West Toronto Collegiate Institute to be closed and the land sold?

from the saveourschoolsTO@gmail.com flyer
Is West Toronto C.I. CLOSING?

What will this mean to our community?

neighbourhood school and community meeting   place- GONE! pool, excellent track and gym facilities- GONE! building fully accessible to the disabled- GONE! 8.5 acre urban green space- GONE! important public resource paid for by the Toronto taxpayers- GONE!

Once gone, the land and building will never come back!
Two Public Meetings:
330 Lansdowne Ave
one block north of College St.
Tues., Sept. 29th and  Thurs., Oct. 15th
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
West Toronto Collegiate Institute                                                                cafeteria
Some of the many reasons why this school building is special can be found in the history section og the schools’ Wikipedia page
The school was constructed and opened in 1972. The school was built on the former southern section of MacGregor Park. The football field is the former location of a lumber yard. The construction of the school necessitated the closing of the section alongside the school of St. Helen’s Avenue. The siding of the building on the east and west sides of the building is unique. It was installed as “raw” steel and allowed to rust to reach the intended brown colour, then preserved. The school was originally named in 1972, by its students as West Toronto Secondary School.


But what are the plans for the site? The building architecturally has some interesting elements. The sloped facades are distinctive.

Closing schools is never an easy thing to do as they often double as a community centre and connect the residents to each other and their past.

Most of our schools however were built in a time when the city had twice the student population which leaves our schools today at half capacity.

The TDSB can’t sustain this imbalance so they either, rise funds (taxes), repurpose or close schools.

My high school in Niagara (110 year old historic building) had the capacity to hold 3000 students and when I graduated the student population was around 1000. Now the school board plans to close a nearby junior school and merge the students into a wing of the high school.

Another nearby junior school was sold, the yard was developed as housing and the 100 plus year school house was converted into a women’s shelter.

Repurposing worked in these cases to bring new life to two historic buildings. I hope the TDSB can find similar solutions but I suspect is most cases they won’t and the land will be sold off to highest bidder.

What's unfortunate is that when the City considers whether to add heritage designations, it can be swayed if it owns to property and has future plans. The Carlton Village school, for instance, was a clear neighbourhood landmark and a one of a kind building. They decided that it wasn't worth saving.

If the TDSB sells the school to the French public school board, the building will live on as a school, and the community may still have access to the facilities.

Better than a bunch of townhouses or condos, no?

Yes, this building is unique and should be saved. Unfortunately, some people have the mentality that heritage is only buildings that are a hundred years ago, and great Modernist architecture gets destroyed.

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