When it comes to protecting its architectural heritage, Toronto’s record is “shameful” according to Ward 22 Councillor, Josh Matlow.
Matlow’s motion to preserve more than 250 Midtown buildings—in a bid to encourage a more thoughtful approach to development—has recently been approved. The buildings, spanning from Yonge, Eglinton, Mount Pleasant to Bayview, largely comprise two-storey shop fronts that characterize these neighbourhoods.
The impetus for the motion came from what Matlow referred to as the “wanton demolition” of two key buildings: the Stollery's Building at Yonge and Bloor and the Bank of Montreal building at Yonge and Roselawn. The latter was torn down before much could be done to prevent it. Now the City will have at least 60 days to consider planning applications on heritage buildings.
Among the newly registered properties are two of the city’s longest surviving movie theatres, the Regent Theatre and Mount Pleasant Theatre, both constructed in the 1920s. These are cultural gems that define the Davisville village.
Matlow claims that “staying ahead of the wrecking ball” is critical to preserving Toronto’s architecture, and I happen to agree. We have an abundance of tall, glass mixed-use towers that are virtually identical except for different floor plans.
Of course some of the heritage buildings make for questionable selections, and owners have already criticized the City for not adequately involving them in the process.
A full list of the new heritage properties can be viewed here.