Saturday, 24 March 2012

Top Cop Gets Award At Diversity Conference

Toronto Sun Photograph by Stephen Weir

Left to Right: 
 Diversity Business Network's Coutney Betty, Head of Diversity  London Olympics Stephen Frost, and Chief Bill Blair holding his Diversity Award 

 Yesterday I posted pictures and a press release about the Diversity Business Network on my press release webpage.   The posting concerned a new Diversity Award that was presented to Toronto's chief of police.
The Diversity Business Network (who I help out) recognized Toronto Police Chief William Blair as the 2012 Canadian Diversity Leadership Award winner at a Diversity conference in Toronto  on Friday. The award recognizes an individual or organization who is a ‘Champion’ for diversity and has also achieved success in implementation of diversity strategies to achieve organizational goals.
The Toronto Sun picked up my photo from the conference and ran it in Saturday's edition (March 24) - so I have moved that photograph over to my blog about stories and photos that have been published.   You can read the Award release and see more photographs at:

Friday, 16 March 2012

Huffington Post Photo/Story - Maggs speaks at Scotiabank

 86-year Old Arnaud Maggs in the running for Canada's largest photography award

Three photographers from across Canada have made the shortlist for the 2012 Scotiabank Photography Award. The finalists, Toronto's Arnaud Maggs, Vancouver-based Fred Herzog and Alain Paiement of Montreal, were chosen from 12 names submitted by a panel of artists, experts, curators and critics.

Maggs at the Scotiabank Photography Award - Andrew Weir
The announcement, held at Scotiabank headquarters, was attended by the media and members of the arts community (pictured below).  In the auidence was 86-year old photographer Arnaud Maggs (pictured), who was named to the Prize's shortlist. After hearing his name announced the photographer came to the front of the executive boardroom and expressed his gratitude for being so honoured (pictured).
Internationally acclaimed photographer Arnaud Maggs is best known for detailed, grid-like portrait studies that betray a stark intimacy. His work is found in many collections across Canada. He has won such prizes as the Gershon Iskowitz Prize and the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award. Born in Montreal in 1926, Maggs currently makes his home in Toronto.
SPA press conference - Andrew Weir
The Scotiabank Photography Award (SPA) is the most generous photographic arts prize in Canada, exceeding $100,000 in value to a single winner. Designed to raise the profile of Canadian photographic arts worldwide, finalists are drawn from photographers nominated by peers (gallery owners, curators, artists, critics) across Canada.

The SPA winner will be announced May 9th at a Gala Awards dinner in downtown Toronto. The SPA consists of a $50,000 cash prize, an art exhibition and a German printed  photography book of the winning photographer's images.  This book will be distributed internationally.  

The SPA was conceived and developed by Ed Burtynsky, one of Canada's most respected photographers and Jane Nokes, Director of the Fine Art Collection and Corporate Archives at Scotiabank Group.  Mr. Burtynsky serves as Chair of the SPA and Jane Nokes is the Award's Executive Director.  Both serve on the Board of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the largest photography festival in the world.

Maggs at the short listed presser - Scotia Photography Award - Andrew Weir
This year's SPA winner will be announced May 9, 2012.  For more information please visit:

Thursday, 1 March 2012

L-Tower. Penthouse View is Out and Up. North Star and Yonge Street

Rendering of Toronto's L-Tower

This is one glass ceiling you won’t want to break through

L-Tower penthouse suite at Yonge and Front lets you look out and up out of the same  big window

By Stephen Weir

There are now eight luxurious penthouse units for sale at the L-Tower project in downtown Toronto.  When built, these two-level skyboxes will be at the top of a 58-storey all-window condo building, where their mass is all glass!
“ The problem with all-glass buildings is that they all begin to look the same, unless you are willing to make a bold move,” said Sam Crignano, partner in Cityzen Development.  “Architect Daniel Libeskin has done just that  … no more so than with the 57/58 floor penthouse suites!”
Backstreet view of Libeskind L-Tower construction site. Downtown Toronto.
The penthouse suites will have 2-storey tall, all-glass windows.  For the units facing north up Yonge Street, the glass actually angles in a curve over the two floors giving residents not only vertical views outward, but also upwards to the sky!
Famed US architect Daniel Libeskind designed the modernized Royal Ontario Museum, the new World Trade Centre at Ground Zero in New York, and the Crystals at CityCentre in Las Vegas Nevada.  Now he has designed the L Tower, a 58-storey 600-unit condo tower that is being built onto the side of the 50-year old Sony Centre at the southeast corner of Yonge and Front Streets.
North facing penthouse condos can see up and out!
Libeskind’s L Tower is shaped like a glass canoe that has been stood upon its stern.  The north side -- facing up Yonge Street -- will have a noticeable hull-like bulge near the bow of the building.  There is a huge wow in the front of the building -- the glass slopes out and then back in  towards the top of the building -- it is here that the windows become, for a few metres, both the wall and the ceiling of these top drawer suites.
The building is reportedly 88% sold. As of the new year, all of the $1.6 million to $3.2 million penthouses are still available.  The suites range in size from 1,068 to 2,400 square feet. These are two-storey living spaces with high ceilings up to 14 ft tall.
“ These are being built loft style, with all the amenities (top-of-the-line Miele appliances, a wine cellar, super-sized closets, steam shower, heated marble floor) including an elevator in each unit!” explained Crignano.  “You can actually put a glass elevator in the suite near the outside window. Not totally sure of the design of each penthouse because some people might want to buy two units, put them together and get both a North and South view.”
A building where penthouse dwellers can see up Yonge, and up at the North Star out of the same window hasn’t been done before in Canada.  By placing a large multi-floor bulge in the north wall of L Tower, Cityzen and its partners Fernbrook Homes and Dominus Construction Group have literally been forced to think outside of the glass box.
Take the curved curtain-wall windows.  The 10 ft tall slabs of glass are heavier and more durable than standard condo windows, and are currently being custom made in northeastern China.   They will soon be transported by ship to BC and trucked to Toronto to meet the completion date of Fall 2012.
All of the windows, be they straight or curved, will be self -supporting and attached directly to the structure of the building.  Even though some of the windows will curve, owners will still be able to have blinds installed to keep out the prying eyes of those low flying Porter planes.
Clean windows are essential for an all glass penthouse, but how do you clean a wall of glass that has a multi-floor undulation?
The L-Tower’s big bulge creates a challenge for window washing.
At the L-Tower you won’t be able to just give a worker a bucket and a squeegee and lower him down from the roof, the way traditional box towers do.   On the North wall a wash platform would bang into the bulge.
Anchor Engineering System, a Toronto firm, is designing a telescoping platform that will be able to push itself away from the building to clear the multi-floor bulge.
“ There will be a large slot in the mechanics area above the penthouses, some 630 feet above street level (63rd floor)” explained Anthony Pignetti, the director of high-rise construction with the Dominus Construction Group. “ Inside will be a troll3y crane that will run up and down the sides of the building with a boom, and telescope-like arms.”  It can also be used to effect repairs if windows need to repaired or replaced.
So unique will this cleaning system be that owners of the new penthouse should consider holding washing parties as the Canada-Arm-like device cleans their up and out windows!


  • L Tower’s suites range from one-bedrooms starting at 540 square feet through one plus dens starting at 675 square feet through 825-square-foot two-bedroom units and two-bedroom plus den suites starting at about 1,100 square feet.
  • Prices average about $600 a square foot on this $280 million project
  • 58 stories and 600 suites
  • Built concurrently with a renovation and refurbishment of the 50-year-old Sony Centre declared a Heritage Site in July 2007
  • The building is 88% sold.
  • As of the new year, all of the $1.6 million to $3.2 million penthouses are still available.  The suites range in size from 1,068 to 2,400 square feet. These are two-storey living spaces with high ceilings up to 14 ft tall. 


Tower – Artist’s take on the new L-Tower.  The penthouse suites n the 57 & 58th floors are not actually at the very top of the all-glass structure.  There will be several mechanical related floors above the penthouses.
How to look up and out – Drawing by Andrew Weir shows how penthouse owners can look out and up their windows.