Splat: Proposed developments spoil Heritage in WQW, while Parkdale Heritage Gets Love. Making the best of ‘Noncontributing’ buildings. Beautiful Heritage Developments wanted!
On Dec 13, 2016 the Sunnyside Historical Society made a unanimous agreement that, “all of West Queen West from Bathurst to Roncesvalles should be included in a heritage conservation district.”
Notice: On this web site the articles express the opinion of the author. On important issues we take the time to reach a joint opinion and we will say so. This article is therefore the opinion and research of Jack Gibney only.
1.1 a The Drake Hotel is the subject of much West Queen West pride. Built of heritage, beautifully constructed and exciting, it draws business to West Queen West. However, plans to expand into the Second Empire buildings to the east have gone astray.
1.1 b Splat: geometric architecture by Diamond Schmitt Architects is being considered by the Drake. This Pseudo post-modern design keeps the heritage building, only to cut it up and belittle it. Still the ground floor and the modern design of the central second floor are undeniably beautiful. To be fair to Diamond Schmitt I must recognize that this design will bring them far more attention than heritage restoration and extension. But, as we learned from Marilyn Monroe, after you get everyone’s attention it may be hard to gain their respect.
1.1 c As Diamond Schmitt has demonstrated for us, our heritage will be belittled by the Splat factor.
1.1 d It is with no little trepidation that I criticize the Drake. These people have done so much for the neighbourhood and one can see in their plans an attempt to compromise. I wish they would reconsider.
1.2 a A development proposal for the underutilized site of the Beer Store is surrounded by beautiful grand old Victorians. With some design adjustments the two could be harmonized. Examples are included in section 4 of this article.
1.2 b This development is not at war with the neighbours, but it diminishes them unnecessarily. The new face will be four storeys towering over two. New glass and cement just don’t look right. This could be so much better.
1.2 e Picture the new building in this gap. Add a few heritage features and It would fit in better. This picture is taken from the front yard of one of two twin heritage houses.
1.2 f The architect has illustrated the contrasting four storey height of the front wall.
1.2 g The entire surrounding neighbourhood is still largely heritage. The white building, like the Beer Store, is on industrial land bordering on the tracks. The photo is taken two short blocks from the heart of Old Parkdale.
1.3 b What 62 Melbourne looked like before it was demolished.
1.3 c 62 and 60 Melbourne Ave, the replacement. This is more efficient use of valuable land, no doubt profitable for all concerned and it provides more housing. The design uses great bricks but is at war with the Victorian surroundings.. The ideal solution would have been a design of Second Empire, Romanesque, Gothic, Queen Anne or Polychrome. Why not????! As it is, it diminishes the value of the neighbourhood.
2.1 a PARKDALE LOVES HISTORY. The Metropolitan School of Music resided at 1496 Queen St W, north east of Queen and Macdonell from 1895 to 1912. Here is a tasteful mid rise building to inspire local architects to model new buildings after.
2.1 b This c 1905 postcard shows three horse drawn wagons. Looking east toward Macdonell we see the railings and circular peak on the roof. Also notice the double points of the roof to the right, that is the great Gothic building at 1408 Queen St W atop Jameson Ave. 1410 burned. Minnie, widow of Charles, operated a butcher shop there in 1913 per Lost Toronto Greg Chown. There is a Reference at the end of this article.
2.1 c 1496 Queen Street W still stands and is being extensively and lovingly renovated. The ugly steel fire escapes are gone, formaldehyde insulation is being carefully removed and new life is being given to this beautifully planned renovation. Well done!!
2.3 a Local artist Amita Gupta loves Parkdale heritage architecture, at gallery 1313 until Dec 18. 2016. Beautiful.
2.3 b About Amita.
2.3 c Amita met the Sunnyside Historical Society on our first historical walk years ago.
2.4 The Parkdale BIA and Parkdale Land Trust celebrate plans for a Heritage Conservation District. Parkdale is a wonderful supportive community!!!!!
3.1.1 West Parkdale needs an HCD to ensure the replacements for these ‘Non-contributing Properties’ will display heritage values. These simple two story storefronts are difficult to defend. They do not contribute to the heritage value of the district. This area also needs more residential to support local businesses. There is little residential to the south of Queen St here due to the lake. West of Triller on the north side of Queen St West. There are 9 by quick count.
3.1.2 Looking east from Triller Ave towards Sorauren Ave, the eight buildings in the centre of this block are very non-contributing. Their redevelopment is inevitable. If this were a Heritage Conservation District, HCD, the replacements would be required to conform to the local heritage character.
3.1.2c South side of Queen looking east towards Wilson Park. This little strip plaza is the earliest example I can recall ever seeing. The survey says 1920 to 1954. It looks 1940’s.
3.1.2d south side Queen looking east from Wilson Park. Well preserved classic triple bay windows.
3.1.2e North Side of Queen looking east from Calendar. Better housing might have more appeal if we could keep the rhythm of the storefronts.
3.1.3 East from Sorauren Ave towards Fuller along Queen St W.
3.1.4 Buildings midway between Sorauren and Fuller Ave. The Odeon Theatre with dark brick and white stone from the Art Deco period. These mostly plain buildings struggle to make a living.
3.1.6 West, back along Queen towards Fuller at long strip of 2 storey buildings.
3.1.6 West, back along Queen towards Fuller at long strip of 2 storey buildings.
3.1.7 From Fuller looking east to Macdonell. The block is bracketed by 3-story heritage buildings. The two storey buildings on this block are quite attractive. That is in Architect-Speak; ‘Fine Grain” Buildings.
3.1.8 Looking west from Macdonell along Queen S W. These are outstanding buildings.
4.1 A wonderful example of a Second Empire style replacement building that fits into a heritage neighbourhood. On the east side of Yonge south of St Clair.
4.2 Attractive three storey replacement. Looking west at the north side of Dundas towards Ossington.
4.3 Stunning five story polychrome building with Romanesque-like arches at Ossington and College. Unfortunately the big box style ground floor retail was slow to rent.
4.4 This example of Historical Preservation at 151 Lakeshore Rd in Mississauga was provided by Eric Code of the Etobicoke Historical Society.
5. HCD Policies and Non-Contributing buildings. On December 8, 2016 the Sunnyside Historical Society voted unanimously that a Heritage Conservation District for Parkdale should include everything from Jameson to Dufferin. We considered the 'non-contributing’ buildings in the west end. If they are replaced within an HCD they will be required to adhere to the look of the architectural period. The large number of valued buildings in the west end were also considered in our decision. We refer to HCD Toronto Procedures Policies and Terms reference PDF. There is a link to this at the end of this article. Key pages follow.
5 HCD Policies Page p. 36 discussing the distinction. I wish to thank Sharon Hong for sending me this PDF and many other references. I must also thank Jessica Wilson of Ossington area for finding the references to ‘non-contributing’ in the same document for me.
5 HCD Policies Page p. 44 which addresses demolition of contributing buildings
5 HCD Policies Page p. 47 (the glossary definition of a contributing building), and by omission the definition of non-contributing buildings.
5 HCD Policies Page p. 48 (definition of a non-contributing building). Buildings that do not contribute to the heritage character of the area can be removed and replaced. In an HCD the replacement must ‘fit in’.
6.1 Study Report for your reference. District A, Roncesvalles to Macdonell. I notice the label "CAMH Designed Bike Rack". Actually the Bike Racks were designed by my friend Phil Sarazen and I based mostly on art by clients of the Parkdale Activity and Recreation Center (PARC). Visit steelwhimsy.com to see many of the sculptures. Victor Willis at PARC would confirm this. http://parc.on.ca/about/staff-team/
6.2 Study Report for your reference. District B, Macdonell to Dufferin.
6.3 Study Report for your reference. Age of buildings, at a glance.
6.4 Study Report for your reference. Buildings the Study liked.
Hi Jack from Sharon Hong,… I want to emphasize that the designation of an individual building is different than designation of an HCD. In fact, individual buildings are designated under their own section, Part IV, of the Ontario Heritage Act, whereas HCDs are protected under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. The nature of protection is slightly different. For example, attributes in the interior of a building can be identified for protection on a property that is individually designated under Part IV. However, only exterior attributes that are visible from the public realm/street are identified for protection in an HCD.