Saturday, December 4, 2010

Maple Leafs Square Condominiums + Restaurants (Post #2)

"There is especially true of the antoganism between the rich or the so-called cultured class and the poor or the servant class, which try to obstruct and destroy each other. It is this contrast which, according to Plato, gives the 'city' its dual character and makes it divide in itself."

- Ferdinand Tönnies from "Community and Society," in Jan Lin and Christopher Mele (eds.), The Urban Sociology Reader. New York: Routledge, 20. (pg. 117 of course kit))

As I mentioned, there is also a condo building there called Maple Leafs Square Condominiums. As imagined, these condos are pretty expensive - they range from $289k for a 484 square-foot 1 bedroom to a $900k 2 bedroom/2 bath 1,235 sq. ft. unit - and considering the location, I would venture a guess to say it's mostly young professionals who live there. Assuming this is true, having the Real Sports Bar and e11even literally right underneath makes a lot of sense. It caters to the clientele of its residents, not to mention the surrounding downtown area, and of course it will attract spectators flowing out of the ACC after games or potential spectators who couldn't land tickets but who don't want to stand outside in the cold watching the giant screen.

From MLSE's standpoint, this translates into a very lucrative cash flow that will fall right into their already fat pockets. From a equal society point-of-view, this is kind of embarassing and really puts sports at the centre of a much bigger issue. Sports are meant to be watched and enjoyed by any fan, regardless of physical or other differences. What has happened though is that rich fans enjoy sports at a much higher level, whether it's by buying or receiving tickets (usually through positions of power) to the game or to a bar or even having a nice TV in their home. Does it mean that rich fans are "better" sports fans? Not at all! It means they have more access to the types of activities that sports fans pride themselves on. On a personal note though, some of my favourite sports moments have been in a basement or living room surrounded by enthusiastic individuals who just want to see the home team win.

I can't exactly pinpoint the effect that this has on the general sports public of Toronto because that would involve large amounts of data that I simply don't have the means for but it creates a two-tiered system amongst sports fans. By no means is this exclusive to Toronto but in terms of hockey, we're probably the worst considering Canada's general passion for the game, the history of the Maple Leafs, the amount of wealth in this city and the fact that Maple Leafs are notoriously ridiculously overpriced. As a corporation, MLSE was valued at $1.75 billion according to a Toronto Star article from 2008 and this definitely plays into the notion of Maple Leafs Square being "for the fans"...but not actually.

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