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Aug 19, 2012, 4:10 AM
The revitalization of Market Lane is well underway and is to be completed in November.
I've used this alley every day for the past 6 months and have seen some fairly depressing things there. I can't even imagine what this section of Dundas is going to look like next year. Dundas and Richmond receives a lot of criticism, but there are a number of very successful businesses to build on in the Richmond-Talbot block. Market Lane combined with Fanshawe's new campus should be a significant positive addition. If the old Shoppers and Met building can land new tenants people might not even recognize the place. I'll get around to taking pictures when there's a bit more action, but here are a few goodies pulled from Google Streetview to refresh people's memory. There's actually been a good deal of change in the vicinity of Market Lane since Google's drive through in July 2009, but the place is still a dump.
Sep 1, 2012, 4:34 AM
I always though the Market Lane area had great potential and the city planner who agreed to a daycar along it should be shot. It would be a lovely spot for a small laneway-mall with cafes as would the entire market service circular route.
Feb 8, 2013, 4:10 PM
I don't usually read any columns by Ian Gillespie, but this article is worth reading for the details of the new Market Lane Redevelopment.
Gillespie: After spending time with designer, our columnist vows to keep an open mind
By Ian Gillespie, The London Free Press
Thursday, February 7, 2013 9:22:53 EST PM
On this wintry weekday afternoon, it looks bleak — nothing more than a forsaken alley with a handful of bare trees, a long concrete bench, a few concrete stools and something that resembles a fishnet strung with tiny lights suspended overhead.
Today, this Market Lane path between Dundas St. and Covent Garden Market is still a construction site — a construction site that is, according to its designer, about 95% finished.
But today, it doesn’t look much like something that cost the city more than $600,000. And it surely doesn’t look like something that’s going to deliver that undefinable wow factor.
But Joe Fry, the Vancouver-based architect behind this project, preaches patience.
“Why don’t you withhold judgment on that until the (light) canopy is up and running?” he says. “It’s up to you guys what you want to make of this space. The $600,000 (cost) is, I think, immense value for what we’ve got here.”
Though initially skeptical, I have to admit that after spending an hour with Fry, I’m optimistic about this project.
Designed by Fry’s Hapa Collaborative firm, the laneway features a “meander” bench whose curves are designed to echo the ebb and flow of the Thames River, a series of concrete stools lit from below and, by spring, a landscape featuring native plants, four honey locust trees and two linden trees.
But the centrepiece of this space is the overhead canopy; about 1,400 LED bulbs suspended from five steel archways that, in concert with lights mounted on the arches themselves, are designed to produce hundreds of complex designs and patterns.
The patterns will be controlled by a computer housed in the yet-to-be-completed Fanshawe College campus next door.
It sounds fantastic, and I can't wait to go through there when it opens! Really hope that this, along with the new Fanshawe campus, is successful in helping to breath even more life into downtown.
Feb 9, 2013, 3:06 AM
Is this just the lane improvement or are they also improving the entrance to the old Simpson's building?
Are they putting in brickwork instead of standard ugly pavement? What about the bank and the damn daycare........are they gone for good with hopefully some cafes? I see the lights which will be interesting but will have an actual glass roof so the space can be use in the snow/rain?
Feb 23, 2013, 4:31 PM
^Not sure what you mean by the old Simpson's building , but the grey building on the west side is becoming Fanshawe's new downtown campus, and I think the plan is to have a cafe there or something. The Daycare is GONE FOR GOOD, and I don't think the laneway will have a glass roof.
Anyways, here's a little update from yesterday:
Feb 24, 2013, 5:07 AM
Nice pictures, Simps. I've been meaning to get a picture of the LEDs, but haven't gotten around to it. I've seen the canopy lit up and animated a couple times. It was doing the standard fade through the colour spectrum, but also had a neat white shimmer that would travel down the lane.
ssiguy: Do you mean the diagonal entrance with the old red Shopper's Drugmart signage?
Feb 28, 2013, 9:12 PM
Ya, the old entry that was the connection between Simpson's and the old market.
Thank god they got rid of the daycare, what a horrid waste of unique alley space. I hope it has some kind of roof that makes it more friendly for cafes etc for those looking for a reprieve from rain/snow.
Also, whatever happened to the old Shoppper's Drug Mart now that it's moved to Richmond?
Mar 19, 2013, 2:14 PM
Cafe(s)? No room. The garden behind the meandering concrete bench takes up a significant amount of space. Where it juts out, it's maybe 40% of the width of the alley. There might be room for a hot dog cart (or better if City Hall changes the by-laws) but it would have to be shoved up against the windows of the College or at either end of the path.
Apr 13, 2013, 2:28 PM
That's a great Brutalist building. London has a few nice Brutalist. Sorry for off topic.
Apr 15, 2013, 6:20 AM
Thanks for the pic.
I must admit I don't really see any difference except that they put in a couple trees. I thought they were putting in some interesting lighting?
Apr 15, 2013, 3:43 PM
That's an old picture. See the Feb 23 post for a pic of the changes, although it will be a few more weeks before we see the foliage and the lights. They are apparently operational but not yet in use. The lane is still blocked off as the Fanshawe building remains under construction.
Apr 16, 2013, 3:39 AM
Taken a week ago.
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