The Heritage Conservation District recommendations met with a very mixed reception, especially from the original initiators of the process.
Dima Cook of FGDMA presented the recommendations of the study. FGDMA had looked up the dates of every existing building and carefully considered their condition and heritage value. They met with the public and had two additional meetings with a working group.
We were each given adhesive dots with which to ‘vote’ and indicate our feelings about the recommendations. Partial results are shown on the following slides.
Area A, (shown above) from Roncesvalles to a little west of Macdonell. They recommended no Heritage Conservation District and the probable designation of specific buildings. Their research indicated that most of the long strip of two-story buildings on the north of Queen in this area was built around the 1950s. My preferences: I would like to see the billboards taken off the Ocean View Hotel at the south east corner of Roncesvalles and Queen. I would like to see a small Heritage Conservation District centered around the four corners at the Ocean View Hotel to the Parkdale Theater at Triller. Quite a few of the larger buildings in area A are definitely worthy of designation.
Area B from west of Macdonell to Dufferin. A Heritage Conservation District was recommend. Opinion: Happy.
Area C from Dufferin to Shaw. Not recommended for Heritage Conservation District. The residents of the area were very evidently surprised and disappointed by this recommendation. They sounded articulate and well informed. I was fortunate enough to have been able to attend the two working group meetings where this was discussed. There was significant push-back from business operators and building owners who found the requirements of operating within a Heritage Conservation District to be an annoyance. Opinion: The reason given for rejecting HCD was that the historic buildings remain only on the north side of Queen Street. There is a very large residential area made up of beautifully preserved historical houses north of Queen Street between Dufferin and Shaw extending as far north as Dundas. This neighborhood is very connected to Queen Street by their common architectural styles and the period in which their buildings were created. This community loves this Heritage. This is an intangible but important asset. In the short term business people may find HCD an annoyance. Let’s minimize that. In the long run it will attract tourists to the area and to Toronto. Preservation made Philadelphia a destination. Perhaps by reducing the HCD requirement to Heritage Conservation Streetscape we can win the business people over. I describe HCS later.
Area D Shaw to Bathurst Recommended as Heritage Conservation District. This seems to have attracted general approval.
All four areas seen from the air over Queen St West.
Parkdale looking east. Heritage Conservation Streetscape: At a recent conference the Toronto and East York Community Preservation Panell introduced the terms Heritage Conservation Landscape and Heritage Cultural Landscape to try to deal with the new complex situations arising. For example preserving Kensington Market which is not comprised primarily of architecture but of culture. West Queen West is of largely visual value and so I propose the following description for a Heritage Conservation Streetscape or Landscape as it may be called.
Heritage Conservation Streetscape Description. "I believe preserving the heart of the village means preserving the Streetscape. Preserve the original fronts of the buildings above the first floor, ensuring the windows retain the original look, while not regulating the materials they may be made of. The sight lines above the buildings are important too. We do not want to see condo towers behind historic buildings. Leave the apartment interiors unrestricted as they will be unseen by the public. Leave the design of the appearance of the main floor store fronts to the businesses and the BIA. Replacement buildings should fit in with the original look even though new built can never make anyone very happy." Jack Gibney.
Additional feedback will be considered until Dec 13, 2016 by Dima Cook at email@example.com.