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1. Stollery's Defacement
2. York Square: To Preserve or Not
3. Proposed De La Salle Development: Could Ruin View of Significant Cultural Landscape View
4. Order of Canada for Christina Cameron and John G. Cavity

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1. Stollery's Defacement
Catherine Nasmith

Photo taken by Adam Birrell, Sunday January 18, 2015

Stollery's is not listed or designated so there is nothing to prevent the owner going in, getting a demolition permit and defacing the building to destroy its heritage value. A demolition permit was issued on Friday. A few years back a similar attach was made at 7 Austin Terrace, and stopped by the Minister of Culture issuing a Stop Order at the urgent request of Mayor David Miller. 

Starting work over the weekend hits a new low.....


2. York Square: To Preserve or Not
Catherine Nasmith

Historic View of York Square, Published around the world
Proposal at 9:50 am Friday, January 16

“I had one night to enjoy the moment.” said Linda Lewis.

On Tuesday a notice arrived saying that the bylaw designating York Square, at the corner of Yorkville and Avenue Road, had been passed by Toronto City Council.

On Wednesday, Linda received a second notice that the application for a 40 storey condo building on the same site was moving ahead. “Its back into the fray,” said Linda. This site is directly north of the east wing of the Ontario Legislative Assembly, so this development could also be one more building looming behind Ontario's democratic symbols.

The Toronto Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, led by executive member Linda Lewis worked tirelessly for two years for protection of York Square. By way of disclosure, I should say I am President of ACO Toronto, and worked alongside Linda Lewis for this designation.

If ever there was a designation report that was OMB proof this is it. The research and reasons are rock solid. Since the motion passed Toronto East York Community Council things have been eerily quiet on that file…the Pollyanna in me hoped the designation had discouraged the developer, or voided the sale of the property.

York Square is emblematic of all that the 1970’s reform Council fought for, and won. The iconic 1968 design by then newly arrived architects Diamond and Myers expressed all that was “Jane Jacobs”. It was the first project in the world to buck the urban renewal (removal) trend and work with existing historic buildings to make something uniquely new. Rightly acclaimed worldwide by urban designers and architects, it became the template for Yorkville developments. It is the first of three groundbreaking designs by the same firm; Dundas-Sherbourne and the Hydro Block followed, proving that Toronto could develop without sacrificing its past. Projects like the National Ballet School by successor firm KPMB with Goldsmith Borgal come from the same font of ideas that have since become hallmarks of Toronto design.

Even without the laws we have today, that 1970’s Council managed to save a lot of Toronto. Ontario now has strong heritage protection laws, but will Toronto City Council have the confidence to defend this modest, yet highly significant project? York Square’s destruction 45 years later would be an ironic victory for a development industry on government steroids.

The property had been in the same family since it was developed. The buildings sit empty now, longstanding commercial tenants evicted. The restaurants are closed. Recent property tax hikes driven by speculative property values set by the province based on what might happen on the site, not what is there, forced a sale.

A public meeting on the proposal will be held next week (see events). If you go to the website you will see the previous scheme. The actual proposal is expected to be posted on January 16, for a January 22 meeting. Here’s the link.

Go to the meeting. Pray for a miracle. 

3. Proposed De La Salle Development: Could Ruin View of Significant Cultural Landscape View
Michael Vaughan

Google View of De La Salle playing fields

De La Salle College on Avenue Rd. south of St. Clair wants money. Rather than raise it in the normal way, it wants to build a 45 ft.high housing development going down Avenue Rd. from the foot of the escarpment and turning east along Oaklands. It would wall off the face of the escarpment, the playing field and the heritage Oaklands House from public view and would demolish the heritage entrance gate and gate house. Since the beginning of time, the escarpment, the old Lake Iroquois shore line stretching across the City, has been the great geological natural feature of Toronto. De La Salle is the last remaining place where the public can see its face and sense its majesty jutting out towards the lake.

Oaklands is the last of the19th century villas built on the edge of the escarpment to dominate and overlook the City. Those villas on the brow of the escarpment were penthouses for Victorian potentates allowing them to look down on the humble houses below and out over Lake Ontario. The only remaining villa gates and gatehouse, which were indispensible parts of the great villas, would be demolished. The view of the formidable face of the escarpment has been a public “place identity” since long before the City began. The open space is a welcome pause in the urban form and is part of the physical character of the neighbourhood. De La Salle is exempt from paying realty taxes because its lands are considered to be a public amenity.

The City’s Official Plan has strong policies to protect views from the public realm
to prominent buildings, structures, landscapes and natural features; The development would destroy those views. Years ago the City did a detailed study of the site and adopted special Official Plan policies for the area which are in effect and which govern. The Official Plan designates the site as an open area with a view terminus looking from the south up to the north as well as a view corridor looking from the north down to the south and protects the escarpment. De La Salle has been content with these policies for many years.

De La Salle is a big property with several suitable development sites. The current proposal is a direct frontal attack on the heritage and other policies of the City and the Province. Hopefully a solution can be found to meet De La Salle’s financial wishes elsewhere on the property. Hopefully the City will continue to protect the public and heritage values now threatened by De La Salle.

4. Order of Canada for Christina Cameron and John G. Cavity
Heritage Canada The National Trust

Ottawa, ON – January 6, 2015 – The National Trust congratulates cultural heritage conservation experts Dr. Christina Cameron and Mr. John G. McAvity on their recent appointments to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours.

Dr. Cameron was appointed to the Order of Canada for her contributions to heritage preservation through her work with Parks Canada Agency, with UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention, and as a university professor. A recent recipient of the National Trust’s 2014 Gabrielle Léger Medal for Lifetime Achievement, Dr. Cameron is an internationally recognized expert in the field of heritage conservation. She has made an outstanding contribution to the conservation of cultural and natural heritage in Canada and around the world. In July 2014 Dr. Cameron was named president of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

Mr. McAvity’s appointment recognizes his contributions to preserving Canada’s cultural heritage, notably through his long-standing role as executive director of the Canadian Museums Association (CMA). A life member of the National Trust, Mr. McAvity has worked tirelessly to bring relevancy, innovation, and funding to the museum sector. In the past 33 years with the CMA, he successfully lobbied for new legislation for the indemnification of exhibitions, and the 1991 federal museums policy.

About the Order of Canada

Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the centerpiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.  

For further information: 
Carolyn Quinn, Director of Communications 
Telephone: 613-237-1066 ext. 229; Cell: 613-797-7206