Save the Historic Buildings 35 Liberty St. & 65, 61 Jefferson Ave. Toronto from demolition
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CRITICAL UPDATE - April 25, 2018
The Toronto Heritage Board recommended that the development and demolition of the buildings in question be halted and that a complete study be performed on the architectural and cultural heritage of 35 Liberty St. & 65, 61 Jefferson Ave.
This is good news HOWEVER,
Councillor Perks, the local Ward 14 Councillor's position is that the City of Toronto must move ahead and allow the demolition of heritage buildings that are now flagged by the Heritage Board. His argument that the internal planning wing of Toronto Heritage Services has already studied this and approved the demolition but this is incorrect! Only the building being saved 25 Liberty was studied and the buildings 35 Liberty St. & 65, 61 Jefferson Ave. were ignored!
This is why the Heritage Board on April 19, 2018 recommended to halt the demolition!
Councillor's other argument is that the developer might renege on other City commitments including housing assistance to the displaced artists and help to much needed social issues. But this is not an AND / OR argument! Both the City of Toronto and the developer are bound and responsible for BOTH. The destruction of heritage properties should never be sacrificed against contributions to City social funding as heritage can never be brought back. Funding has always and will always be chased and found.
We now ask Toronto and East York Community Councillors on May 2nd to agree that Heritage buildings cannot be sacrificed for any reason. That the developer must live up to its obligations to protect the property it has undertaken to develop as recommended by the Toronto Heritage Board and the City must live up to its responsibility to see this is done correctly!
--------- original petition posting -----------------------
Heritage Registered buildings, in the heart of Liberty Village, will be torn down to make way for a high rise office tower!
The proposed development will see the historic face of West Liberty Village altered along the entire block from Atlantic Ave. to Jefferson Ave. The very character of Liberty Village would change irrevocably to its detriment, losing the charm sometimes called Liberty Village's campus feel or at times competing in significance with the Distillery District as Toronto's historic district west of the CN Tower.
Buildings at 35 Liberty and both 65 and 61 Jefferson will see the wrecking ball. We must take action now. They deserve our protection.
We need your help to stop this!
Sign our petition and Save Liberty!
(if you are passionate about Saving Liberty and want to sign now, please do! If you want to read all the details please continue)
_____ History, Facts & Details _____
Today, development in Toronto and specifically Liberty Village, stands as some of the most ambitious in North America. Most importantly, West Liberty Village has some of Toronto's best examples of grand Victorian architecture, built for enterprises, that were key to the evolution of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and even North America and the Commonwealth, at the turn of the 19th century! Some developments are being undertaken with care to protect these historic relics and symbols from our past, while other developments propose to erase that history forever.
The Ontario Wind Engine and Pump Company's building still stands on the entire block at the south side of Liberty Street between Atlantic and Jefferson. Our header consists of 2 images, the familiar corner of Liberty & Atlantic looking southwest in 2005, and OWEPC's letterhead from August 11, 1899 showing 35 Liberty as the first and only brick building built at that time. OWEPC's innovation, achievements and contributions soon spread across Canada, the United States and the Commonwealth. As their namesake suggests, The Ontario Wind Engine and Pump Company's specialisation was the production of wind powered pumps and electrical generators. OWEPC became Canada's foremost and original green energy company contributing to Toronto's fabric for 50+ years.
- 35 Liberty was built 1st in 1898. It is not protected and demolition is proposed.
- 25 Liberty was built 3rd in 1901. The brick is still exposed and it is protected from demolition by the City of Toronto's Heritage Board.
- 65 Jefferson was built 4th in 1906, as the twin to 25 Liberty. It is not protected and demolition is proposed.
- 61 Jefferson was built 5th in 1910. The brick is still exposed and it is not protected and demolition is proposed.
- These buildings are physically conjoined. They have passages between them on various floors and are also joined through an underground basement. They were built with the intention to serve as one whole complex.
The Toronto Heritage Board has recognised and added the entire property to The Toronto Heritage Register consisting of 25 and 35 Liberty Street and 57, 61 and 65 Jefferson Avenue and 56 and 58 Atlantic Avenue (also called 58 Atlantic Ave for City convenience) but only 25 Liberty has protection from demolition.
In 2005, the fronts of 35 Liberty and 65 Jefferson were covered with foam-board and stucco. This flimsy facade temporarily hides their exterior beauty. It should be removed and the buildings saved from the wrecking ball.
Mere foam-board and stucco should not determine the fate of these historic buildings when a simple removal can restore their beauty.
61 Jefferson is not obscured with foam-board and stucco yet demolition is pending. Every reason determined by the Heritage Board which now preserves 25 Liberty is of equal importance, if not more so, to the other buildings. such as the connecting building 25 Liberty has already been granted. They too embody the same historic beauty, relevance, design and construction as the spared building 25 Liberty.
This proposed development at 25 Liberty Street, will see the historic face of West Liberty Village altered along the entire block from Atlantic Ave. to Jefferson Ave. The very character of Liberty Village would change irrevocably to its detriment, losing the charm sometimes called Liberty Village's campus feel or at times competing in significance with the Distillery District as Toronto's historic district west of the CN Tower.
This change would represent the first major demolition of historic property in Liberty Village.
The building at 60 Atlantic Ave., opposite 25 Liberty, has been successfully preserved and their new development reflects and enhances the heritage of the existing building. On one side of Liberty is a shining example of preserving heritage and enhancing it with thoughtful development, on the other side is the impending destruction of heritage.
Please show your support and interest in preserving Liberty Street's history. The Ontario Wind Engine and Pump Co buildings need to remain intact in Liberty Village.
Sign Liberty's petition and tell our Councillors and Toronto Heritage Preservation in Liberty Village and our Provincial Minister.
- Councillor Gord Perks
- Councillor Mike Layton
- The Toronto Heritage Board’s Program Manager Tamara Anson-Cartwright.
- Provincial Minister Han Dong
- The Toronto & East York Community Council Members
Let them know that you want to protect the heritage of the neighbourhood. That you want the City to recognise that these remaining buildings, that are over 100 years old, need to be preserved and protected too. Foam-board and stucco must not determine the fate of these beautiful and historic buildings already recognised by the Heritage Board for their significance.
Please share this so we can Save Liberty!
_____ Other References _____
Read the article by the Sunnyside Historical Society.
City of Toronto Inclusion on the City of Toronto's Heritage Register
City of Toronto Proposed Development Applications at 25 Liberty Street (also known as 58 Atlantic Ave. comprised of 56, 58 Atlantic Avenue, 25 and 35 Liberty Street and 57, 61 and 65 Jefferson Avenue) file.
The recommendation by the Toronto Heritage Board on April 19, 2018 that the buildings be spared and that further research be completed regarding the architectural and cultural heritage of all the buildings in question.
Toronto Preservation Board consideration on April 19, 2018
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