When is a square not a square? The answer can be found on the northwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton in North Toronto. For decades, it has been the location of a small plaza that few use and even fewer like. Despite fierce opposition from some locals, North York Community Council on Tuesday approved a proposal that would see the open space built over and turned into a glass-fronted shopping pavilion.
Both proposals are wrong, of course; the answer is to redesign the space and make it a real square, not just a vague and unworkable gesture to the public realm. (Even better would be to tear down the whole Canada Square complex and start again.)
Every so often, the plaza is pressed into service as a beer tent or some such ignominy, but mostly it sits empty, unnoticed and unloved. Since it offers little to do and few places to sit, that’s not surprising. And so a space that could be the vibrant heart of family-oriented North Toronto has been a dead zone from the start.