I had the opportunity today to get a guided tour of the TTC's Leslie Barns. This is a brand new facility at Leslie and East Lake Shore that is designed to allow the TTC to store and do maintenance on the new low floor streetcars. Since the Bombardier order is many, many months behind (the TTC now has 28 of these streetcars when they were originally supposed to have about 100 by the end of 2016!), they are using the facility to do maintenance on the other, much older streetcars, many of which are 30 years or older and are essentially past their shelf-life. It's easy to knock the TTC, and I frequently do it myself, but they are really working hard to keep these older cars in service, and they have built a state-of-the-art facility that should keep the low floor streetcars in good repair whenever they finally get them from Bombardier.
For folks in Leslieville, the good news is that the construction that had torn up Leslie (twice!) and impacted Queen St. is over. The bike path along Leslie will be officially opened by Christmas (not that that stopped cyclists from using it anyway -- I actually used part of it on my way to Luminato last summer). The Leslie Barns still will suffer through a bit of growing pains (and it is somewhat difficult to picture the impact on the area when all 200 low floor streetcars are actually delivered, though not all of them will be stored at Leslie Barns when not in service), but it is a pretty neat facility.
Here are a couple of shots of the maintenance shop floor.
Here is the green roof (one of the largest in all of Toronto) and a view of downtown. Naturally, the green roof will be considerably greener come spring.
After the tour, I had one last item that had to go out by the end of the day. Where else would I find free wifi but at the Starbucks at the corner of Leslie and Lake Shore? It turned out that a lot of folks from the neighbourhood had the same idea, and essentially every table was taken up with at least one and often two people working on laptops. The wifi was actually kind of iffy. I did manage to get the report out, but then my connection was lost, and I had to deal with a handful of email follow-ups using my phone. (I got dragged kicking and screaming into having a work phone synced up with my work email, and now I am just as addicted as everyone else, but I have to admit it has come in handy on a few occasions.) We are actually putting together some material on what we call the gig economy scenario: a future where everyone is scrambling to piece together work and full-time employment is a forgotten memory. I think we'll end up using a couple of these shots I took as I was wrapping up my own work.