258 prop­er­ties up for her­itage list­ing

Mas­sive ef­fort un­der­way to pre­serve Midtown main streets

North Toronto Post - - News - — Sa­man­tha Peksa

First it was the old Stollerys build­ing at Yonge Street and Bloor Street. Then the for­mer Bank of Mon­treal at Yonge and Roselawn Av­enue. Lo­cal res­i­dents and city staff have felt blind­sided time and time again as cen­tury-old build­ings are bull­dozed to the ground with­out am­ple no­tice. Now, City of Toronto, Her­itage Preser­va­tion Ser­vices (HPS) has put a whop­ping 258 prop­er­ties up for list­ing on the city’s her­itage reg­is­ter — the most am­bi­tious un­der­tak­ing to date — and they’re not done.

The ex­ten­sive list was re­viewed by the Toronto Preser­va­tion Board on Aug. 24 and will head to Toronto City Coun­cil in Septem­ber. It in­cludes prop­er­ties on Yonge Street, Eglin­ton Av­enue East and West, Mount Pleas­ant Road and Bayview Av­enue.

Ac­cord­ing to Ta­mara An­sonCartwright, pro­gram man­ager with HPS, the city be­gan doc­u­ment­ing prop­er­ties with her­itage value back in 2015 when they hired a con­sul­tant as part of the Midtown in Fo­cus study. Since then, HPS has gone over the find­ings and held con­sul­ta­tions with the pub­lic.

“There are quite a few prop­er­ties we’ve al­ready des­ig­nated or did as in­di­vid­ual list­ings, such as the Capi­tol The­atre and Orange Hall,” said An­son-Cartwright. “Some prop­er­ties were done more re­cently: in July, the Restora­tion Hard­ware and ad­ja­cent prop­erty.”

The Mount Pleas­ant and Re­gent theatres were also des­ig­nated dur­ing the process.

The cur­rent list of 258 prop­er­ties sin­gles out two- to three-storey build­ings that fit into a kind of main street ty­pol­ogy.

“It is about main street. It’s about con­tex­tual value, and we heard loud and clear, when we were do­ing our com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion, these ideas of these Midtown vil­lages — these sort of char­ac­ter ar­eas like Mount Pleas­ant and Bayview,” she said.

Toronto de­vel­oper Brad Lamb called the move “very sus­pi­cious.”

“All of this is just a huge ef­fort to

dra­mat­i­cally stop de­vel­op­ment. I think they want to stop it on a dime,” said Lamb.

“There are go­ing to be hun­dreds of ap­peals to this. I can tell you the des­ig­na­tions for some of these prop­er­ties are ab­so­lutely pre­pos­ter­ous. There’s noth­ing his­toric about a large num­ber of the des­ig­na­tions.”

An­son-Cartwright said some of the list­ings were given pri­or­ity in the re­view as cur­rent own­ers were about to ex­press in­ter­est in sub­mit­ting an ap­pli­ca­tion to re­de­velop the site. Or in some cases, they al­ready had.

Mov­ing for­ward, if Toronto City Coun­cil ap­proves what her­itage staff are call­ing a “batch list­ing,” prop­erty own­ers will have to an­swer to the city’s of­fi­cial plan and prove how they will con­serve the her­itage build­ing if they choose to re­de­velop. The list­ing also means her­itage staff will be given a heads up be­fore any de­mo­li­tion.

“If some­one does want to come in and ask for a de­mo­li­tion per­mit, they have to give 60 days’ no­tice, which we didn’t have for the for­mer Bank of Mon­treal,” said An­sonCartwright.

An­son-Cartwright said more prop­er­ties are still up for con­sid­er­a­tion.

“This is Phase 1 of the re­port that we’re bring­ing for­ward. There will be oth­ers. So there are ac­tu­ally a few other build­ings on Yonge Street and Eglin­ton Av­enue and other ar­eas that are not part of the main street ty­pol­ogy … some old con­verted res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties that we didn’t in­clude be­cause they didn’t fit within this type of build­ing,” she said.

Andy Gort, chair of the South Eglin­ton Ratepay­ers’ and Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion, said the group is in sup­port of the list.

“We have some­thing like 20 tow­ers that have al­ready gone up or are in the process of go­ing up just in our area, and there is still more com­ing,” said Gort. “As these Midtown build­ings ap­pear, we’re los­ing the main street char­ac­ter of Yonge Street and Bayview Av­enue.”

How­ever, Gort said he an­tic­i­pates amend­ments will be made to the list be­fore it is ap­proved. “My guess is that there will be a num­ber of cor­rec­tions and changes as we go for­ward.”

“All of this is just a huge ef­fort to dra­mat­i­cally stop de­vel­op­ment. I think they want to stop it on a dime.”

The prop­erty at 2453 Yonge St. on the north­east cor­ner of Ersk­ine Av­enue is in­cluded in the list

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