Tag Archives: heritage

Parkdale-High Park federal race

Which MP do you want: past or present?
Incumbent Gerard Kennedy faces  challenge from predecessor Peggy Nash
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier April 15.)

Parkdale-High Park is a rematch between Liberal Gerard Kennedy and the NDP’s Peggy Nash.
Kennedy won the seat in 2008 when he beat first-term incumbent Nash.
This showdown mentality was on display during an all-candidates debate at Swansea Town Hall on April 13.
One of the contentious issues of the evening was Kennedy’s attendance for Parliamentary votes. Nash’s team was passing out a Globe and Mail article she said is based Hansard, the complete minutes of Parliament. An addendum to the article claims between Nov. 2008 and March 2011 Kennedy missed 122 votes and was present for 241 out of the 363 total votes.

NDP candidate and former MP Peggy Nash. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Kennedy’s team countered he was present for 272 votes and 32 paired, a system whereby an opposition and a government member both agree to be absent for the vote and are not normally counted as absences, for a total attendance record of 304 votes out of 363.
The two candidates had a few exchanges regarding this at the debate at one point Kennedy appeared quite emotional as he said, “Don’t accuse me of not working hard for this community.”
He said he attended votes in Ottawa even at times when close family members were battling severe illnesses.

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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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Toronto heritage property backlog

Report emphasizes lack of resources, staff
Kris Scheuer
(Updated Feb. 11 for Town Crier.)

Geoff Kettel, left, Paul Litt, Karen Carter and David Crombie helped to release a report on proposed changes to how the city handles the designation of heritage properties. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Hoping to have your childhood home declared a heritage site?
Well you may have to wait awhile.
“There is a backlog of 100 properties that’s been submitted to the city for consideration, but haven’t been processed, haven’t gone to the (Toronto) Heritage Board or city council,” Geoff Kettel, chair of the North York Preservation Panel told the crowd regarding the findings of a report on the state of heritage in the city.
“The 100 is just the tip of the iceberg,” he added. “They represent ones with a development where the community is concerned about a possible demolition. That backlog will take time to move (through).”
In an email to the Town Crier, Kettel wrote that the city’s preservation services staff are able to process only about 40 potential heritage properties a year.
“I would also add that the demand to add new properties to the backlog is lower than it should be because we know that there is no appetite in heritage preservation services to add new properties to the list,” his email stated.
The 12 page report was a joint effort by Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Historical Society and was based on several consultations with community and heritage groups.

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Application to demolish Maclean House

Owner wants to tear down the heritage home near Casa Loma
Plan to replace 100-yr-old building with townhomes, apartments
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 9.)

Maclean House before the owner removed aspects of it in Dec 2009. Image courtesy of City of Toronto.

The owner of 7 Austin Ter. has applied to demolish the designated heritage property known as the Maclean House. The plan is to build a six unit rental housing building plus eight town homes on the site.
City planning and heritage staff has advised council to refuse the demolition permit.
Currently there’s a 10 unit, one and a half storey residential building on site.
Publisher John Bayne Maclean lived in the home from 1910 until his death in 1950. John M. Lyle, who also constructed the Royal Alexandra Theatre and Union Station, built the home.
City heritage staff wrote in its report to council that, “there is no justification for the demolition of the structure at 7 Austin Terrace.”
A separate report from planning staff on the same demolition issue from a different perspective: rental housing and residential development.
The current building contains 10 units: one owner unit plus nine rentals.
The application to demolish the entire building would mean a loss of nine rentals: two of which are considered affordable, three are mid-range and four are priced on the high end.

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Scarboro Beach Amusement Park

Heritage homes on site of former amusement park
Some of the houses are up for sale facing Kew Beach
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Aug. 12.)

Scarboro Beach Amusement Park in 1907. Photo courtesy of The Beach in Pictures 1793-1932.

A dozen heritage properties on Wineva Ave and Hubbard Blvd were built where Scarboro Beach Amusement Park once stood. It was a destination spot for Torontonians in the early part of the 20th century.
Harry and Mabell Dorsey paid the Sisters of St. Joseph $165,000 in 1906 for the land between Leuty and Maclean avenues and opened the $600,000 theme park in 1907.
This is where the young and old came to see “waltzing horses, comic bears and the first genuine monkey circus ever in Toronto,” according to The Beach in Pictures 1793-1932 by Mary Campbell and Barbara Myrvold. Continue reading

Beachfront heritage homes for sale

Kris Scheuer
(Published in the Town Crier Aug. 13.)

This Hubbard Blvd home is now listed as heritage and had been declared surplus by the owner Toronto Community Housing. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

A dozen Beach homes worth millions are now listed as heritage properties including several sites Toronto Community Housing plans to sell.
They sit on the former site of Scarboro Beach Amusement Park.
The 1920s-built homes on Wineva Avenue and Hubbard Boulevard are mix of publicly and privately owned sites facing Kew Balmy Beach.
Janice Hadfield lives in one of the properties on Wineva and says she’s pleased the home is on the heritage list. Continue reading

Sandra Bussin’s 2010 campaign

Beach councillor faces hot issues in election year
Kris Scheuer
(Written June 11 for Town Crier.)

Beaches-East York Councillor Sandra Bussin.

Beaches-East York Councillor Sandra Bussin has come under fire lately over a series of hot button issues in her Ward 32.
There’s the firestorm over 204 Beech Avenue, where the owners bought the property with the intention to tear it down and build an accessible home only to find out it is a candidate for heritage protection.
Bussin got caught up in heated meeting on that issue. A clip depicting her as unsympathetic to the owners subsequently ended up on video streaming site YouTube, and made the rounds via Twitter.
And there’s the controversial 20-year, sole-source contract that awards a lease extension to Tuggs owner George Foulidis for his Boardwalk Café at Ashbridges Bay. Some feel Foulidis got too sweet a deal.
Though she removed herself from any city staff discussions surrounding the Boardwalk Café in 2009, Bussin was a vocal supporter of the sole-source contract for Foulidis back in 2006.
And this is now an election year.
“I am a strong person. I represent this community with integrity,” she told the Town Crier referring in to the criticism she is facing lately.

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Talbot apartments headed to court

City and residents win at OMB, but developer appeals
Redevelopment of heritage apartments could end up in court
By Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier April 28.)

Leasiders are celebrating the Ontario Municipal Board’s rejection of a
developer’s plan to tear down the heritage Talbot apartment complex on
Bayview.
However, their victory cries are muted because the site’s owner is seeking
leave to appeal the board’s decision to the Ontario Divisional Court.
Local councillor John Parker is pleased with the board’s rejection of a
redevelopment plan to demolish the apartments and construct an eight-storey
building and 54 townhouses.
“I was pleased with the Ontario Municipal Board result,” he said. “I saw it
as a long shot they’d see latitude for an appeal.”
Before the court rules on anything, a judge or a panel of judges must decide
if there are legal reasons for this appeal, and if so, determine if those
issues are significant enough to warrant an examination of the board ruling,
said Parker, a lawyer by trade. Continue reading