Forgotten Bloor St at Pacific Ave

A block of homes in and around Bloor St W at Pacific Ave and on to Oakmont Ave  has sst waiting for redevelopment byWJ Properties for a number of years and now that the last renter has been removed the questions is when will the development start.

Yet for this author while that is an important consideration, the pressing matter at hand is that many in the community view the homes as architecturally unimportant. This view is completely wrong if you have knowledge of the relationship if local west Toronto communities and the housing in the area. A few of these houses have in addition to others elements the last remaining typical veranda types and rear extensions that were in the past commons in the area and have been removed from many houses.

In addition the houses at the corner of Pacific Ave and Bloor St west at the east corner is one of the last remaining purpose built combo doctors office and home buildings.

Not that this author is completely against the redevelopment, but it is perplexing that many people simply states their opinions with incorporating an west local social fabric elements

from a recent Toronto star article

Local councillor, Bill Saundercook, wishes the whole thing would go away: “I’m not happy about what’s happening,” he told the Star. “The zoning permits highrise, but I’d rather they not develop the site. I like the housing stock there. But Heritage Toronto didn’t designate the buildings. Everyone knows the day will come when they’ll be demolished. The city said no you can’t demolish until you have a plan, but I’ve been told there is no such plan. It’s so confusing.”

No doubt about that.

“It’s a damn shame,” says Rollo Myers of The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. “It’s a lovely assembly of buildings. Our position is that every building that’s still standing is worth saving rather than sending off to a landfill. There must be rules.”

Toronto Star article by Mr Hume


Prime underdeveloped land like this makes builders salivate. Unless the houses can be fixed up and used or re-purposed for another use, they sit on top of prime, develop-able land.

If so inclined, one could purchase the structures and move them to another location, thereby preserving them while still allowing the land they sit on to be developed.

Otherwise, as you said, its not if they will be demolished at this point, its when.

Saundercook's quotation is misleading – Heritage Toronto has nothing to do with designating buildings; HT is an arms-length (from the city) group which deals more with promoting city heritage – tours, plaques, events, etc. Getting historical buildings preserved is done through Heritage Preservation Services which a full-fledged city department, even if it is woefully lacking in resources. Very few city councillors seem to understand how this works, which probably part of the problem.

All too frequently, the demolition of various old and historical Toronto buildings gets reported, and people inevitably comment that the city needs to do something to protect its heritage resources, but this isn't going to happen unless Heritage Preservation Services gets a significant increase in staffing and funding. Unfortunately, by the time something like the Bloor/Oakmount/High Park situation gets reported, the clock is already ticking (the same can be said of the Foundry smokestack, the Don Jail, or any other simliar issue in recent months). Things like this are going to keep happening unless people get proactive about identifying community landmarks and important city structures and fight for legislation to keep the ones they value most.
Every piece of land of land in Toronto is tempting to developers, and it's ultimately up to Toronto's citizens to determine what sort of city they want to live in. Hopefully some of the mayoral candidates will demonstrate an interest in Toronto's history, indentity and heritage resources over the summer, but I wouldn't expect much.

Aren't there plenty of similar houses on the sidestreets in the neighbourhood? Strong heritage preservation is crucial to have a great city, but these are large low-density houses on the most important east/west arterials here in Toronto. They just don't belong and I wouldn't save them unless they were more exceptional. On a side-street context, I think they would be a lot more valuable to the neighbourhood because they would be parts of a cohesive heritage streetscape.

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