Showing posts from 2007

Curtain Walls coming to high-end Toronto high-rise condos

The December 1st Saturday Star ran a feature story and lengthy sidebar that I wrote about Curtain Wall windows for high-end Toronto high-rise condos. Both the feature and the sidebar article is available for reading on the Star's website . BUILDING TECHNOLOGY Curtain rising on glass walls High-profile projects are trading concrete walls for massive windows thanks to curtain-wall' technology Dec 01, 2007 04:30 AM Stephen Weir Special to the Star Is the curtain set to come down on the traditional, aluminum-framed condo window? Is a new industrial style about to eliminate condominium owners' two biggest pains in the glass – moisture and mould? Toronto is about to find out as several highrise project designers have decided that ultra-expensive curtain wall glass is the chic way to let light in and keep water out. Windows come in many tints, shapes and sizes but almost all are installed using what builders call a window wall system:

Bob Bateman says his most important painting is a dead dolphin

This article appeared in Diver Magazine. No, I didn't get a by-line. sigh. (And I am the travel editor). Here is the orginal story, it was edited before appearing in the November issue of Diver. Art to inspire people to respect the planet Bateman retrospective takes aim at industrial fishing By Stephen Weir 11 September 2007 World-famous wildlife artist figures that the most important work he has painted isn’t a soaring eagle or a majestic lion, but rather it is a painting that shows a dead albatross and a drowned dolphin caught in a drift net. The canvas, entitled Driftnet, is the showcase work in a new traveling Bateman exhibition that will visit five cities in Canada and the United States over the next year and a half. “ The scene is painted inside a drift net. There is a dead Pacific White-sided dolphin and a dead Lysan Albatross,” explained Robert Bateman at the opening of his exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection near Toronto last month. “ It is a comm

Talking to the Whale Shark keeper - story written for Diver Magazine website

Writing for Diver Magazine's Website I have been helping add content to Diver Magazine's website ( There is a real person power shortage at Diver's headquarters. They are down an employee or two and keeping the website going appears to be a catch as catch can assignment. Most of the material I have written for the site never has been posted. For some reason there is a problem posting photographs on the site. During September I wrote to the Georgia Aquarium and conducted an email interview about two new whale sharks they had been given by an aquarium in Taiwan. The story, picture and interview have been lanquishing in my growing file of not-yet published stories. So, before the factoids raised by the Georgia Aquarium are stale dated, I have decided to run the story and photo on this web page. Whale Sharks and the Aquarium Keeper Early this summer the Georgia Aquarium welcomed two new live whale sharks to their Ocean Voyager exhibit. The whale sharks, both m

Green Roof Story in Saturday Toronto Star

Green roofs take root on city buildings More than 100 in the GTA have adapted the pioneer practice for the eco-conscious present Sep 29, 2007 04:30 AM Stephen Weir Special to the Star The drive to develop environmentally friendly, energy-efficient condominiums has given new meaning to sod-turning ceremonies. More than 100 commercial and condo buildings in the Greater Toronto Area have unveiled "green roofs" – a 21st-century take on the sod-roof homes that were popular in pioneer days. Condominium roofs, patios and decks covered in flowers, shrubbery and slow-growing plants are sprouting up all over, so much so that the International Home Show (running from this Friday until Oct. 8) at the International Centre has set up a Green Home Theatre with four daily seminars on eco-building issues, including the living roof. "Toronto has stepped into an era where the protection of the environment and sustainability are major focuses of our

Underwater city? The future of Toronto's condo industry

Artist's conception of underwater hotel Canadian astronaut sits at a picnic table behind the Ontario Science Centre and talks about water and the future of man. SOMEWHERE ... BEYOND THE LAKE The Toronto Star published a speculative article that I wrote about underwater condos in its 5 kilo Saturday September 8th edition. I am having trouble with my mac posting an automatic link. Until I get that solved, you can use the following to see the article. The Toronto Star edited the story for bad grammer, length and photo selection. Some sections of the story were removed and most of the pictures I supplied were not used. The Star used a file photo and a few pictures from one of the underwater resorts. Below is the orginal story and some of the photographs I took for the piece. The Star version of my story reads better, is tighter and the layout is eye catching, however, you might find it

Somewhere .... Beyond the lake -- the uncut version

THE UNEDITED VERSION OF STEPHEN WEIR'S STORY SOMEWHERE ... BEYOND THE LAKE Dennis Chamberland in a minisub Lloyd Godson wading in the water on Toronto's Ryerson University campus - photo by sweir Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to me Wet Bars are a given in condo of the future By Stephen Weir Three decades from now the most sought-after view in the city of Toronto may well be the wreck of the Sligo. Seen through the pressurized window of an underwater condo, the stark wooden ribs of the 19th century schooner reach upwards towards the surface of Lake Ontario. To highlight the historic remains, the condo association could place lights around the bones of the Sligo so that at night residents can watch freshwater salmon schooling around this underwater landmark. The Sligo is one of three visually dramatic shipwrecks that rest on the bottom of Lake Ontario, close to Toronto’s shoreline. Now only visited by scuba divers, breakthroughs in both building and air cleansing technolog

Somewhere .... Beyond the lake -- Sidebar written for Star but not used

Artist's conception of Ventbase Alpha - Ken Brown Mondolithic Side Bar # 2 The pressures of living in a futuristic condo Living underwater, under pressure, can hurt. According to Phil Nuyyten, the owner of Vancouver based Nuytco Research Ltd. (and the publisher of Diver Magazine) the secret to living below the surface is to make sure that the air pressure inside a sunken condo is always at “one atmosphere”, the same ambient air pressure that you experience standing on land in Toronto. “ We can’t go mountain climbing without clothes and we can't go in the ocean without breathable air. We – mankind – are designed to live in a primordial swamp and we can’t stray too far from that narrow band, be it up or down,” explained Phil Nuytten. “ If the human body is breathing air and exposed to pressures beyond one atmosphere there are major physiological changes in the body. For example at depth pressure forces nitrogen out of your blood stream and saturates the body’s tissues.” Before

Who owns the lake bottom?

Artist conception of Dennis Chamberland's underwater habitat "Lions at the Gate" SIDEBAR OF STORY SIDEBAR WHICH APPEARED IN THE SATURDAY STAR BUT IS NOT ON THE PAPER'S WEBSITE. THIS IS AN UNEDITED VERSION OF THE PIECE BOTTOMS UP ON LAKE ONTARIO OWNERSHIP By Stephen Weir The layer of scum and muck that covers the bottom of Toronto’s harbour is thick, but, not as deep as the red tape a builder would have to wade through to construct an underwater condominium. Who owns the lakebed? Who controls the water and who would issue building permits are three important questions that don’t have definitive answers. “By and large the city ends at the waterfront,” said Gary Wright, the city of Toronto’s Director of Community Planning. “ There are a few cases, notably in Etobicoke where landowners have Riparian land rights (land owner is entitled to use the water on or bordering his property), but we wouldn’t be in a position to issue building permits.” Even though the city does

Arizona Dreaming kick-starts the Canadian West Coast Aluminum House Boating Industry

Two years ago I wrote two stories about houseboating in Arizona. One of the stories was travel related and ran in the Toronto Sun and a few other Sun Media papers. Another story, about the business of building House Boats, ran in Boating Industry Canada. that story has now been posted on Boating Industry Canada's website.

Italian boaters want to float product in Canadian market

Boating Business ran a business feature in July 2007. The story was difficult to write because the people that I wanted to talk to were a continent away. The story began at a press conference at the Toronto Boat Show in February. It was a well attended conference since they were serving Italian wine and cheese. I got there after both were gone ... and most of the people I wanted to interview. In May I visited Italy and saw a number of Italian boat yards, came back to Canada and with the help of Kim Graham and associates, got in touch, via email and phone, with the people who makes things float in Italy. Boating Business has not posted the story. They did edit some of what I wrote, so, what follows is slightly different from what you will see if you buy a copy of the magazine (available at leading bookstores in Canada). As well, this Blog doesn't lend itself to magazine style layout for pictures and graphic images. Italian Trade Commission Romin’ Canada to increase business an

Condo models suite/sweet on new buyers by stephen weir

My most recent article appeared in the Toronto Star last Saturday. The story was about how condo developers depend on scale models of their proposed buildings to motivate buyers. The story talks about how most new condo owners purchase their units after seeing a model for only a few minutes and then wait years for the building to actually be built.