East Barracks uncovered

Archeological dig, East Barracks of New Fort York (Stanley Barracks)

An archaeological dig across from the National Trade Centre at Exhibition Place is uncovering the foundations of the East Barracks, part of the New Fort that replaced Old Fort York in the 1840s. The only one of the original buildings that survives intact is the officers’ quarters, commonly referred to as Stanley Barracks (which was actually the name of the whole facility). The site supervisor told me that they dug exploratory trenches about four years ago and discovered that the old foundation was still mostly intact, stretching a couple of hundred feet under the parking lot. The dig is in front of the site of the new hotel that has exclusive rights inside Exhibition Place. The developer is planning to cover the majority of the remaining foundation with glass and use it as a feature in the entrance.

A short image gallery is after the jump.

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An “integrated resort” at Exhibition Place

So some councillors and lobbyists are talking casino again, with Exhibition Place as the preferred site. Except that they’ve adopted the grand euphemism of “integrated resort“:

Alan Feldman, senior vice-president of public affairs with MGM, said it could potentially invest $3- to $5-billion on an “integrated resort” in Toronto, which could include about 200,000-square-feet of casino space, 1,000 to 2,000 hotel rooms, 100,000-square-feet of restaurant space, plus entertainment venues.

[emphasis mine]

Sounds grand, but you can scratch Exhibition Place off the list of possible sites; politicians should check on their existing obligations before they go around trying to make new ones. Did you know that there’s already a hotel starting construction soon at Exhibition Place? It was approved in 2009. You may remember the mini-scandal about the contract.

According to my reading of the Letter Agreement between the City and HKHotels back in 2009, HKHotels gets a 49-year lease (plus two 25-year extensions) that gives them:

[…]the exclusive right to operate a hotel:
during the period commencing from the execution of the Lease and ending on the date which is fifteen (15) years after the Rent Commencement Date, within the whole of Exhibition Place; and
during the remainder of the Initial Term, within the portion of Exhibition Place which is located to the east of Ontario Drive.

[“Exclusivity,” page 9 of the PDF]

So no additional hotels (AKA “integrated resorts”) anywhere at Exhibition Place for 15 years, and no additional hotels east of Ontario Drive (between the Better Living Centre and BMO Field) for 34 years after that. An “integrated resort” built 15 years from now would have to destroy buildings or greenspace on the western half of Exhibition Place, and that would probably be even less popular than just tearing up a parking lot.

Ned Hanlan on the move

Ned Hanlan on the move

The Ned Hanlan, the tugboat beside Stanley Barracks at Exhibition Place, has been pulled out of its dry berth and will soon be moved, appropriately enough, to a new display at Hanlan’s Point. The middle of a parking lot at Exhibition Place may seem like an odd place for a tugboat, but it actually used to make sense: Stanley Barracks was home to Toronto’s Marine Museum until it was moved to Harbourfront in 2000 and then promply shut down as a cost-saving measure.

Ned Hanlan on the move