midtown toronto heritage

A huge chunk of Toronto might soon get heritage protection

In the face of profound growth and redevelopment, a huge number of properties could be added to the heritage register in Toronto. Pending city council approval, over 250 buildings in Midtown would gain heritage status, which would make it difficult for developers to secure demolition permits without a thorough review process.

The properties in question would be located on Yonge St. as well as Eglinton, Mt. Pleasant and Bayview avenues. According to Councillor Josh Matlow, who's helped to spearhead a review of city planning policies in the area, the impetus is "to protect what’s left of Midtown’s architectural heritage."

As such, many of the buildings recommended for protection are two storey main street storefronts that typically don't get much fanfare when it comes to preservation. And yet, it's precisely these buildings that contribute to overall character of Midtown.

"It’s imperative that we identify an efficient and effective method for staying ahead of the wrecking ball when it comes to our ability to preserve the historical structures, sites and even views that help tell Toronto’s story," Matlow explains.

The desire to be proactive about preservation stems at least in part from last year's demolition of a historic bank at Yonge and Roselawn, which was widely criticized by the community. In the absence of heritage status, the building was torn down virtually overnight before efforts could be made to save it.

This wide reaching scope of this plan, however, is sure to make it a contentious issue at city council. According to the CBC, a variety of developers and property owners have already questioned the board's recommendations.

Given the current standards for heritage protection, many of the buildings on the proposed list are dubious candidates for protection. So get ready for some fireworks when council convenes to debate this item.

Lead photo by

Derek Flack


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