Let's go outside: benches for eating establishments front sidewalks

11-03-2010 1-45-04 PM

This image taken in a community very similar to the Junction in New York City Has two basic items for community social activity – the benches outside the cafe and it’s “A” sign. Hopefully you can ignore the garbage can planters …although it’s something you could see in the Junction.

One invites you have a look what dishes on offer, without having to stare at a menu taped to a window and in the action be sating at the restaurants sitting patrons. The benches provide a great place to sit and partake of the food that the restaurant in a sort of take – stay around mode, where one can have conversations with passers by.

In the Junction this author gets a real feeling of movement created by the exterior design choices of the various businesses and the building owners, it is very difficult to find a place to just slow down along the Junction strip.


There are a couple of examples around the Junction – Buddha Pie has a bench out front, and so does Amato on Dundas West.
Mostly though, they provide seating for people who are taking out, waiting for thier 'za to bake.
I don't think bench seating would work for restaurants though.

Rumour has it the BIA has almost picked their new benches and we should see some on Dundas by June, I can’t wait!

I like the garbage can planters but I have a feeling the stock city of Toronto bins would not have the same visual effect.

Yes the Buddha Pie one is great, I thought about using a local image but didn't want to single anyone out.

I never like the don't install any benches because you never know who might sit on them argument. It shouldn't stop us from developing a place for the community to meet, sit and enjoy a day.

I'm sure sometimes they will be occupied by "local degenerates" but at other times they will be people like me reading a paper and enjoying a coffee.

Martin, man…. you live in a bubble.

The bench outside T&T (or T&K?) Variety is where people wait for their dealer to come out of the co-op across the street, or from the by the day hotel down Dundas. Wake up… stop imaging this perfect neighbourhood that is devoid of crime and criminality. Benches are great, I agree, when I can sit on them. But when they're constantly used by “local degenerates” then theres no point in installing them.

Sometimes you Junction idealists make me insane.

Martin, i'll be watching for you to be sitting on a bench, reading your paper and enjoying a coffee. Seriously…. i'll even introduce myself to you the day I see you getting the opportunity to enjoy one.

Sounds like a plan Theirry,

I for one don't plan on allowing anyone to stop me from enjoying my neighbourhood, when the weather worms up I will starting sitting at the "train station" in the early morning just like I did last summer..

I do agree that the area around Keele and Dundas is still pretty sketchy though. Hopefully the influx of 1000 people in the new condo will clean things up a bit.

"I for one don’t plan on allowing anyone to stop me from enjoying my neighbourhood, when the weather worms up I will starting sitting at the “train station” in the early morning just like I did last summer.."

Enjoy it while it lasts Martin. I've heard there's a development on the way and that this is the last year they'll be a skating rink in that (at this time) empty lot.

As for the sketchy element, every neighbourhood has it. I just find it puzzling that with such a strong community group in the Junction with regards to organizing the Junction Fest, Earth Hour walks, History walks, Poetry readings etc, etc… that the community can't come together to clean up the area east of Keele. Everyone who lives here know it exists, from people riding bikes selling drugs, to people inebriated @ 11am in the morning near the crosswalk parkette (name escapes me).

If half as much energy went into liaising with 11 Division to clean up the problem as does trying to turn this neighbourhood into an west-end artist's hub, maybe we'd see some actual changes.

(Also, the condo is part co-op, don't get your hopes up too much.)

I used to own a cafe on Queen Street and we had a bench out front. Nothing sucked more then trying to reason with a drugged out idiot who decided they were tired and wanted to sit there.
You can't physically move them, you can't get the cops to move them, so eventually we got rid of it.
Nothing kills a buisness then a smelly guy hanging outside the door. But of course that would never happen in The Junction would it?

Thierry – yup, I agree. I have seen it all east of Keele. Deals going down, a young prostitute being abused by her pimp or trick…not sure. If I knew how to help clean up the area – I would. Mixed income is good, but crack dealers? Not good.Not even close to good. That "hotel" is full of scary, dangerous ex-cons.

That said – I like elements of the neighbourhood as well…..

Wow, I seem to be out of it at times, I didn't even think about this happening, I can see how it could become a problem.
I should have remembered this just over a decade ago I had to design some seating for a public building and they asked for mid-point bumps to prevents lay downs.

Junction Fest ..no Junction Arts Fest …yes I just got told today their is not enough art in the festival

The condo won't be part co-op. Technically, the developer is a cooperative formed by the purchasers (and Options for Homes is the "consultant"). Once the buildings are complete, they'll be registered as a regular condominium corporation, and the cooperative will be dissolved. Given that Options for Homes buildings are 96% owner-occupied, and purchasers need to have good credit (regardless of how much assistance they receive in the form of alternative mortgages), I think that the condo will be a great boon to the area. (Yes, I'm a purchaser.)

It would be awesome if Saundercook or any of the other local politicians got into conversation with people like the owners of that hotel and Convict err Concourse resto. I feel bad talking about it on here because we're only well wishing and saying "why doesnt somebody". I'm guilty of that train of thought too… wanting somebody to clean up the issue.

One thing positive is that the urban clothing store, nigerian resto and the two rentals above it all seem to be vacated.

Speaking of the Concourse " Restaurant" the work the city did on the building (was it the city?) was lonely, but it seems sad to put that much work into a building where really sketchy people hang out and smoke in front of all night and intimidate passersby! Who owns that place? The chief of police? Why are they allowed to have their way with the street?

Sorry for the rant, a little out of context…..

Two of the worst businesses in the area… Concourse and Galaxy Donuts. Nil to zero patrons… Only a matter of time before they'll both close down….we hope

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