The best, the worst and the plain, old mediocre

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If you had a chance to vote the best and worst new architecture of your town, what would top either list? For Torontonians, the chance to rank your favorite and less-than-favorite new buildings about town is once again here with the annual Pug Awards. The awards, formerly the Puglies, were created in 2004 to raise public awareness of architecture and elevate design standards for development projects in Toronto.

In addition to the awards (which will be handed out in early June), the program also includes Pug Ed, an outreach program that facilitates dialogue among local elementary students about architecture and design in their every day lives. The idea? To foster an appreciation of the importance of well-conceived, responsible design practices in an urban environment.

Back on the Pug Awards side of the program, voting is conducted online, where voters can log on and review the nominees. Vote choices are, simply, Love it, Like it or Hate it. Voters are encouraged to consider a number of factors, including the design details, exterior details, the context of the building, and good, ol' innovation. This year's crop of nominees include 32 buildings (24 residential and 8 commercial or institutional spaces), all of which were completed in 2008 and are each more than 50,000 sq. ft. Among the commercial nominees: The Art Gallery of Ontario by Frank Gehry. How do you think he'll fare? If your local stomping grounds had a Puglies program of its own, what would make the top of your list?

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