Preserving Sexy Old Bricks

As Parkdale Village reaches 135 years some of our bricks need help.

(The ‘Beaty Ave Toronto‘ article has been upgraded. Come and see.)

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UHN Not So Good for Housing.

The University Health Network, or UHN, is following a path that leads to the systematic loss of affordable and historic housing. There is evidence that they are having a negative influence on the neighbourhood.

The University Health Network is responsible for the maintenance of 9 through 17 Close Ave as well as 82 Dunn Ave. In 2014 17 Close Ave was demolished unnecessarily. Read about it in The Historic Destruction Game. I drive by these houses on my way home daily and I began to notice a pattern of destructive ‘repairs’, leading to demolition. The historic veranda on 82 Dunn has been replaced with cheaply designed, pressure treated wood that is starting to age just one year later. All the UHN houses on Close Ave have cheap wood replacements of parts of their steps or verandahs. 19 Close has plastic ‘roofing’ over a side window.  Leaks cause deterioration. Unpainted wood begins to look ugly. One day we will hear that one of these is being demolished and the UHN may hope we will think ‘who cares’.

It is not surprising that the University Health Network appears to value hospitals more than houses, but is that good for Parkdale? Just a few doors north on Dunn Avenue neighbours are investing in beautifying their houses, both rental and single family.  One block east on Cowan Avenue houses are beautifully preserved from end to end.

Gord Perks returned my call this morning and I proposed my plan as follows:

Proposed objective
Maintain housing and historical character in Parkdale.
The University Health Network appears want to remove all of these houses to replace them with hospitals.
Every maintenance issue appears to result in the replacement of parts of the buildings with pressure-treated wood or plastic.
Many buildings sit vacant with leaking windows and roofs covered with plastic or inappropriate repairs.
Demolition occurs whenever possible. Alternatives are not sought.
Require the University Health Network to sell all of these houses individually at arms length. Individual homeowners in the neighborhood are doing a very good job of maintaining old houses and providing affordable rental units.

Gord Perks advised me that he and the city inspectors had been on this for several years, but although they can require basic repairs, building code does not define beauty. I am sure Historic value would be even harder to define. We can’t force the UHN to sell and expropriation is at best very difficult and probably imposable. So they are here to stay.

Other things we can do to protect existing housing.
1. Email me with ideas
2. Advise me of any further deterioration of these houses.
3. Write to Gord Perks or your favorite Politician aboutprotecting Historic and affordable housing in Parkdale.
3. Tell anyone looking for land for big institutions, apartments or condos that Parkdale already paid.

Take a walk past the UHN houses on Close and Dunn below. Follow uhn on this site.  Jack Gibney

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The Sad Stollery Story

Stollerys 1902 Men’s store at 11 Bloor St W and Yonge could not be protected because it was not Historically Designated. It was part of the Historic Yonge Street Heritage Conservation District Study area. That did not help, a special by law was passed April 2, 2015 to exclude it and other properties from the study area. We cannot assume that because it is beautiful and we love it that it will survive. Historical Socities can only bring things to your attention. The Art Deco stone carvings were removed, hopefully to have some small place in the ultra-modern new design.  At decision time developers are very resourceful and persuasive.  Lets keep our historic buildings beautiful so they will survive the approaching popularity contest with steel and glass.
Following is a pictorial story of Stollerys 1902 c to 2015-01.

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Roncesvalles Ave west side

We start at the lake shore and walk north on the west side.  Click any picture to start where you wish. Let us know how you like it.

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