On my way to Ryerson University to pick up my ID card, I swung by Leslieville to get some gas from the No Frills on Carlaw that has been a favourite of mine back when in the 1990s when it was a two floor No Frills or Loblaws. When I hit Gerrard again and made my way west, I saw a huge, towering structure that dominated the skyline in the west. The impression made by the tower was unlike anything I’d ever seen in Toronto… and I was literally born and raised on Gerrard Street (at Toronto General Hospital).
I can remember, from main bedroom windows of my family’s former house in Leslieville, the CN Tower, the tallest structure ever built in Canada, stood alone during the 1990s, a tall slender lance that threatened—and only threatened— the clouds. This new building, though, rose and rose until it was lost in the mist and clouds like a mountain. I thought to myself, “What was this building?” And I as I drove to Yonge Street towards Ryerson and this tower, I soon found out. It was the Aura.
The Aura, at 78-stories and 272 metres high, is Canada’s tallest condo. The Aura is, in skyscraper terms, just a hair shorter than the Scotia Plaza and the embattled Toronto Trump Tower. The Aura is the thing that has disrupted pedestrian and road traffic at Gerrard and Yonge for at least the past six years. I vaguely remember the construction of the Aura, when I first bought kendo equipment, when I visited my father who worked at College Park, and whenever I drove down to BMV on Edward St. “Breathlessness,” would is the word I would describe seeing the Aura today having last seen it as a huge pit in the ground that itself probably replaced a parking lot.
Human ingenuity and hard work can leave us breathless, either at its feet or kilometres away on Carlaw.