The problem with the sale of 67 Vine Ave

The sale of 67 Vine and the two houses next door to it to the east which are all owned by Niazi Holdings Inc and have been for ever so long, solves many problems for the east end of  Vine Ave, among them these pointed out commenter J.U. on April 4th of this year…

The people that own 67 Vine also own the other 4 derelict houses on Vine. 2 of the houses are attached and leaning/falling over badly, the third has a tenant but is in extremely poor repair and the 4th has been boarded up since the 60’s. How is it that a house can remain vacant for 48 years?

The sale of 83 feet on frontage may attract the attention of small infill developer with the interest of building 4 to 5 and may six – if they squeeze –  new townhouses on the site.  The new homes would be a welcome addition, but with one caveat …the saving of 67 Vine ave itself, a house virtually untouched by Home depot renovation  materials at least on it’s exterior. The house has a wonderful slate roof and most of what must be original creative exterior woodwork, all of which should be respected and restorted.

So maybe an enlightened infill developer can built his  new houses and leave the great one that alreday there?

…the listing description

Attention Builders/Investors! Prime Developing Junction Location! Over 84Ft Frontage! 3 Parcels Being Sold Together. 61, 63, 67 Vine Ave. Total Asking Price $800,000. Zone R2Z0.6/90M. Possibility Of Five Row Townhouses With Ample Parking Off Lane. Comparable Townhouses On Vine & Pacific Have Sold Between $430,000-$450,000.**** EXTRAS **** All 3 Parcels Are Being Sold In ‘As Is’ Condition (Including Raccoons!) Seller And Agent/Brokerage Do Not Warrant Status OrConditions Of Existing Dwellings. Walking Distance To The ‘Junction’. Minutes To Keele Or Dundas Subway.


Got something to say? Feel free, I want to hear from you! Leave a Comment

  1. Raj says:

    I would suggest dozing the lot and starting from scratch. Sometimes the original structure is far too damaged and neglected to be safely repaired.

  2. John Unction says:

    thank you Raj. This is what the fire department said as well, that the house is BEYOND repair and would need to be torn down. Why the big fuss? I really dont understand WHY it is important to save a building JUST because its 100 years old. The place is ruined. Walk by and see for yourself.

    Are you guys trying to save the ones across from High Park on bloor? There are 15 borded up houses there that are likely just as old.

    Commercial buildings and houses with history, sure save them. But just because its 100 years old?? I disagree. When the historic hotel that was on Vine at Keele burnt down did any of you try to save that? Why/why not?

    Change is good people. ANY change to those houses is great. If you dont live on the street then you just dont understand.

    • Sharen Craig says:

      I was wondering if you had the address of the old Subway Hotel at Vine and Keele? My grandmother was the proprietor around 1919.

  3. Martin says:

    Sometimes a little hard work pays of with the preservation of a great house but unfortunately our by-laws don’t promote hard work.

    Without a buyer willing to put in the money, time and energy this stretch of old Junction will certainly be lost to the economic realty that a buy/split is an easy way to make money.

    Does anyone know if the developer is even willing to split?

  4. Robert says:

    The current seller would not be willing to set the lots apart, I would think as the family seemed to be collecting lots in the junction for years for such a sale as this, yet hopefully whoever buys the lots, will get a run for their development, in an effort to save 67 Vine ave, Which I think is in great condition structurally.

  5. Raj says:

    “67 Vine ave, Which I think is in great condition structurally.” (Robert)

    After going by the house and nosing around in the backyard, I can’t help but disagree. Maybe you are a contractor or architect and have more knowledge on building structure then I, however to the naked eye the house is a structural liability and needs to be knocked down.

  6. David says:

    John Unction,

    As someone who is just getting into the heritage field, I’ve discovered there are a lot of different factors which go into heritage preservation, and the prioritization of projects. Properties are assessed for their heritage value (be it architectural, historical or contextual) while other factors, including the future of the neighbourhood, are taken into consideration. People rarely want to save an old building if its continued existence makes it a proven hazard to the community, for example.

    Part of what makes the Junction what it is – and the reason why I choose to live in the Junction – is the great history the area has and the vast number of older buildings in the area which give the community its identity. There are a few buildings which, due to their location, their history, their context or previous noteworthy tenants are clearly showpieces of the community (such as the Heintzman House on Annette, James Hall at Dundas & Pacific, or the old CPR & CN stations which both disappeared amid local protest). Then there are the remaining buildings which are valuable as a group for giving the Junction a certain look and feel, but where the loss of an individual building is less noticeable – this is particularly a factor with houses.

    The key thing is that all of these little buildings make up the Junction community, and every time we lose one, the community changes a little – not necessarily for the worse, but not necessarily for the better, and its important for residents to carefully consider all the factors in play and take an active interest in how their community changes.

    You’re absolutely right in that not every building can or even should be saved. In fact, many historical buildings in the area have been regularly torn down, with very little commotion (such as the Ellis home at the corner of Clendenan & Jennings a few years ago). If you want direct responses to the lack of interest in saving the other buildings which you rhetorically cited, I could provide them, but suffice it to say that there were other heritage matters of greater concern in the area at the time.

    The Junction is distinctive for certain architectural styles which give the community a specific look and feel, and as a result, an indentity and connection with its history. Vine Avenue in particular has some great looking homes on it, including some with wonderful old bargeboards, so that people who don’t even live on the street will walk along Vine just to look at them.

    That said, 67 Vine may well be beyond salvage – I’m not familiar enough with the property to know. My hope would be that if it IS torn down, it be replaced with something sympathetic to remaining structures in the area, to keep the Junction and the street from losing its cache, and something which doesn’t make Vine “just another street,” or the Junction “just another neighbourhood.” If you can forgive an extremely hamfisted metaphor, in order for Toronto to be an effective mosaic, it needs to be composed of tiles which are distinct communities, and not be a city where every neighbourhood is just like every other one. As such, if there’s any hope for adaptive re-use, that is the kind of change which the Junction has been fairly good at in recent years, and precisely the sort of change I think we should be encouraging.

  7. David says:

    Oh dear, that was a lot longer than I intended it to be. Sorry, everyone!

  8. junctioneer says: (Author)

    No comment is too long David if it provides a framework such as ours does.

  9. Sonny P says:

    David cudos for explaining. Some people who comment on this blog I feel are just against change and new ideas. I understand your viewpoint now and respect what you are saying about the look of the area.

  10. A.R. says:

    John Unction,

    People get into the city’s heritage at different times in their lives. Some are newcomers who love the city, others are just teenagers discovering the architectural wealth of their neighbourhood, while others only realize after talking to someone else. Please don’t ask ambiguous questions like “why didn’t fight to save this or that”. How could you know what someone fought for in the first place?

    In a historic neighbourhood, buildings should be more sacred because they provide context and historical meaning. Preserving and restoring facades and building new buildings behind them is an option which if well executed can work in cases like this. This point should be acknowledged and not ignored in favour of making the issue “demolish all versus save all”

    It’s not even just one house involved. It’s someone amassing several houses. Plus, living on the street isn’t necessarily the key to understanding, because someone on the street may stand to gain financially when the person buying all these properties seeks out their property.

  11. Carmen says:

    Let’s face – it anything that is done to 67 Vine and/or the adjacent lot will be an improvement on what is there right now. It would be great if a developer would restore 67 Vine, but the likelyhood of that is pretty remote if you look at it from an investment POV. A series of townhouses same height as the other houses on Vine is the second best possibility for the space. It’s a great street, and the sale and upcoming construction is going to make it even better.

  12. Louis says:

    Two Comments:

    I don’t believe this is true: “The people that own 67 Vine also own the other 4 derelict houses on Vine.” I did a search of all the houses on Pacific and Vine, looking for which ones are owned by the owners of 67, and the duplex two lots east, wasn’t one of them. They also own the red duplex on the west side of Pacific and, I’ve been told, the building just south of Dundas on the East side of High Park. All in rough shape.

    I spoke to the real estate agent just after she put up the for sale signs and she said that selling 67 separately wasn’t an impossibility.

  13. junctioneer says: (Author)

    Louis, post reporting the sale of 67 Vine Ave separately wasn’t an impossibility, sounds nice, for the saving of the house.

  14. John Unction says:

    A.R. You mis-quoted me.

    What I said was “When the historic hotel that was on Vine at Keele burnt down did any of you try to save that? Why/why not?”

    I asked a legit question. I didn’t live in the area then so I am interested in information about what the community did for that case.

    Please dont misquote people for your own benefit. How could you know where I was going with that in the first place? If you took it as negative tone then you sir jumped to conclusions.

    And as for the not living on the street line. Imagine if you were the people who purchased the house west of 67 just across the lane. They move in and 2 months later 67 burns down. The following 6-12 months they see that place look more and more like a dumpy shanty and less like a house. Their property value is down, they live beside an eye-sore, etc.

    Are you telling me that their frame of mind would be “Oh ok well I hope that the house gets restored to historical accuracy with none of those pesky Home Depot products”.

    They, me and we Vine residents are happy its for sale. If they restore it, great. If not, great. The point is that we’re happy to see change there and new townhouses that (god forbid) might raise our property value is a good thing.

    • A.R. says:

      Well, I didn’t misquote for my benefit, I misinterpreted your tone. I sympathize with your situation but as an advocate for preservation in this case I do all I can to promote the belief that pushing for preservation isn’t necessarily going to keep it in ruins for a long time. And in the long run, I bet that the neighbourhood with more character, with more restored heritage houses of different eras will have higher property values. That’s what gives it cultural capital, which can make it a lot more pleasant than some new subdivision looking houses built with the Home Depot catalogue.

      I’d push for the properties to be restored even if I lived on that street. Or at least to demolish the interior and build basically a new house while preserving and restoring the facade of the old. The latter is substantially cheaper and a good option in a difficult situation IMO. I wouldn’t be happy about an asset like an old Victorian getting knocked down. That’s the architectural cheapening a neighbourhood, unless something great replaces them, but I’m skeptical about that.

      Remember that if it’s demolished, it could also be replaced with something undesirable as well.

  15. junctioneer says: (Author)

    John, I agree with A.R. that 67 Vine is an asset to the street, and yes even in its present condition. Although I really think the current owner has used the street for their personal gain for much too long. And now for additional personal gain the family is seeking to sell the house and the two additional lots as mini development site. Of course I would to see 67 restored and some new houses built next too it, well to be really honest, I would like to see the two houses next door restored also – but I think that just is not going to happen. 67 can be as A.R. says gutted and made into a thoroughly modern house inside, while preserving and restoring the facade of the old.

    To answer your question regarding the Subway Hotel, you are right, really no group (that I know of ) , came to rally for it’s cause over a the number of years it was slowly destroyed by it’s owners in conversion after conversion, after the gas explosion in 88, the buildings historical fabric was ruined. Maybe that had something to do with it?

    Yet to address what I think is the point of your comment, people have in the past attempted to save buildings on Vine Ave, most recently the Dominion Auto building where the Public Storage building stands now. Of course you can see we lost, and what did we lose, that’s is hard to say – of course a fine example of a design and make small industrial firm building, but we also lost the possibility of adaptive reuse of the building. A good example of in the area of adaptive reuse is the Keele Centre Building, once the home of 3 major concerns (Weston bakeries, Nacan, CNCP telecommunications) and two smaller firms (M fibers- still there, MacLean hunter mailing, and two very young struggling artists tucked away in a second level corner), this group occupied the centre for many years. When Marathon Development – The CPR’s real estate arm sold the property, the larger firms left over a number of years, the last being Nacan, and the new owners, started to rent to a varied new group, of smaller firms which continue to provide employment and the community benefits that come with small industrial employment.

    ..and yes I know my example was an industrial one and we are discussing a residential house, I could remember of one – no one in the Junction fights for old houses does they?

    What really agrees strongly with you about is your concern on how the city can let the owners – for 40 years affect the community with their failure to maintain the houses.

  16. John Unction says:

    This just in…. 57 Vine is now also for sale… That only leaves ONE shanty left. Come on new houses. No wammies no wammies no wammies.

    • junctioneer says: (Author)

      hei I went there to take a image of 57 for sale, do u know which one is 57, I could not see any numbers on either.


    • A.R. says:

      With any luck, they’ll just clear the whole street, right? Or maybe condo village? Yay, soon you’ll be able to sell your shack.

  17. John Unction says:

    57 is on MLS.. no sign yet.

    What’s wrong with you A.R.? Move to a pioneer village already douchebag.

    • A.R. says:

      Maybe you should move to a community with little history. I can see that happening when they buy your house.

  18. John Unction says:

    61, 63 and 67 Vine were sold on June 12th at 100 percent of list price which is $800,000 total. I don’t know what happened to 57 Vine which was also for sale.

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