Filmores building has heritage value

Dennis Hanagan – 

Toronto community council wants a Downtown building, more than 100 years old, to be placed on the city’s heritage register, but the owner hopes that won’t prevent it from becoming something other than what it is today—a strip club.

A letter from lawyers Davies Howe Partners to the Toronto Preservation Board in June said the owner of Filmores at Dundas E. and George St. has tried over the years to rejuvenate the site.

The building’s interior has been entirely replaced and is “devoid” of heritage features, said the letter from John Alati. It noted that adult entertainment has so far been the only use that makes the hotel financially viable.

However, the letter pointed out “our client does not want to operate an adult entertainment club on the site forever” and wants to be part of the city’s efforts to reinvest in and revitalize the area.

Filmores owner is looking for assurance that heritage preservation efforts along the Dundas East corridor “do not risk stifling new development.”

A city report says the early 1900s building was originally a small walk-up apartment. It was designed by Toronto architects Symons and Rae and completed in 1913.

“The building is valued as an early 20th century commercial building with Edwardian Classical styling that was designed to address the curve on Dundas St. E.,” says the report.

Meanwhile, a June 2 Preservation Board meeting approved a recommendation to include 201 and 203 Gerrard on the city’s heritage register.

“The properties contain late 19th century semi-detached house form buildings that bookend the southeast corner of Gerrard and Sherbourne streets,” said a report to the board.

However, Gordon Henderson, owner of 203 Gerrard, questioned the buildings’ heritage significance. “It’s a beautiful old building but is it historic? No one famous has lived at either (building),” he said.

He said it seemed “counter productive” to consider 201 Gerrard as a heritage site when there’s the possibility a proposed “ultra-modern” 13-storey building could be built within feet of it.