Bay (Street) Watch #1


Oh, Bay Street. Arguably the most recognizable street name in Canada, it inspires both reverence and disdain, depending on your geographic and economic position. Within Toronto, it’s home to some of the most stunning, iconic architecture in the city, from visionaries like Mies van der Rohe and IM Pei. Also some of the most nightmarishly banal sculpture, like the unintentionally camp (and Masonry-soaked) pieces by Eldon Garnet currently defacing the Metro Police HQ.

Outside Toronto, Bay Street’s rep as Canada’s economic centre is unquestionable, as is its rep as focal point for Western Canada’s “let those eastern bastards freeze in the dark” hatred. Which, hey, over the past two weeks? Mission half-accomplished. Fuck, it’s been cold, a situation for which I blame my recent phlegm-phactory state of being.

I’ve lived and/or worked within a half-block of Bay Street for over three-quarters of my nearly twenty years in Toronto and while the west-of-Yonge address is, indeed, enviable, my relationship with Bay Street is in jeopardy. In short, everything that’s broken about this dumb-ass city (and, on a different level, this whole country) can be found in abundance on Bay Street.

For starters, the peculiar Canadian trait of “avoiding excellence when mediocrity can be achieved” is in full display. This series of posts will document that ethos.

The Burano

Speaking of the Metro Police HQ, a mere block north of that abomination is the construction site of a condominium complex which, I recall, back when The Murano Presentation Centre was in operation at the former Addison Used Car lot, was the actually named The Murano. Steps north of the big hole in the ground is, indeed, an office bearing that name:

The Murano Presentation Centre

But at the construction site itself, for (at least) the past four weeks?

The Burano Construction Site

This raises a number of questions:

  1. Who entered this information into the pixelboard display, and why did they not proofread the twelve or so words entered?
  2. Who passes by this sign — a mere stone’s throw from the “Presentation Centre” — on their way to inspect the construction progress and either doesn’t notice, or notices and forgets, or notices and doesn’t give a fuck?
  3. Why is this a perfect example of the modern Canadian business ethos? Why is “good enough” ever good enough? Why is the goal of Canadian marketers mediocrity and not excellence? Why are the developers not fucking mortified by this dumbass mistake?

The answer to all of the above questions is: who cares? Because no one clearly does. Not the developer who must obliviously pass the site every day, not the worker drones who made the mistake and certainly not the buyers who’ll still buy the damned condo units even though the seller doesn’t care to spell the fucking name correctly.

And this is but one example of why the City of Toronto (and Canada as a whole) is so broken. It needn’t happen, really. Spend a little less time maximizing profits and a little more making sure you do the job correctly. Because just doing a “good” job puts you ahead of 97.3% of the rest of Canada. For shame.

3 Responses to “Bay (Street) Watch #1”

  1. 1 Bill

    A mistake?? Hardly. Smoke and mirrors worthy of a car dealer maybe. As a new owner of a Murano condominium, I’m not entirely pleased that my view will be obscured by the “Burano” towers rising across the street. (The company failed to mention the planned development as they talked up the west facing units in the Murano.) The lack of originality in coming up with a name is also disconcerting. There’s a campiness to living in the Murano across from the Burano that reminds me of that Banana rama fo fama….jingle. Oh well, at least if I grow weary of the character of the complex, it won’t be hard to sell and turn a profit with a condo on “arguably the most recognizable street name in Canada”.

  2. 2 Mike

    Two different developments…. funny reading a rant about how no one knows what is going on and business doesn’t care – when in fact it is you that has it all wrong.

    Burano will be a one tower project on the west side of bay, while the Murano is on the east side of Bay.

    And to the poster above, Lanterra had not obtained the site across from the Murano until summer 2006 when most of the units at Murano had already sold. They are trying to preserve some sightlines for their previous buyers… had it been a different developer they wouldn’t care about existing views.

  3. 3 bstewart23

    Well, it’s like this, Mike: For two months preceding my post, and for weeks thereafter, there was no Burano signage on Bay Street whatsoever. There was no Burano website. And, more importantly, when you called the Lanterra Developments office, the telephone-answerer there not only didn’t know anything about any Burano, but wasn’t willing to investigate and get back to me, either.

    So, yeah, mea culpa. But on February 13th, what I wrote was true to the best of my knowledge, and to the telephone-answerer at the developer’s office, too. The Burano sign was not on the site of The Burano, but across the street. It still represents a typically-Torontonian way of doing things.

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