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Development: Out with the Old, In with the New?

Toronto is a city in transition. The debate goes on as to whether or not we are truly one of the world's greatest cities, or we are simply a contender; waiting in the wings for our moment to show the world what we can do. Along the way one of the major growing pains that we are dealing with is what should we do with our old buildings?

The scarcity of land combined with the never-been-higher demand for condos and housing in the downtown core means many old buildings are being bought simply for the dirt that's under them rather than the 100+ years of history that they contain inside their 4 walls. Should we fight to preserve our history, or should we stop being so sentimental and grow up (literally).

When it comes to the developers, the worst is often assumed as the recent case of Walnut Hall on Shuter Street illustrated. When the historic building collapsed a few weeks back, rumors immediately started that it might have been deliberate sabotage. Would a developer or land owner stoop so low as to destroy an historic building just so that they wouldn't have to worry about what to do with it?

The latest case in the save it or scrap it debate is the Pretzel Bell building at Adelaide and Simcoe. The ultra-chic Shangri-La condo development is wrestling with what to do with the nearly 200 year old Georgian-style building. The hope is that it can be salvaged or incorporated into the building in some way.

Photo from thebackboneflute from blogTO's Flickr Pool.


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