting family, and I later lived near the Annex neighborhood as an undergraduate architecture student at the University of Toronto. Traveling back to serve on the curatorial committee for the third Twenty+Change exhibition and publication, I was delighted to find the city as vibrant as ever. It continues to surprise me, with its creative forces always at work, interesting and innovative spots always presenting themselves, and endless construction being done. Here's the first part of my tour through Toronto.

Exploring a part of town I haven't visited much in the past, I stayed at the <a href="http://www.gladstonehotel.com">Gladstone Hotel</a> on Queen Street West at Dufferin (shown here is a view toward Toronto's downtown on Friday's dreary morning). The area
Exploring a part of town I haven't visited much in the past, I stayed at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street West at Dufferin (shown here is a view toward Toronto's downtown on Friday's dreary morning). The area boasts independent shops and cafes and is home to many of the city's hipsters.
Photo by 
1 / 16
The Gladstone Hotel is a hub for history, the arts, and evening entertainment. Built in 1889, the hotel underwent a significant renovation in 2005 that included asking local artists and architects to each design one of its 37 rooms. The lobby features a c
The Gladstone Hotel is a hub for history, the arts, and evening entertainment. Built in 1889, the hotel underwent a significant renovation in 2005 that included asking local artists and architects to each design one of its 37 rooms. The lobby features a cafe, bar, and ballroom (where great rooms originally stood). The second hosts gallery space, and the third and fourth floors house additional art as well as all the guest rooms. Connecting all four levels is the original wrought-iron elevator, which dates back to circa 1904. I was amazed by the enthusiasm of the hotel employees who took me up and down in the iron cage; each was eager to tell the story of the building and the elevator and full of genuine pride about the property.
Photo by 
2 / 16
I stayed in room 413, <a href="http://www.gladstonehotel.com/hotel/rooms/artist-designed/413-combo-moderna">"Combo Moderna"</a>, designed by Kelly Palmer and Melanie Zanker. (Check back soon for a slideshow featuring the room and the hotel in greater deta
I stayed in room 413, "Combo Moderna", designed by Kelly Palmer and Melanie Zanker. (Check back soon for a slideshow featuring the room and the hotel in greater detail.)
Photo by 
3 / 16
One great discovery on this trip was <a href="http://honeypie.ca/">Honey Pie Hive and Herbal</a>'s shampoo bar. (The company also makes a conditioner bar). Perfect for the airplane traveler, the shampoo comes as a solid bar then creates a lather when you
One great discovery on this trip was Honey Pie Hive and Herbal's shampoo bar. (The company also makes a conditioner bar). Perfect for the airplane traveler, the shampoo comes as a solid bar then creates a lather when you rub it on wet hair. Check out my post from the road about Honey Pie.
Photo by 
4 / 16
I spent Friday on the University of Toronto campus in a meeting with the <a href="http://www.twentyandchange.org/">Twenty+Change</a> curatorial committee, selecting projects for its third exhibition and publication featuring emerging Canadian design firms
I spent Friday on the University of Toronto campus in a meeting with the Twenty+Change curatorial committee, selecting projects for its third exhibition and publication featuring emerging Canadian design firms. New to me was Willcocks Commons (pictured here), a pedestrian-only section of Willcocks Street that was unveiled in September 2010. Though now devoid of outdoor furniture due to winter weather, the Commons is an exciting example of reclaimed pedestrian space in urban areas.
Photo by 
5 / 16
My touring took me to the new <a href="http://tiff.net/tiffbelllightbox">TIFF Lightbox</a>, which was showing the <a href="http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/313">Museum of Modern Art's Tim Burton retrospective</a>, originally exhibited in New
My touring took me to the new TIFF Lightbox, which was showing the Museum of Modern Art's Tim Burton retrospective, originally exhibited in New York from November 2009 through April 2010.
Photo by 
6 / 16
The TIFF Lightbox opened in September 2010 as the new home for the Toronto International Film Festival. Designed by <a href="http://www.kpmb.com/">KPMB Architects</a>, the downtown structure features five cinemas that screen films throughout the year, two
The TIFF Lightbox opened in September 2010 as the new home for the Toronto International Film Festival. Designed by KPMB Architects, the downtown structure features five cinemas that screen films throughout the year, two galleries, classrooms, and two restaurants. The blue blob is a character from the Tim Burton exhibition.
Photo by 
7 / 16
Next up was a trip down Queen Street West between Bathurst and Ossington streets. In this picture, a regular Toronto sight: the TTC streetcars.
Next up was a trip down Queen Street West between Bathurst and Ossington streets. In this picture, a regular Toronto sight: the TTC streetcars.
Photo by 
8 / 16
Up first on Queen Street was <a href="http://www.magic-pony.com/">Magic Pony</a>, a store that my sister recommended and that specializes in design toys, books, and small products. Though it might seem a bit kitschy at first, it's full of Dwell favorites:
Up first on Queen Street was Magic Pony, a store that my sister recommended and that specializes in design toys, books, and small products. Though it might seem a bit kitschy at first, it's full of Dwell favorites: toys like Miller Goodman's Shapemaker Wooden toy, books like Illustration Play 2, and products such as Yellow Owl Workshop's Cityscape Stamp Sets.
Photo by 
9 / 16
Magic Pony also sells a big selection of stationery, like <a href="http://www.dwell.com/organizations/the-regional-assembly-of-text.html?tab=about&c=y">Regional Assembly of Text</a>'s Quiz cards and Chronicle Book's <a href="http://www.dwell.com/products/
Magic Pony also sells a big selection of stationery, like Regional Assembly of Text's Quiz cards and Chronicle Book's Gold Standard Noteblock.
Photo by 
10 / 16
Next, it was on to <a href="http://store.neatspace.ca/">Neat</a>, a nearby modern furniture and products shop.
Next, it was on to Neat, a nearby modern furniture and products shop.
Photo by 
11 / 16
Neat carries all the lifestyle essentials (Bodum for the kitchen, simplehuman for the bathroom, Kartell for the living room), but also a line that was new to me: the <a href="http://www.laxseries.com/">LAXseries</a> by Mash Studios. A console from the col
Neat carries all the lifestyle essentials (Bodum for the kitchen, simplehuman for the bathroom, Kartell for the living room), but also a line that was new to me: the LAXseries by Mash Studios. A console from the collection is pictured in the foreground on the right.
Photo by 
12 / 16
Now ready for a snack, we went in search of a coffee shop. Along our way, we spotted a strange little window opening. Inside, presented like an exhibition display, was <i>The Game of Urban Renewal</i>, a faux board game by artist Flavio Trevisan that chal
Now ready for a snack, we went in search of a coffee shop. Along our way, we spotted a strange little window opening. Inside, presented like an exhibition display, was The Game of Urban Renewal, a faux board game by artist Flavio Trevisan that challenges the user to redesign Toronto's urban landscape, specifically the Regent Park low-income housing project. After a bit of investigation, I discovered the small window slot is in fact a gallery called *QueenSpecific. The goal for exhibiting artists is to "consider the dimensions of the window, the locale, and the potential to engage with the casual passer-by." Trevisan's work sure grabbed my attention and I huddled around the display for a good several minutes. Quite awesome.
Photo by 
13 / 16
Then it was time for a bite. *QueenSpecific was located immediately next to a delicious pastry shop called <a href="http://www.dufflet.com/home.asp">Dufflet</a>. Here we enjoyed tea and hot chocolates with one of my favorite Canadian treats: a butter tart
Then it was time for a bite. *QueenSpecific was located immediately next to a delicious pastry shop called Dufflet. Here we enjoyed tea and hot chocolates with one of my favorite Canadian treats: a butter tart (it's essentially a single-serving pecan pie, this one drizzled with chocolate).
Photo by 
14 / 16
We also stopped at <a href="http://madedesign.ca/">Made</a>, a shop on Dundas Street West that sells modern Canadian design, created and nearly all fabricated in Canada. The store (and gallery) is housed in a former Chinese herb shop, whose red-and-yellow
We also stopped at Made, a shop on Dundas Street West that sells modern Canadian design, created and nearly all fabricated in Canada. The store (and gallery) is housed in a former Chinese herb shop, whose red-and-yellow signs can still be seen through the cut-metal Made signs.
Photo by 
15 / 16
Inside, Made is filled with beautifully crafted designs. The Shinny Standard by Barr Gilmore caught my eye as especially Canadian—it's made of hockey sticks after all. Furniture maker <a href="http://www.wheelersstudio.com/Console.htm">Jason Wheeler's con
Inside, Made is filled with beautifully crafted designs. The Shinny Standard by Barr Gilmore caught my eye as especially Canadian—it's made of hockey sticks after all. Furniture maker Jason Wheeler's console was also especially attractive and fascinating, as its metal front facade is actually just that: a facade. The entire piece is made of solid wood and wood veneer with the rusted metallic look painted on. Stay tuned for more about Made as well as Part 2 of my tour through Toronto!

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Photo by 
16 / 16
Exploring a part of town I haven't visited much in the past, I stayed at the <a href="http://www.gladstonehotel.com">Gladstone Hotel</a> on Queen Street West at Dufferin (shown here is a view toward Toronto's downtown on Friday's dreary morning). The area
Exploring a part of town I haven't visited much in the past, I stayed at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street West at Dufferin (shown here is a view toward Toronto's downtown on Friday's dreary morning). The area boasts independent shops and cafes and is home to many of the city's hipsters.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016