145 balmoral avenue toronto

Gorgeous Art Deco building in Toronto is being torn down for new development

An underappreciated architectural gem is in the process of being erased from Toronto's urban fabric.

The end is nigh for a three-storey retirement residence building at 145 Balmoral Avenue, located on Avenue Road, just south of St. Clair Avenue West, as demolition crews chip away at the stylish structure that has graced the area for over 75 years.

Constructed in 1946 and modified in 1988, the building features a unique design mashing up the Art Deco and Structuralist styles of architecture that will soon be lost forever.

A redevelopment of the site was proposed by owner Amica Senior Lifestyles in late 2018, and the current building's fate was sealed two years later when City Planning recommended approval of a 13-storey senior's residence to replace the current facility despite outcry from locals.

Fencing was erected around the building at the start of May, and crews have since begun to tear down the charming old building.

Recent photos of the site show the building's west facade over Avenue Road has been removed, leaving a cross-section view of the gutted units and the structure's steel skeleton, exposed to the elements for the first time in over three-quarters of a century.

The teardown of 155 Balmoral — along with a pair of semi-detached houses to the east at 145 and 147 Balmoral — will make way for a much larger retirement residence, to be known as Amica at The Balmoral Club.

Designed by Montgomery Sisam Architects, the new building will maximize density on the site at the cost of the current edifice's stylistic contribution to the neighbourhood. It will bring 147 luxury units offering seniors independent living, assisted living and memory care options.

Aesthetics aside, the new residence will offer several improvements over the facility now being demolished. Its footprint is arranged around a south-facing courtyard wrapped with ground-floor amenities like a dining room, bistro and craft kitchen.

Additional amenities will be housed in a three-level section offering a library, conservatory, outdoor deck for light planting, gym, juice bar, dental suite, physio room, salon and pool.

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