King and John BIA wants a new “urban ballroom” and “cultural corridor” in downtown Toronto

King and John BIA wants a new “urban ballroom” and “cultural corridor” in downtown Toronto

The southeast corner of King and John has been targeted by the local BIA for improvement. Specifically, the neighbourhood group wants to make John Street Square into something more like a hipstery hangout and less like where lonely men go for late-night rendezvous. The Entertainment District BIA held a competition, and the winner, pictured above, was announced this morning.

Christopher Hume of the Toronto Star got the deets early:

Despite its simplicity, his entry might be just what’s needed to bring life to this neglected corner. The most interesting thing on site these days is the hot dog vendor, which tells you much about the state of a corner that has become much more visible since the Toronto International Film Festival Bell Lightbox opened just across the road last year.

Coryn Kempster’s ballroom is defined by a “ceiling” of lights and cables. Suspended on steel poles, they are surrounded by rows of trees on all four sides. Beneath is an assortment of large stone spheres that function as seats.

The contrast between the understated simplicity of the Urban Ballroom concept and the garish desperation of some other BIA-funded concepts is pretty stark. The BIA has much bigger plans for its plot of downtown Toronto—its master plan includes narrowing the roadway on John to create a “cultural corridor” that will be “outfitted to easily close to vehicular traffic for special events and festivals,” neither of which sounds like it will be up Mayor Rob Ford’s alley.

Hume is (shocker!) pessimistic about Ford’s enthusiasm for the project, but our impression has been that Ford doesn’t particularly care what happens in the downtown core, so long as it doesn’t impede car traffic too much. Who knows—maybe the “I trust local groups” Ford will win out over “I love cars” Ford.

• Hume: An ‘Urban Ballroom’ at King and John? [Toronto Star]
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(Images: submitted renderings)