Spacing mag celebrates a love of Toronto

A different kind of celebration happened at Fort York on Thursday night, not from the 18th century but from the 21st.

Spacing, Toronto’s niche magazine and popular blog site, held its first public presentation about its passion for the city’s urban affairs and historical endeavours. Members of the public were encouraged to join in and discuss topical ideas and concerns for the city of Toronto with the Spacing staff.

Shawn Micallef, founder and senior editor of Spacing, says his vision of Toronto goes way back to his childhood.

“My passion for cities began for me while growing up in Windsor,” Micallef said. “I was obsessed with Toronto. It was this city that had the CN Tower, a Skydome and a subway system. I was amazed.”

Micallef loved the idea of being at the heart of two industrial cities — Windsor was just a stone’s throw away from Motown. The contrast, he says, inspired his passion.

“Living in Windsor across from Detroit was magnificent because they were two major poles of different kinds of cities,” Micallef said. “It was very compelling.

“That’s what put the bug in me and I’ve loved cities ever since.”

After moving to Toronto, Micallef became involved with the city’s urban projects. Along with his team, he explored the city’s past through the public’s eyes, such as photographers and visual artists.

“The Spacing concept is like a big umbrella because it takes in architecture, urban design, public art, municipal politics and just daily city life,” Micallef said.

Established in 2003, Spacing expanded into blog networks throughout the nation. Having just released its 20th issue, Spacing plans to continue its public forum at Fort York on the release of every issue.

“We really like it here, it’s the birthplace of Toronto,” Micallef said. “There’s no other place to talk about Toronto than the place where the city started.”

Toronto’s rapid growth into a major metropolis is an often-discussed issue and one that Matthew Blackett, publisher, creative director and co-founder of Spacing magazine, finds inspiring.

“(Spacing) was like a holistic approach to urbanism. Things like transit, cycling, traffic and development are interlinked with one another,” Blackett said. “They all play an important role in shaping each of these issues, that’s why we started the magazine.”