Demolition of historic building shocks locals
City councillor blames communication breakdown for loss of Midtown landmark
Locals in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue neighbourhood expressed their outrage last month when the 110-year-old Bank of Montreal building located at 2444 Yonge St. was demolished despite being under review by Heritage Preservation Services (HPS).
According to the City of Toronto, Toronto Building Division, the demolition permit was submitted on Dec. 16, and was issued on Jan. 18. The demolition crew was on site within 72 hours and the building was torn down on Jan. 21.
“This is a heritage site that needed to be protected, and it’s unacceptable that there was no warning about its destruction,” said Linda McCarthy, director of the Lytton Park Residents’ Organization (LPRO). “Developers have been running amok destroying our city’s precious history with no regard to the communities that live here and future generations. Yet another historic piece of North Toronto’s built landscape goes to landfill.”
The building was one of the few remaining Beaux Arts banks left in the city. It was identified as having historical value in a 2014 city planning report when a five-storey development was proposed for the site by KCAP Roselawn Inc. Heritage preservation of the building was discussed in consultations with the public; however, the application was eventually withdrawn and the property was subsequently acquired by the Toronto-based developer Main and Main.
Although not yet listed on the City of Toronto Heritage Property Inventory, staff at HPS had identified the building to be of heritage interest and were officially reviewing it for inclusion.
Councillor Christin Carmichael Greb, who represents the ward of Eglinton-Lawrence, told Post City that it appears there was a communication breakdown.
“It was frustrating to find out that the Toronto building division was required to issue a demolition permit under the Ontario Building Code, allowing for the building to be demolished,” said Carmichael Greb. “Although there is nothing that can be done to save this location, I will be working with other councillors and city officials to try and ensure that this does not happen again either in my ward or in others.”
Developer Main and Main did not respond to requests for comment.
Linda McCarthy at the site of the demolished Bank of Montreal building
The Bank of Montreal building in 1921