Photos of Yonge and Gould before and after the fire
The fire at Yonge and Gould this morning is one of those events that just makes me cringe. No, there wasn't a profound human tragedy at the scene of the early morning blaze -- though two firefighters are reported to have fallen through a collapsed roof -- but the building that was destroyed was, despite its recent lack of upkeep, a significant heritage structure in Toronto. Once known as the William Reynolds Block, it was built in 1888 and spent much of its life as a hotel before being converted to housing,offices and street-front businesses back in the late 1970s.
After its north facade crumbled in the spring, the developer who owns the building filed a demolition request in early July, which city councillors managed to delay by designating the building a heritage site. From that point in time, it sat in a sort of limbo -- until this morning. Some are speculating that today's fire is a suspicious one because of the developer's desire to demolish the building, but there's yet to be proof of any wrongdoing other than the profound neglect of what should have been recognized as a valuable structure to the city, which, to be honest, is almost as bad.
Photo by Budman.TV
Photo by Sean Galbraith.
A look back at the William Reynolds Block (captions above each image)
Post wall collapse (Photo by Tomasz Bujagski)
The wall collapse (Photo by Jen Tse)
1970s (Toronto Archives)
1980s (Toronto Archives)
Ca 1940s as the Edison Hotel (Toronto Archives)
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