Dennis Hanagan –
Ryerson students have started a study of Queen St. E. in Riverside from the Don River to DeGrassi St. hoping it’ll lead to the area being designated an official city heritage conservation district (HCD) to preserve its old buildings.
They researched the history of a block on Queen’s north side, east of Broadview. It takes a lot of work—poring through archives and tax assessments, going to the different buildings for visual inspection—so they’re enlisting the help of 15 volunteers from the community to complete the work.
“A heritage study is another way of managing growth for an area,” said student David Addington with Ryerson’s School of Urban and Regional Planning.
“Heritage designation is an interesting way of not restricting things. (Instead) it shapes it in a way the community wants to, what you like about your community, what you want to hold onto. You know change is going to happen, but how is that change going to look. I think that’s what an HCD can be valuable for,” he said.
Students presented their project to the Riverdale Historical Society (RHS). One of their suggestions is to turn the 120-year-old Broadview Hotel (Jilly’s) into a cultural icon, or arts centre, as the 124-year-old Gladstone hotel in Parkdale has become.
The city’s archives are helpful for studying a building’s historical value, especially when its façade has been altered. Student Estuardo Ibarra found that out when he encountered a laundromat.
“It was pretty much covered in stucco. There are definitely some buildings that have been retrofitted and because of that it’s a bit difficult to understand the extent of their historical value. That’s where archival research comes in andhelps out,” he said.
“It was pretty much covered in stucco. There are definitely some buildings that have been retrofitted and because of that it’s a bit difficult to understand the extent of their historical value. That’s where archival research comes in and helps out,” he said.
At the RHS meeting, the audience heard an HCD designation can increase property values and taxes. Once a district is designated, property owners can’t opt out. There are insurers that specialize in HCD properties.
East of Riverside is Leslieville, which is in for a study of its own.
Community council approved the study in May after councillor Paula Fletcher said landowners there are looking at redeveloping their properties.
“Leslieville is experiencing some interest from landowners for mid-rise buildings. It is desirable to have guidelines in place to support vibrant, high quality, mixed-use development,” she said.
The study will guide redevelopment to achieve appropriate built form and character, building height, massing, architectural treatment and streetscape.
The city’s planning department will consult the local community in the study.