Under the cover of darkness this past weekend, an old building in Toronto was torn down. Look at the picture there, maybe consult some archived Google Streetview photos, and reflect on what a shame that is. It housed a bank, which I suppose is no great loss, but the architecture (even to the untrained eye) was something to behold. The Star’s Edward Keenan has some useful thoughts on how it happened. The takeaway here always boils down to the same idea. The preservation of local history should, in some way, be acknowledged when it comes to city development. Change is inevitable, but a legacy counts for something too.
It’s not always disappointing when an old, or “heritage” building, is torn down, mind you. For example, I wasn’t particularly bothered when the ugly block building that housed Sam the Record Man was demolished. Yes, it’d be cool to see the old spinning neon sign somewhere, but look at what was put in its place. This is some beautiful stuff. The same discussion will crop up when it’s time to pull down Honest Ed’s, or the blocks along King Street that may house future Frank Gehry-designed towers. Not everything old needs to be saved, but it feels unsavoury when it happens in an act of subversion. That’s the part, as noted, that sticks in the broader community’s craw.
A city is a living thing in more ways than one. Having it fill with people — and their opinions — is obviously part of this equation. Another part, despite all of the concrete involved, involves acknowledging that much of a city’s constituent parts don’t last forever. We’ve got to look at things, study them, figure out a way that works for both the conservation of heritage and a step into the future. It all has to work as we move ahead. Is this easy? No, usually not. But it is necessary.
The same goes, in an odd way, with the Raptors’ ongoing frontcourt experiments. Things are in flux right now, as the team’s losses mount and various players are rejoining the team after recovering from injury. The Raps have their legacy (and throwback) centre, Jonas Valanciunas, and a new age power forward (Patrick Patterson). Jared Sullinger’s utility is still being determined — his game may be more beautiful than some who have come before, but he’s still finding his footing (literally). It’s also possible the grand plan of DeMarre Carroll at the 4 in closing lineups has been scrapped.
And Lucas Nogueira? Well, Bebe continues to construct, level by (high) level, a career for himself. What his ultimate legacy will be, in Toronto or elsewhere, is still very much up for debate. But it’s hard to find anyone these days who’s looking to tear it down.
The legacy of trade “throw-ins,” as Bebe was inevitably referred to after his deal to Toronto, is not great. There are some rough gems scattering the landscape, but for the most part these players are considered cap ballast with only the loosest hope attached to their names. Bebe was once one such as this.
Come on folks. Hand's up who predicted Bebe would be the Raptors x-factor this season? Remarkable.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) January 25, 2017
We’ve all had our reasons to be skeptical about Bebe’s ultimate development. He’s been thought to be immature, soft, unprepared. I was certain the Raptors would want to get him away from the much more sensitive (and, at the time, valuable) Bruno Caboclo. But the construction of Bebe continued apace anyway. I think some (as the thread attached to that tweet can attest) had some good feelings about Bebe heading into this year, but it was easy to doubt. New developments have a way of subverting norms like that, until they too become the norm.
Also, while I’m torn as to whether to include this in the Happy or Not Happy section, given the note on the bottom, I think the sum of emotions has to be more positive than negative.
Talk about building a legacy.
Argh, but the Raptors keep losing! This is the first time in over a year where we’ve had to look back at an entirely 0-for week. Toronto were demolished by the Hornets (without Bebe, by the way), and then let games against Phoenix, an injury-depleted Spurs team, and Memphis slip away. Their streak now stands at five losses in a row. Not great.
In any case, we can look at the box scores of these games and see Bebe’s contributions — a double digit scoring game, a double digit rebounding game, five blocks, comic 80 percent shooting from the field — but it doesn’t amount to as much as it should. The record book will only show the ultimate outcome of these games. While the stats will presumably always be there ready for us to re-discover, the Ls take precedence.
And the context, or what came before, will eventually be forgotten.
Level of High Level
While I can’t discuss specifics right now (I’m involved in reviewing whatever application eventually comes to the site at 2444 Yonge Street, and had a hand in killing the one that came in prior to the site’s demolition), I can say that City Staff does its best to balance the wants and needs of the city. This, despite what you may have heard from city councillors and the like. I know this is hard to believe.
And just as the Raptors will eventually win games again, with Bebe playing his part, Toronto will figure out how to move on from this. After some tough losses, this is perhaps hard to believe too. This need not be the team’s (or the city’s) heritage.
High Level Result: 7 out of 10 — I know, I know, the losses should factor in the most, but I just have this feeling that we’re reaching something of a Bebe renaissance here. Let’s keep the good times rolling.