110 maitland street

These historic Toronto mid and low rise apartment buildings have been vacant for years

Three apartment buildings in Toronto have sat vacant for years amidst a housing crisis.

During lockdown rental prices went down in the city but recently that is turning around and Toronto is returning to bidding wars over units.

The city made promises to expand opportunities the so-called "missing middle" - duplexes and low-rise walk-up apartments housing forms in Toronto, yet three low to mid rise apartments with easy access to transit and services remain vacant.

A historic building at 110 Maitland Street has been boarded up since the summer of 2018.

"Why with the affordable housing crisis in Toronto the city hasn't acquired it?" asked one person on Twitter.

Known as The Crystal Gardens, this two-storey plus basement, walk-up building built in 1929 is in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood, according to the Architectural Conservancy of Toronto.

It was designed by architect Herbert Charles Roberts who was known for designing apartment buildings. It is not listed on the Toronto heritage registry.

Documents indicate developer, Minto bought the building. Minto did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There are no development or building permit applications currently filed for the property, the City of Toronto confirms. So it seems likely it will sit vacant for a while unless Toronto's pending vacant home tax spurs the owner into action.

65 Kendal Avenue

The Kendal Apartments at 63 – 65 Kendal Avenue have been vacant for years.

In the Annex, the Kendal Apartments at 63 – 65 Kendal Avenue have been vacant for years, according to a Toronto Star article. People were given eviction notices for renovations back in 2013 but nothing has happened at the dilapidated building.

The city approved a heritage evaluation back in 2018 because low-rise, multi-unit apartment buildings are rare in the area.

"65 Kendal is one of the few examples of this type of residential built form in the neighbourhood," the document reads.

But it is not currently designated on the Heritage Register. According to the ACO Toronto, the Kendal Apartments were built in 1913 and are at risk.

The city confirms there is an active building permit for 63 Kendal Ave. described as a "proposal for interior alterations to all floors and all units" of the three-storey apartment building. City staff members are in the process of contacting the property owner to follow up on status of this permit, spokesperson Diane Morrison tells blogTO.

There are changes proposed to the mid-rise apartment building at 387 Sherbourne St. This building in south Cabbagetown is a heritage property and was damaged by fire in 2017. Like the other two buildings, this apartment has sat vacant.

"There was a fire at 387 Sherbourne Street three years ago," one person wrote on Twitter. "It remains vacant and boarded up, rather than repaired and housing people again."

387 Sherbourne Street

A proposal for 387 Sherbourne Street would add a 45-storey using parts of the current building at the base.

A development application currently under review proposes to retain portions of the existing building but it will transform the now four-storey building into a 45-storey residential tower.

The plan includes 32 rental replacement units for those lost in the development. The tower would be a mix of condo and rental units.

Lead photo by

Adam Wynne

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