Parkdale Heritage Gets Love While ‘Area C’ Gets SPLAT.

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.


HDC Procedures PDF

Reference material on the Drake Hotel Developments:

Drake References

More Drake references

Vedeo on Why Densification. To save nature from urban sprawl.

Minni, the widow of Charles, operated a butcher shop there in 1913 per lost Toronto Greg Chown.

The Metropolitan School of Music at 1496 Queen St W

Heritage Preservation Services

Jack from Paul Farrelly. Here is Chapter 103 where all the heritage mandates

Paul Farrelly
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.

More information on the process of how the City of Toronto designates HCDs can be found in our terms of reference (see link below). This document also provides some guidance on how the built form and landscape survey is filled out:

Avenues and Mid-Rise Buildings Study
Kind regards, Sharon Hong

See also:
Ossington Community Association


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14 Responses to Parkdale Heritage Gets Love While ‘Area C’ Gets SPLAT.

  1. Gib Goodfellow says:

    Jack, your concern that the Drake hotel is no longer respecting the heritage of West Queen West with its plan to expand with an architecture that is at odds with the community is just. Your recognition that the use of red brick and some detailing referencing the architecture of the last century can make a modern building “fit.”
    Your examples are well chosen.
    In the Junction we have had some excellent examples of revitalization that fits but we have a glass condo on Dundas at Indian Road, ironically called Drake, that is the first intrusion. Another is threatened for the north west corner of Dundas and Pacific opposite a beautifully restored 125 year old block. We are hoping the developer will reconsider.
    Gib Goodfellow, former president of West Toronto Junction Historical Society

  2. Susan Slottow says:

    I am new to your articles, but I would love to be on your list.

    • jack gibney says:

      Susan, I copied you name and email into the subscription form on the Home page. You will now receive the subscription, thanks.

  3. IJ says:

    Thank you Jack and team for all the work you did on this subject – I think you really got this right. I live on wilson park and although there are sites west/east of Jameson that could be developed I would hate to see 14 story concrete buildings replace them. Agree the efforts should be to have zones as ‘contributing’ / ‘non contributing’ as you have outlined below.
    thanks again,

  4. jack gibney says:

    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.”

  5. Eric says:

    This is important work. Thank you! I agree with everything you said.

    Losing the old buildings east of the Drake would be a shame and I don’t find the proposed addition suitable. The massing is too overbearing and the design is quite jarring, when compared to the original building that will remain. If they need to add more space, it would be ideal if the original facades remained and the addition was set back, above and behind them.

    Regarding the new building on Brock Ave., I agree that it is rather imposing and some heritage attributes would be nice. As it is, the charming homes will be in its shadow. Perhaps the developer could consider elements of the design of 151 Lakeshore Rd E, Mississauga, ON – at least for the bottom floors if nothing else. I think that building is a great example of a new building designed to look old. It is in Port Credit, which is a tourist district.

    In general, I strongly support any effort to protect old buildings, restore them, and ensure new development respects them.

    Old buildings are more than structures, more than history lessons and more than architecture. They are markers that identify and differentiate historic neighbourhoods. They literally say “you are now in the historic village of XYZ” – which is very important from an economic and community pride perspective.

    If these old buildings are lost, the neighbourhoods will be lost with them – reduced the meaningless names on maps. The “markers” will be gone so there will be no sense of place. Worst of all, all the new buildings would look identical to any other new development across Toronto.

    The history would be gone.

    The “markers” that define the neighbourhood would be gone.

    The neighbourhood’s unique charm would be gone.

    And the neighbourhood itself would become gobbled up – now just another nondescript part of Toronto.

    I went on a bit there. Sorry. It is something I feel strongly about. Lemme know if I can help.

    • jack gibney says:

      Thank you for the picture if Orangeville Heritage and for the words of support. I added the picture to section 4.4. Thank you.

    • Hi Eric, this is all spot-on. A letter from you on this issue, pertaining to both the excluded Shaw-Dufferin and Jameson-Roncesvalles segments, would be great. The West Side Community Council made it easy to do here… you could just cut your awesome remarks and paste them into the email box which is pre-addressed to all the right people. Info and email box here:

  6. Two links that readers might find useful or interesting:

    1. Inside Toronto/Parkdale Villager has an article out today (by Hilary Caton) discussing this issue:

    2. Those interested in giving feedback to the City on the draft Heritage recommendations can do so by Dec 20 (deadline was extended); info, talking points, and a blank email form addressed to all the relevant Heritage Study people (including consultant, Planners, and Councillors) available here:

  7. Jack, thanks for your insightful discussion of what is a truly crucial issue.

    I agree with your assessment of the Drake expansion. There remains a concern that this will demolish two heritage buildings, about which City Planning recently wrote a 30-page ‘Intention to Designate’ report (worth a read—see The report goes into detail about the clear heritage value not just of the buildings, but the area which the consultant thought lacked sufficient integrity for an HCD, notwithstanding the 93 Victorians, Great Hall, Old Post Office, Gladstone Hotel, etc.

    Re Western Parkdale: super-interesting discussion here. And your observation that HCDs contain both ‘contributing’ and ‘non-contributing’ buildings is especially important: many don’t realize that non-contributing buildings *can* be replaced; it’s just that an HCD will ensure that they don’t get replaced by overlarge mid-rises or highrises of the sort that quickly transformed King St. West into a dark condo canyon.

  8. Pauline says:

    I am following the Sunnyside Historical Society posts with great interest and the work you are doing to preserve the Queen Street storefronts. I can only imagine how beautiful this neighbourhood was before the highway cut it (Parkdale) off from the lake…I remember the railway stop at the foot of Ronces. And the Greyhound station where McDonalds is now…and Woolworths on Queen…and before all the apartments of the 50s and 60s were built. I live on Dowling Ave and often wonder at how beautiful … and residential it must have been before the apartments and the retirement home were built between King and Queen St My parents owned a property on Dunn that was expropriated for the football field for Parkdale Collegiate. They moved to Wilson Park…where I grew up as a child. I have lived on Pearson, Galley, Roncesvalles, Sorauren, Garden, Fern Aves…and have seen oh so many changes over the years. Wouldn’t live anywhere else. Think you are doing a terrific job. Would love to see a pic of Dowling Ave West side before the apts. if it is ever worthy of doing a post on that. And if any pics exist.

    I think that we should have more regulation to retain the heritage of this neighbourhood during the planning and infrastructure before developers break ground. Someone needs to have a vision of the future that also respects the past so we don”t lose our hostory.

    Thanks for all that you do.

Your feedback is important.