Demolition begins on historic Thornhill home
Council voted to demolish addition against Heritage Markham recommendation
Demolition has started on an addition to a heritage-classified property at 30 Colborne St. following two years of community contention. The addition, put on in 1958 by a prominent Thornhill surgeon, was the topic of multiple meetings at Markham City Council and Heritage Markham.
The house is a heritage-protected building in the Thornhill Heritage Conservation District, built in 1852. In the 1950s, the property was purchased by the Glassow family and the addition was built. The property was sold to Shahram Heidari and Ladislava Stahlova.
“The addition was so complementary that many of us thought it was original,” said Keith Irish, from the Society for the Preservation of Old Thornhill. “We thought it dated at the same time as the front half of the building in the 1840s, that’s how complementary it was.”
After the new owners bought the house, they filed a proposal to renovate the house, which would have required a small variance, but heritage staff rejected their proposal. Multiple revisions and site control applications were submitted and sent back. Council voted to demolish the addition in May Although it is an 2017, against Heritage interesting Markham’s recommendation.
Heritage recommended replica, it’s only
classifying the 1958 addition for that: a replica.” its esthetic faithfulness to the original building, as well its association with Dr. Glassow, who was a prominent surgeon at Shouldice Hospital and lived in the house until he died in 2009.
“It’s a shame, because we have a heritage committee,” said Ward 4 councillor Karen Rea, who also sits on Heritage Markham. “The Ontario Heritage Act is in place so that municipalities can enforce and preserve heritage, because once [a properties is] lost, it’s forgotten.”
At the council meeting from last May, Amber Stewart, the attorney for the owners, argued that before the owners bought the property, they were told by heritage staff that they could make modifications to the addition.
“It’s important to remember that what we are dealing with, although it is an interesting replica, because it looks like the original, it’s only that: a replica,” said Stewart. In the meeting, she questioned whether or not Dr. Glassow was a prominent enough figure to have his property classified.
“While the history of that addition is interesting, it does not rise to the level of significance.” she said.
In the end, council, voted in favour of the owners and carried the site control application for the new proposed addition by a vote of nine to two.
Keith Irish, from the Society for the Preservation of Old Thornhill