Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fantasy List For Canada

Over at the Urban Toronto Forum, there was a post that went up, asking for megaproject ideas for Canada - "Wackiness Encouraged". Here was my favourite:

1-Coast-to-coast maglev high-speed rail.

Right from St. John's to Vancouver (
7,821 km, or, 4,860 miles) at, say, (483 kmh or 300 mph.) Coast to coast in just over 16 hours.

Toronto to Niagara Falls (130 km or 81 miles) - 1/2 hour.
Toronto to Ottawa - (353 km or 220 miles) - 3/4 hour
Toronto to Montreal - (504 km or 313 miles) - 1-1/4 hour
Toronto to Vancouver - (3354 km or 2084 miles) 7 hours.

Union would be Toronto's main stop, brought in through a deep tunnel that would contain more than enough room for extra layers of rail traffic and transit of all types. The new TGV station would replace the Toronto Convention Centre's north building, with the replacement convention centre space placed underneath it. The Bremner street entrance could become the defacto entrance for the entire convention centre.
The line would continue back out of the city, in a tunnel with a stop at Pearson. Another tunneled high speed line would leave Union, surfacing near Pearson, and curving through the countryside to the U.S. Border at Niagara Falls / Buffalo. The line coming into Union could be combined with:

2-The burial of the Gardiner expressway, and removal of all rail lines and highways from Toronto's ravines.
(Scenic wandering lanes and the odd trolley allowed).
Mammoth, deeply-laid tunnels under the suburbs instead - with multiple levels and compartments, containing both heavy and passenger rail, subway, automotive and utility uses. At the same time, this would be accompanied by the general picturesque and soothing narrowing of downtown streets with accompanying widening of sidewalks and full tree cover. It sounds kind of tame, as far as megaprojects go, but it would be...pretty complicated.

3-The complete conversion of the country's electrical needs to solar production
...making us independent of any need for nuclear, gas, oil, coal or hydroelectric sources.

4 -A working fusion reactor. Just in case that solar bit takes awhile.

If neither of the above work, a giant battery that can absorb and store the power of lightning strikes would be nice.

5 - A "'Manhatta" project that would link up major scientists from all over the world to find the natural and renewable counterparts to all the components of distilled oil now used in every application - from fertilizer, to transport, to medicine, to electronics. Canada's agricultural interests could be shifted to suit, making us shortly oil independent - and help us also be well off by exporting the encycopedic knowlege gained.

6 -A spaceport for Toronto. A Canadian moonbase and hotel, too, eh?

7 - Enormous year-round indoor summer parks for Canadian cities. Each of these parks would be, say, three to five miles across, and tremendously high inside. High and huge enough, in fact, that the structure would practically disappear. Buckminster Fuller's domes still might be the best way to do this. With artificial full sunlight and deep heating mimicking the summer in the depths of winter, these parks would help relieve seasonal affective disorder. Their size would guarantee return visits, as it would take years to "see it all".
If this size is prohibitive for most cities, they could have smaller ones. That, or we could entreat Cuba to join Canada. Or build a giant touristy one of near-ungraspable dimensions in high-north Nunavut. See: fusion reactor.

8 - A varied and thriving canadian electric car industry. For trucks, transit and other conveyances, too. Oh, and make 'em glamorous.

9 - Not so much a mega-structure as a mega-law: Invisible, ongoing boundary walling of cities, towns and hamlets in Canada. Draw a line or circle around each settlement, however big or small. Once it fills up, it only goes up from there. Not out. Quickly, there would be no sprawl. None.
In the city and need to get out? Cross the street!
10 - A Huge (truly) Central Park For Toronto - The bulldozing and resettlement of entire inner suburbs ( redone in stunningly advanced and gorgeous edge housing) to develop an immense central park for the city of Toronto. Density transfers from the amount of land recovered would encourage an urban edge to the park with a strong emphasis on streetlife - theatres, clubs, and variegated delights that address the park.

11 -Re-widen the St. Lawrence Seaway. This will encourage lake transit, and allow ocean-bound cruise ships to dock at Chicago and Toronto. On the quite fanciful side, A cross-country canal, along the U.S border. From the Great Lakes to where the Fraser meets the Pacific. Make it big enough for shipping, leisure craft, and the occasional flotilla of houseboats. Ship the dirt back to Toronto and create some worthy hills around it from the northeast to the northwest.

Side projects:
-A huge Canadian scientific effort to cure all deadly viruses, bacteria and cancers. Starting with AIDS.
-Find a disease-resistant elm, and bring that beautiful tree back.
-Free University for anybody who makes the grade.
-An urban cathedral that will take a two hundred to thousand years to build by hand.
-A 2000 foot high cubist-honeycombed semi-hollow artists co-operative. A baffling and beautiful superstructure strung together with bridges, beams and atriums, it would be a vertical community free to any working artist with an established portfolio and yearly output. Non-established artists could secure living space via an intake program. All ceilings would be a minimum of twenty feet high, and the bare concrete studio rooms - at least thirty feet square each, would all have sufficient ventilation, soundproofing, and light. Special zones would be set aside inside the structure for speciality trades like heavy industry experimentation, noise works, the chemical and biological arts and transport play.

-The hiring and dedicated application of thousands of artists from all over the world to beautify Toronto - working in tandem with scientists, shamans, energy healers, housewives and ecologists and nerds.

At least four times the subway lines we have in Toronto. With express lanes, ring routes, etc., etc. Blah, blah & so on.

-A greenbelt and canal around Toronto's city core to act as both an animal expressway and habitat - plus a picturesque place for scenic boatrides.

- Hierachalist/ oppressive conservative governments out of power, egalitarian / liberating ones in. Steady banks and dancing streets. One citizen, one vote. Peace, Joy and exploration.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June Update

Here are some pics of paintings under construction in the studio. A lot of tight dark work is gettting flooded with washes of fairly bright white. Odd.

It's four months to the show, so, this is the time when all the concentration starts narrowing in. The year of forward thinking, background thinking and planning and dithering that proceeeds it really starts to come forth and show itself.