CB2 Arrives in Canada

Last night I attended the opening of the new CB2 store on Queen Street west. Housed in the newly rehabbed building at the corner of Queen and Bathurst streets, the store is a bright space filled with furnishings that will surely be popular with Toronto’s condo and loft dwelling residents.

The original building at the corner of Queen and Bathurst Streets

The building now housing CB2 was first built in 1878, and originally housed a Masonic temple on the upper floors. Seventy years later the mansard roof was removed and it became the Holiday Tavern. In the 1990’s the building became known as the Big Bop – a live music venue that saw the likes of Billy Talent and Alexisonfire play its stages before they ‘made it’ and moved on to larger venues. While the Big Bop was famous in Toronto as a music venue, it was infamous for its garish purple exterior.

The Big Bop’s purple exterior (image source: Citytv.com)

When it was originally announced that CB2 was moving into the location there was some fear that the introduction of the American chain would dramatically alter the vibe of Queen west. While the area has changed in the past couple of years (not only due to CB2 – the recent additions of Loblaws, Joe Fresh and Winners have also played a large part), when the big white tarp that had been hiding the building from view during renovation came down last week I don’t think anyone in this city could fault the restoration that was done.

The new home of CB2 in Toronto (image source: Torontoist.com)

The opening night party was a crush of people enjoying the new space and, if they are anything like me, coveting the furnishings and accessories that until now were only available to Canadians by crossing the border or shopping online. Here are a few of the items that caught my eye.

CB2 – Idle/Go clock – $149

If I needed a new pendant I’d have a hard time choosing between these:

Upcycle ($249) and Victory ($179) Pendant Lights

Love this – but where could I put it?

Ostriches Print – $299

Versus Galvanized trunk – $179

I think perhaps this lamp will eventually end up in my living room:

Twine Floor lamp ($229) and Parlour Atomic Orange Chair ($799) and Ottoman ($449)

Love these acrylic shelves. I think they’d be neat in a bathroom or kitchen:

Format Acrylic shelves – Cube $30 – Shelf $80

Love both of these displays. I prefer the look of the gold, but my wallet would prefer the glass ones:

Whirly hanging candleholder – $5ea., Ous hanging candleholder – $100ea.

4-some bud vase – $10, 3-ring vase – $20

It was nice to see this:

Toronto history preserved – the Old Big Bop sign

I’ll be returning in the next few weeks to purchase some (or maybe all) of these:

Labra Holds 5 candleholder – $25, Coup Clover pillow – $35, Tread bowl – $35

For those of you in or near Toronto, CB2 is giving away a shopping card worth $500 every day until February 29th to celebrate the opening of their first international store so there’s even more incentive to come check out the store.

It’s My 1st Blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary to me! (image via thecupcakeblog.com)

Today is my first blogiversary. It’s hard to believe that one year ago today I decided to share with you my little corner of the world. I’d like to thank each and every one of you who take a minute or so out of your busy days to read my ramblings and offer feedback on the things I work on – I can’t tell you how much it means to me! Without you I can’t be sure this blog would have made it to this milestone.

I’m excited to get started on my 2nd year of sharing my little projects with you, but before I start I thought I’d go over a few of the numbers from my inaugural year.

1st post – January 10, 2011 – The Beginning (What an original title!)

1st comment – January 26th,2011 (Thanks Dad!)

1st International subscriber – April 7th, 2011 (From Texas, USA)

1 – Number of computers that died in pursuit of this blog

25th Post – May 3, 2011

38 – Most comments on one post: DIY – Dollarstore White Lion Bookends

50th Post – November 2, 2011

63 – Number of blog posts (including this one)

100th comment – October 10, 2011

268 – The number of pictures I’ve uploaded

673 – Number of views my blog had on its busiest day – December 27, 2011

2859 – Number of views (to date) of my most popular post: DIY – Dollarstore White Lion Bookends

23,753 – The total number of views my blog had at 12am today.

The first project of year two is well under way (and giving me fits – as per normal), but I hope to be able to tell you about it before the end of the week – wish me luck!

Progress, and a Little Canadian Retail History

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally managed to finish stripping my Craigslist dresser. It’s funny, when you watch those decorating shows on TV, they always make this type of thing look so easy. Let me tell you, it’s not. And the smell – Wowzers – it’s a good thing I invested in a respirator. On a positive note, I emerged from this experience relatively unscathed – I only suffered one chemical burn, and it was a small one ;)

Anyways, I thought I’ve give you a quick peek at where I am on this project.

Stripped Dresser

Stripped Drawers

(You can take a peek at what I started with here). Next up will be sanding, and at some point I have to figure out how to fix the missing veneer.

Simpson’s Logo

Anyways, while working on the dresser, I spotted something that indicated where it came from originally. This mark is a little hard to read, but it says Simpson’s which was a department store here in Canada that is no longer in business.

Simpson’s was started in Newmarket, ON by Robert Simpson in 1858. It thrived until 1870 when a fire completely destroyed the building.  Robert Simpson restarted his store in Toronto in 1872 as the city was rapidly increasing in size. The original Toronto store was on Yonge street, just north of Queen.

By the 1890’s, Simpson’s had over 200 employees and in late 1894 they moved to a new store on the south-west corned of Yonge and Queen Streets. Three months later the Simpson’s store was again destroyed by fire. Undeterred, Robert Simpson reopened his store 6 days later in a rented building. He proceeded to rebuild on the same corner, and the bigger and better building was completed just 10 months later. It’s still standing today.

The Corner of Yonge and Queen St (source:city-of-toronto.blogspot.com)

Simpson’s underwent many changes over the years, expanding across Canada, partnering with Sears, and then in 1978 being purchased by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The two companies brands operated separately across Canada until 1991, when the Simpson’s locations were closed or re-branded as Bay stores. The last Simpson’s store to be converted to a Bay store was the original on the corner of Yonge and Queen Streets. (More info can be found here)

On a side note – does anyone remember a 80’s children’s TV show called ‘Today’s Special’? Well, it was partially filmed inside the Simpson’s building.

Today’s Special

I loved that show growing up – and for nostalgia’s sake, here’s a video ;)

linked to: Savvy southern style, DIY by design, Mod Vintage Life, The Shabby Nest

Visiting Fallingwater, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece

Last weekend, my boyfriend D and I embarked at what we called our ‘Epic East coast road trip’. Little did we know how that a small storm by the name of Irene would change our plans. Our original plan was to spend a day in Philadelphia, PA, two days in Virginia Beach, VA, one day in Washington, DC and one in Pittsburgh,PA before heading for home. Obviously given the storm’s path our jaunt to the beach was out, so we ended up spending an extra day each in Philadelphia and Washington.

By the time we made it to Pittsburgh, we didn’t quite feel like wandering around another city, especially since it didn’t have the same famous history as our other two stops. Luckily I had discovered in my searches for things to see on our trip that Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic masterpiece is only about 1.5hrs from Pittsburgh, and completely worth the trip.

The cantilevered structure of Fallingwater

Fallingwater was built by the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh (owners of Kaufmann’s department store) in 1937 as a weekend retreat. The main house has 4 bedrooms – one for the Mr, one for the Mrs, one for their son, and one for a guest. The guest cottage which was completed two years later, has one guest room, and also the servant quarters.

The living room at Fallingwater. The furniture was also mostly designed by Wright.

Fallingwater was built by local laborers, and almost immediately upon its completion was hailed as a masterpiece. Time Magazine put the home on the cover of its magazine, and in their Jan 17, 1938 issue called it Wright’s ‘most beautiful work’. More recently it’s made Smithsonian Magazine’s Life list: ’43 places to see before you die’. (As an aside, I’ve seen 7 of the places  on the list – 6 in the past 8 years).

These corner windows open outward for an unobstructed view

Fallingwater is built over the waterfall on Bear Run stream, and mimics the land on which it sits. The building consists of concrete cantilevers that appear to be almost natural extensions of the landscape that surrounds the falls and the building. Wright’s use of cantilevers meant that floor and ceiling were independently supported and didn’t need any extra structural support (usually found surrounding windows) around the exteriors of the building. This allowed him to design corner windows that could be opened outwards giving an uninterrupted view of the natural environment surrounding the house.

Fallingwater’s windows

There are several different tours available at Fallingwater – a grounds tour, and regular tour where interior photo’s are not allowed, and the in-depth tour where you can take interior pictures as long as they remain for personal use.