Should the city revise it's commercial High Street rules?

Picture credit – Bob Krawczyk, TObuilt

Whats left …   Picture Credit – bricoleurbanism flickr

If you are planning to demo a residential house in Toronto you must submit a plan, before the demo, and gain approval form the city for your project. Yet, if you purchase a strip building like the one pictured above top, you can demo the building before you have approval for your project. And if the city disallows your project, the community has this empty lot to contend with.
Another issue is that the person who caused this to happen destroyed a good quality architectural building. Looking at this in contrast to the two buildings removed on the north side of Dundas Street West at Pacfic Ave. (lot currently donated to the arts fest and BIA) The individual has brought down two nondescript simple buildings with no deep merit to the community. These two lots when redeveloped can provide for the community rather than remove from it, while the removal of a good historical quality building only harms the Junction.
Update: Dec  5 2008 The blog has been told that the two sites discussed in post are owned by the same person. (we have yet to verify that, but the source is well regarded as a source at the blog) This is an interesting issue, whereas the corner of Pacific and Dundas St west lot and the building next to it are prime examples of a great place to instill some greater density in the Junction. The old Mc Brides site is a prime location for that too – some may say even more.  Again the cities procedures for orchestrating infill developments such as this have failed both the developer and the community. Simple community meetings really are not enough as they provide for very little common goal bulding between a developer and a community. The developer appears to be trying to reach out to the community by providing the use of his vacant lot for community with the help of the local councillor, which has contributed to the community.

Posted by Robert

what you are seeing brought down, once held this business…

Started in 1909 by Percy A. McBride, the store began by selling American-made Hendersons from a building on College Street. It moved later to a series of locations on Queen Street before taking up its current spot on Dundas Street West, near Keele Street.
The list of makes sold by the store could fill a book on motorcycle history. They included AJS (built by Albert John Stevens), Francis-Barnett, Royal Enfield, Indian, Brough Superior, Rudge, BSA, Ariel and Lambretta.

The store rode the wave of the Japanese invasion of the 1960s, the same decade Percy died, and the business was taken over by Marty McBride, John’s father.

From a September 8, 2006 article by Oliver Moore – The Globe and Mail –


The City has identified the Junction, and many other neighbourhoods in the City, as a potential Heritage Conservation District (HCD):

The benefits of a HCD is that they can promote and guide change (ie new development) so that it occurs in a way that is sympathetic to the heritage character of the area – it builds upon the existing character that's there, as opposed to getting something that doesn't fit. It can also help to prevent or discourage the demolition of existing buildings which contribute to the special character of our neighbourhood. For example, if the area was designated as a HCD it is possible that this building would not have been demolished.

I hope that such a plan only stops buildings that clash with the scale from being built. There's this misconception that we must build something that looks historical to fit in a heritage district, so that rules out modernist or contemporary buildings. But the materials and building techniques of those new buildings which are supposed to look historical never match those of the actual heritage buildings. The buildings turn out to look obviously new and a poor imitation of historical architecture. It's very obvious and rather pathetic.

I'm worried that developers will propose ugly quasi-historical buildings that "fit in". They look decent in renderings, but the built form looks terrible because our construction techniques, materials, and interpretation of historical architectural styles has changed dramatically.

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