Category Archives: Toronto Heritage

John Carter wins Agnes Macphail Award

Avid volunteer dedicated to East York community
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier

L-R: Last year's winner Bill Pashby congratulates 2011 winner John Carter. Photo courtesy City of Toronto.

As one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Agnes Macphail Award and ceremony, John Carter did what he has done every year since the dinner began: He showed up early to help set up a display.
This year he had another task to complete: receiving the award himself.
His demonstrated dedication is what led the awards committee to name Carter the 2011 recipient of the Agnes Macphail Award, bestowed annually on a member of the community who has made positive contributions to the East York community.
“I’m quite excited about it,” he said hours before the dinner. “There were 18 others who won it before and I’m part of that illustrious group.”
In the 1990s, Carter was one of the forces who pushed the former East York city council to honour Macphail, Canada’s first female federal politician.
Carter has also been one of the leading advocates pushing to have the Leaside home where Macphail lived at 2 Donegall  Dr. preserved as a heritage site.
And he successfully pushed for a park at Pape and Mortimer avenues, to be named after Macphail.

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Lawrence Park heritage homes

Sites on Toronto heritage backlog list waiting for reports
Kris Scheuer
(Written March 22 for Town Crier.)

Lawrence Park resident Alex Genzebach wants area homes preserved as heritage sites. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

A hundred years ago Lawrence Park was a garden suburb built on farmland.
Toronto’s population at the time: 376,538.
The fifth home to be built here back in 1910 was a dark red brick house at 110 Dawlish Avenue. On Jan. 11, 1911 Edith Spohn moved in to this home with her husband Julian Sale, whose family ran a leather goods store on King Street West. They had a gas stove but no electricity or paved roads.
Spohn and Sale’s home is one worth preserving, area residents say.
There’s currently a push to add this home, plus five others in Lawrence Park, to the city’s heritage property list.
Problem is, there are about 100 properties waiting for reports from an already-taxed Heritage Preservation staff and the historic Lawrence Park homes are only six among them.
City heritage staffer Bruce Hawkins says it’s hard to know exactly how long it’ll take for heritage reports on the six nominated Lawrence Park homes as there could be other properties higher in the queue.

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Baby Point heritage district push

Residents want area’s heritage protected
Kris Scheuer
(Written Feb. 18 for Town Crier.)

Baby Point resident Dr. Robert Galway wants a heritage district in his community. Photo by Karolyn Coorsh/Town Crier.

Robert Galway stands on the street on a chilly but sunny Sunday morning staring at what appears to be a makeshift hockey rink.
Actually, it’s the former location of a stately home in the Baby Point neighbourhood, a house that up until recently stood next door to the one-time residence of Maple Leafs’ fabled owner Conn Smythe.
Until Nov. 30 when bulldozers drove in, the makeshift “hockey rink” was an Arts and Crafts-style home, built in the 1920s.
Months ago, when the owners of 66 Baby Point Rd. applied to the city for a demolition permit, it was granted.
It should not have been, Galway contends.
Once a hobby, protecting these Baby Point homes has now become a mission for Galway, a longtime resident of the area.
Concerned his Toronto neighbourhood could be vulnerable to developers, Galway is attempting to make Baby Point a heritage conservation district.

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Agnes Macphail house heritage worthy?

Canada’s first female MP lived in Leaside home
But it has no heritage protection or plaque
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 23)

Agnes Macphail lives at 2 Donegall Ave and efforts are underway to push for a heritage designation and plaque of the property. Photo by Joshua Freeman/Town Crier.

Walking by 2 Donegall Ave in Leaside you wouldn’t know it was once home to politician Agnes Macphail.
The 1937-built home is neither historically listed, designated nor does it have a plaque recognizing it as the former abode of Canada’s first female MP.
Residents and politicians have been pushing for over a decade for some recognition for the Toronto property and while things are currently at a standstill, there is renewing pressure to have something done.
The Simmons family, owners of 2 Donegall Ave/720 Millwood Rd home, agreed to install a plaque in 2001 as a compromise to avoid the building becoming historically designated.
But the plaque never materialized because there was no agreement on the wording and cost involved, said property owner Laura Simmons.
She told the Town Crier Feb. 23 she would be agreeable to erecting a plaque if it cost her $500 maximum, but is still against designating her home.
Mary Macdonald, acting director of Heritage Preservation Services, said city staff had recommended designation in 2001, but council voted for the plaque instead.

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Maclean House could be saved

Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 18)

Maclean House owner made legal alterations to the property before it was officially designated a heritage site. Now he wants to demolish the home. Photo courtesy of City of Toronto.

Toronto and East York Community Council stamped denied on two of the three of the applications to demolish the Maclean House and have made the conditions for the one they did approve so tight that it will be impossible to knock the structure down.
The building, built in 1910 by celebrated architect John M. Lyle, was once home to publisher John Bayne Maclean but is currently carved up into 10 apartment units.
Community council dealt with the matter after little debate possibly due to city staff’s recommendation to refuse the demolition of the heritage property at 7 Austin Ter.
However, the story is not quite that simple.
St. Paul’s Councillor Joe Mihevc explained that there are actually the three demolition applications before the city regarding this property — one related to it as a rental building, one as an owner-occupied residence and one as a heritage building.

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