17 Close Ave, The Heritage Destruction Game Part 1

17 Close Ave until May 2014 when it was demolished!

17 Close Ave until May 2014 when it was demolished!

We entrusted maintenance of these houses to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and now one of them is gone! We lose history and beauty, also fewer houses means higher prices. Was this carelessness or intentional? It was not diligence.

How to Play the Heritage Destruction Game.

Hide the historic beauty until people forget about it. Paint it, cover it with siding or stucco. Allow deterioration with no maintenance or repairs like plastic on roofs that causes rot.
Replace historic features with minimal unpainted wood fix ups with no detailing.
Repair arches unevenly and with unmatching brick and mortar.
Eventually something becomes dangerous and, hallelujah, you get a demolition order!

It is telling that a local resident who reported this wants to remain anonymous. Lets call her Alice.

Alice told me she, “Came home one night to a demolition fence having been put up and it was gone within two weeks. We learned the city inspector gave the option for demolition or providing structural support (one wall was starting to bow out) and they opted for demolition. Tragic in my opinion since housing is in high demand in this neighbourhood.

1-17 Close are all owned by the University Health Network, as well as at least two houses on Springhurst and a few on Dunn south of long term care facility.

There are no known plans to sell or develop the land and any future development would need to be vetted by the city. I thought there was now a height restriction in effect in Parkdale after 22 Close was built in the 70s, but I could be wrong.

In 2002 the hospital wanted to expand south (and tear down the houses), but instead built north and opened the rehab facility in 2004.

Since it’s publicly held land, by a hospital, it’s quite a long process to change anything at all so we, as tenants would have a pretty good idea several years in advance of any potential changes. So they are basically holding the houses we live in until such time as they might consider expanding the hospital.”

The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, that became the University Health Network, is the landlord for these properties. Here is a copy of the amendment adopted by Toronto City Council in 2002:    http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/2002/agendas/council/cc020618/yk9rpt/cl008.pdf . It says the THN became “responsable to maintain the exterior and the properties of 82 Dunn Avenue and 1 to 17 Close Avenue”. Actually 17 Close deterioriated until it had to be demolished.

Now 17 Close Ave is gone forever. Something needs to be fixed here.

17 Close Avenue was built between 1903 and 1903 per Goads maps.  All of its Victorian charm had been carefully hidden before the demolition.  The roof was covered with white plastic, the rusticated stone painted white, the bay windows covered with plastic or plywood the porch replaced with old pressure treated wood and there is a cheap foundation covering. The distinctive Hexagonal windows were popular around 1910 ; page 117 Ontario House Styles, Robert Mikel. The oval window was in good condition.  Prior to the addition of the bay window the style was Edwardian Classicism. Growing institutions are devouring our stock of historic homes.”

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Read about it in The UHN Heritage Destruction Game at 17 Close Ave Part 2

NOTICE: Roncesvalles Ave Toronto has been added to the ‘Every Street and Building’ list on the right.

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