Roncesvalles Heritage Attributes Mapping

Eric Charron, Staff Architect at Spencer R Higgins, Architect Inc. is making his first contribution to this website here. Views are those of the author.

As part of a City of Toronto Planning initiative, a massing study was begun in November 2015 for Roncesvalles Ave and Dundas Street West between Boustead Avenue and Sorauren Avenue. The study includes a review of built form and physical character analysis and how to accommodate growth.

A community walking tour of the study area was held in October 2016. The following city planning maps were developed as a result of this walk, along with consideration being given to the west side of Roncesvalles Avenue, which is excluded from the scope of the city planning study area.

The maps utilize a colour coding that pertains to the legend on page 1 of 8.

  • Areas identified in yellow indicate existing open areas in the “urban room of the street”, both public and private, that either presently serve an event or places to gather or could potentially be enhanced to do so in the future.

  • Buildings identified in solid red are heritage buildings designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. Buildings in red hatching are listed on the City of Toronto heritage register.

  • Buildings outlined in green are identified as displaying heritage character contributing elements that add to the collective memory and history of both Roncesvalles and Dundas Street West. A building with green hatching denotes having significant heritage character elements to warrant consideration of listing to the city’s heritage roster and future protection from demolition through designation.

Heritage Character Attributes of the Study Area

Roncesvalles and Dundas Street West have a particular history that has resulted in specific architectural typologies and characteristics. Not unlike other main streets in Toronto being considered for protections (through heritage districts), the sections of Roncesvalles and Dundas West being examined in this exercise identify specific structures that exemplify the following character contributing elements as a way of guiding contextual growth and development in the neighbourhood.

  • Continuous storefront cornice lines above the ground floor

  • Recessed storefronts

  • Transom windows (leaded or stained glass) near the top of ground floor shop windows

  • 20′-30′ wide shopfront widths to maintain a visual rhythm

  • One-to-Three storey articulated cornices detailed with dentils or corbelled brick or woodwork at roof lines

  • Buildings over 4 floors have a set-back from the street wall

  • 45 degree corner entrance doors at street intersections

  • Canvas awnings over shopfronts

  • Bay windows above ground floors

  • Articulated brickwork facades, brick pilasters and rose windows

  • Street art and painted wall murals

  • Bay and gable typology and dormer windows on detached and semi-detached residences

  • Front porches on detached and semi-detached residences

Rather than regulating all future development to strictly adhere to these elements as they exist in the neighbourhood, due consideration should be given to their contribution to the overall form and character of the urban room of the street that are represented through these qualities. New buildings, renovations and upgrades should be distinguishable from, compatible with, as well as subordinate to the heritage character of the study area.

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About Eric Charron

Staff Architect with Spencer R. Higgins, Architect Inc.
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2 Responses to Roncesvalles Heritage Attributes Mapping

  1. Judy Keeler says:

    Once history disappears, it does not come back. Toronto has been notorious in tearing down its history for development. The integrity of our neighbourhoods and the quality of our lives depend on being connected to what got us here and how to restore beauty and community in urban landscapes. Bravo to Jack Gibney for all his work and dedication.

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