Posts Tagged ‘North York’

a gold coloured weather vane with a rooster on it, bright blue sky in the background

Once again, it seems that no matter where in the city you go there will be construction.  There will be the demolition of single family homes to make way for condos or at the minimum, blocks of rowhouses.   The area around Yonge and Finch is no exception.

apartment building in the background, a street of single family dweelings in the foreground, early spring so no leaves on the trees, a few cars parked in driveways

I am not sure if it serves any purpose, perhaps it’s futile, but I’d like to think that documenting what we are removing is worthwhile.   The houses on Finch Avenue East like the one in this picture are small, but the lots on which they sit are large.

small white bungalow with brown roof, on large piece of land, car in driveway

That means that a developer can demolish four houses and turn around and build 17 townhouses in the same space.    That is what is happening near Finch and Willowdale.

three small white bungalows with windows and doors boarded up, small trees overgrown around them.

Although the properties were not fenced off, all access to the houses themselves was blocked, sigh.  It looked like a local garden centre was using the backyards of a couple of the houses.

side door of a white wood house with rickety porch and steps. three trees growing besie it, door is boarded up

below: View to a new development on the other side of Finch Avenue.  This is the type of development that the area is now zoned for.  A lot of these townhouses have been built in the last few years and I suspect that eventually they will replace all of the single family homes.

view looking down a driveway, two empty houses - one on each side of the driveway. Can see across the street to new townhouse development on the other side.

single family homes and large trees on Finch Ave

single family homes and large trees on Finch Ave

Between Willowdale Avenue and Yonge Street, there were a couple of other houses that are boarded up and empty. I am not sure what the plan is for them (there was no development proposal sign posted, instead there was a sign advertising the company that is providing the financing – for what?).

small bungalow with blue door, windows boarded up, large tree in front yard, apartment building behind,

The internet can be a wonderful thing.  In case you are interested, the development is the Ava Luxury Residence and it calls for heights and densities that are vastly over what is zoned for in the area.  For example, at 9 storeys it is 37 metres tall in an area zoned for 11 metres.  The plan was first filed in 2016 but because of the size of the development, it requires a zoning by-law amendment, official plan amendment, and site plan approval to effect the proposal – all which take time.   An OMB appeal pre-hearing was scheduled to occur a few days ago, with a hearing slated for June.  MM170085 is the OMB case number if you want to dive down that rabbit hole.

small bungalow with blue door, windows boarded up, large tree in front yard, sign in front yard advertising financing

This is 50 Finch East.  As you can see, there is a taller building on the other side of Kenneth Avenue.  Kenneth was to be the dividing line – keeping the higher buildings, and denser development, closer to Yonge Street.  I’m not sure what side of the development battle you’re on, but what’s the point of having a plan if the developers (with help from the OMB) keep disregarding it?

small bungalow on a corner lot, with windows and doors boarded up, larger apartment building behind.

As I walked back to my car, I chose to walk on a side street instead of on Finch.  As I turned a corner, I happened upon a house being demolished.  Fortuitous.  Serendipity.

a yellow digger loading rubble from a house demolition into a dump truck

It doesn’t take long to reduce a house to rubble and dust.  “Another one bites the dust” springs to mind.

close up of a digger demolishing a house

And so it goes.

Exploring new places often leads to interesting finds.  I’m not sure if you think demolition/redevelopment sites are interesting, but I came across this one when I went to Moccasin Trail (next blog, scroll up).

An empty building.  The grey hoardings completely block the view of whatever is inside.

grey plywood fence in front of a three storey brick rental apartment building that is empty and will be torn down in a residential neighbourhood

I tried walking the perimeter, but there is no access or viewpoint.  There are actually two buildings.  Apparently one of the buildings was damaged by fire (arson) in 2008.  The buildings have been empty since 2011.

a tall tree, winter time, stands in front of a grey plywood fence in front of a three storey brick rental apartment building that is empty and will be torn down

The old sign still stands beside the fence. It is faded enough that I can’t read it, even with some manipulation in photoshop.  The building in the background is also part of the redevelopment plan.

old faded sign on grass side yard beside grey plywood fence around building about to be demolished. Across the street is another building from the 1950s or 1960s.

The year on the development proposal sign is 2013.  It also states that three buildings will replace the ones being torn down, one of 10 storeys and two of 4 storeys.  That was six years ago.   In March 2017 a plan was approved by city council for an 8 storey condo and a 4 storey rental replacement building.

Development proposal sign in front of a three storey brick apartment building.

When I saw the state of the building above, I started taking some pictures.  I thought the building was empty.  But then I heard music coming from one apartment.  Then a woman came out on to a balcony to hang up a blanket.

40 moccasin trail building, three storey apartment

Two years ago, back in March of 2017, 12 of the 34 units were occupied.   I am not sure how many people are living there now.   When it was first built, it was probably quite nice – very suburban, very Don Mills.  Now the building is in very poor condition but I’m sure that’s because the landlord is waiting to be able to demolish the building.

papered over window and old white door on apartment, overgrown saplings in front

crooked metal railings beside a concrete set of stairs, brown and white building behind.

concrete steps, side of a brick building

overgrown trees in front of an apartment

City of Toronto report on this site (May 2017)

two low rise apartment buildings, grass between them and a large tree

Another story of changes underway;
more documentation of buildings about to disappear.

trees and overgrown yard, two large signs advertising townhouse developments to come

On a leafy stretch of Bayview Avenue, there are some buildings that now sit empty.  The weeds have taken over the yards, as have large signs advertising the townhouse development that will be built there.   Actually the signs are only on one yard, this one:

below:  There are curtains in the window but some shingles are missing and the frontyard is overgrown with weeds – 2716 Bayview Avenue, sitting empty.   If you drive past it on Bayview you’d probably miss it because of the large trees between the house and the street.

small brick house with attached garage, overgrown front yard, tiger lilies growing by the front, piles of mulch on driveway, some ivy on front of house, some shingles missing from the roof

below: Nature takes over very quickly if you let it.  The lilies haven’t lost to the thistles yet though.

thistles, orange tiger lilies, and ivy, growing in a garden at the front of a house

below: The backyard was very overgrown too. The side door was open but I didn’t go in.  The basement appears to be in good shape.

an open basement door on the side of a house, overgrown yard, pile of debris in the foreground

If you go to their website, only 7 townhouses are shown in the drawings while the properties on either side of it (4 in total) are included in the plans as “future development”.   If you look at the original application on the City of Toronto website, the whole plan called for 20 townhouses facing Bayview Ave and a single family dwelling facing the street behind.  Each townhouse is 4 storeys (including basement level which is half garage and driveway) and 18’9″ wide.  The above ground levels are 47′ deep.   The site drawings and architectural plans were from June 2017.   I am not sure why the discrepancy.  It’s not uncommon for changes to occur between the planning stage and the final product…   So take the measurements that I just gave you with a grain of salt.

below:  One house to the south, 2710 Bayview.  A newer style house than its neighbour with part of its front yard hidden behind a glass block wall.   It too is set back a large distance from the street.  Once upon a time, someone put some love and care into this house.   I hoped that it was well used in its time.

modern style house with glass brick wall in front, around a front porch, large spruce tree, overgrown driveway,

modern style house with glass brick wall in front, around a front porch, large spruce tree, overgrown driveway,

double red doors, front entrance way to an empty modern design house

below:  Moving north, this is 2720 Bayview.  There is evidence that large trees have already been cut down.  At the moment all the evidence is well hidden from passers-by.   A year ago, farther south on Bayview a developer cut down 30+ large trees without permits from the city because they were building townhouses on the site  The outcry was big but the penalty is small.

white stucco bungalow with the remains of a chopped up tree in front

below: But….  if you have permission to build townhouses, there is no way the trees can stay.  Any plan that involves creating 20 new townhouses in less space than four single houses doesn’t leave room for large trees.  Those will be a thing of the past on this stretch of Bayview.  The one below was so big that I couldn’t reach around the trunk of the tree.

a large mature broadleaf tree in summer, green

below: The fourth building, 2722 Bayview, was originally built as a residence, but it has been a medical clinic for decades.  If you peer in the window, there are still posters on the wall (Is It Flu?) and even reading material on the table ([something] Task Force).  There is a sign on the front door that says that 2 June 2017 was the last day the clinic was open.

interior of medical clinic, no longer used, looking in the window, chair, posters on wall,

weeds coing up through the cracks in the pavement of a parking lot in front of an unused medical clinic, front entrance of the clinic, full length windows

Lastly, I took a picture of this house too as it is beside the ones above.   The “Notice” sign on the fence was a bit of a surprise considering how new the house was.  My original assumption was that the house was going to be demolished.  In fact, the planning application says that the house will be moved to the back of the property and three townhouses will be built in front.  One driveway down the north side of the property will access both the new townhouses and the moved house.

Apparently the application was submitted in December 2016 –  However, I noticed that the original application called for three 3 storey townhouses (and is on the City of Toronto website as such).  The sign says three 4 storey townhouses and a three storey single family dwelling.  The house in the photo is only 2 storeys.

a city of Toronto blue and white notice of development sign is on a black wrought iron fence in front of a large stone faced two storey house with a large front yard, grass and shrubs

What I’ve also learned while researching these properties, is that there is an official document called, “Bayview Townhouse Design Guidelines” that covers Bayview Avenue from the 401 south to Lawrence Avenue East.  It was adopted by City Council late in 2015.   In fact, large portions of the city have design guidelines and you can find them online.

I was curious to find out how many ongoing development proposals/applications there are in the city.  There is an interactive searchable map online that I used.  When I searched on ward 25 (where the above sites are), it showed 52 locations.  When I tried searching on the whole city, there were too many results.  If you’re interested in development, you can play with the website too!

thistles, close up of flower part of thistle, one purple flower

weeds growing out of cracks in the pavement of a parking lot, handicapped parking sign still there.

Relentless

Ubiquitous

These are two apt words to describe construction in Toronto, or to be more precise, the tearing down of  older houses and building smaller condo units or townhouses in their place.  We are experiencing the downsizing of living space as land values continue climbing upwards.

I drove past this Bayview Avenue house on the weekend and was intrigued by the look of it – a pale yellow,  once grand older house now sitting empty.   Many of the mature trees that were in its front yard have been cut down so the house is now easily visible from the street.  I went back to that section of Bayview Avenue with my camera yesterday morning.

older two storey house, pale yellow, with black and white trim and black front door, mature trees in the front yard.

There wasn’t much of a chain across the front yard so it was easy to walk up to the house.  It looks like the front door hasn’t been used in quite some time.   The window appears to have an old fashioned storm window on the outside although the shutters look more modern.   I’d love to know the history of the house (How old is it?  I suspect that it was built when this section of Bayview was still on the fringes of the city and before Bayview became 5 lanes wide but I don’t know for sure.)

front door of an older house, number 2450, pale yellow walls, white frames around door and window, black door, black shutters,

Right next door is this large bungalow:

large bungalow set back from the street behind a few pine trees, brown roof, stone facing on the exterior, large lawn,

Originally built as a family home, this became the Bayview Hebrew School of the Arts in 2008.  The school is relocating and the building now sits empty.

nonsdescript white double doors as front entranceway of a house, flagstone steps and porch are buckling as is the ashphalt walkway leading to the front door.

looking through the front window into an empty building, looking through the back windows to the yard beyond.

Just up the street was this house.  It looks empty but there was a recycling bin beside the garage and some curtains in the windows so I didn’t wander up to the front door…. even though I really like that red door!  There was no chain across the driveway, nor were there any “keep out” signs.   Neither of those things would stop me, but they are good indicators that no one lives there anymore.   Google street view of this address is from August 2015 and at that time there was a for sale sign on the property.

bungalow set back from the street, large front yard with uncut long grass and a few mature trees, also a low wood fence,

The above are the “going” half of the title of this blog post.  The “coming” are these doors under construction; they too are on this part of Bayview Avenue.   Side by side front doors with a concrete layer between them – two of a row of five townhouses.  One day (soon?) someone will be able to walk in their front door and go up a level or two, to floors that haven’t yet been built.

from the front, street view, two of a row of townhouses under construction, plywood exterior with holes where the doors and windows are going to be.

This is the development that caused an uproar a year ago when they illegally clear cut two lots – cutting down about 30 large trees including a linden tree that was close to 150 years old in the process.  According to the City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 813, Article III, conviction for cutting down a mature tree  results in a “minimum fine of $500.00 and a maximum fine of $100,000.00 per tree involved in an offense; a special supplementary fine of $100,000.00 is also possible.” (source).

In October 2016, Format Group (the developers involved) paid a fine of $155,064.  This amount includes $657.30 per tree to cover city inspection costs and $116,600 for the planting of 200 new trees — mostly at other sites.

The two lots will be developed into 11 3-storey townhouses and 4 single family houses.  All units have already sold.

a row of townhouses being built, the lower floors are framed with plywood, the upper storey hasn't been started yet.

Before I leave the area, there is something similar going on across the street.

tree with yellow caution tape in front of an empty lawn with empty house in the background

First – there is this empty house sitting on a corner lot at Bayview and Wilket.  This one property is the future home of seven 3-storey townhouses as well as one single detached house.   Does anyone want to do the math on the potential profit – one house for 8 units in a time where even a townhouse sells for more than a million.

driveway and entranceway of a brick house that is now empty

Second – this sign has also appeared nearby. When I checked their website I found this description: “Located in north Toronto, The Bridle Path is synonymous with prestige and exclusive luxury. Known for its spectacular homes and refined neighbourhood character, it’s no wonder that this is the place that Toronto’s discerning elite prefer to call home. Now, on Bayview Ave. in the heart of the Bridle Path neighbourhood, Kingsmen Group is excited to introduce a new luxury townhome community that embodies the very essence of refined prestige living. Register today for more information coming soon.”

There is so much wrong with that paragraph.  I wouldn’t call this part of Bayview a part of the Bridle Path neighbourhood; you might be able to make an argument that it’s on the fringes of said neighbourhood but that would be stretching it.  “Prestige” and “luxury” are words that are so overused that they are almost meaningless with respect to Toronto real estate.   It seems silly to compare a townhouse on Bayview with the homes on the Bridle Path but I guess that’s what sells.  Actually, you could probably sell them without such a comparison!

sign advertising new townhouse devlopment by kingsmen Group inc.

Oh dear, I want to call this a Thursday Doors post so I’d best call it quits here.  I’ve probably already strayed too far off topic!  For more information on the Thursday Doors project see here.

Wilson subway station is nestled between the northbound and southbound lanes of the Allen Expressway.  It’s functional, but not pretty.  All that concrete!

below: Wilson subway station from the parking lot on the SW corner of Wilson and the Allen.
view od Wilson station from the south side of Wilson, directly opposite the bus loop.

If you look closely at the above picture, you might be able to see that one of the pillars holding up the Allen has been painted purple.  That’s part of the latest mural painting project by Shalak Attack, with help from Bruno Smoky.  What you can’t see is that the mural covers all of the underpass supports on both sides of Wilson Ave.

below: The mural on the south side of Wilson Ave has been painted on all sides.  Here, a face is between two hands gripping the poles.

painting on bents on an underpass, a face in the middle and a hand on either side, holding onto the concrete pillars, entrance to subway TTC station in the background,
close up of an eye from a face on a mural by Shalak Attack

below: More pillars on the south side.

a woman's face in a mural, eyes closed, by Shalak Attack, other pillars painted with green, red and orange petals.

below: A large spider on a web is in the center of the mural.

part of a mural, a large blue and red spider with orange legs, on a verylarge spider web

a Shalak Attack face painted on a concrete bent under the Allen Expressway on Wilson Ave., other bents have geometric patterns and a large spider web on green.
view along the sidewalk leading from the Wilson subway station to Wilson Ave., grass covered embankment on either side of the sidewalk, Expressway higher up on either side of sidewalk as well as straight ahead.

below: The back side of the supports have also been painted.  Just be careful not to bump your head on the road above if you want to get a closer look!

bright and bold pink flowers and green leaves and vines are part of a mural on concrete supports of an underpass.

geometric designs in a mural on concrete pillars on an underpass, by a TTC subway station

below: The north side of the underpass is being painted at the moment. Stay tuned for updates!

a ladder, people working on a mural of a blue face,

part of a mural, two purple fingers on yellow background.

Today’s blog post comes from slightly farther afield than I usually venture.   I went northwest to the Jane and Finch area.  As I drove north on Jane street, I spotted some eye-catching paintings on the walls of the Driftwood Community and Recreation Centre.

below: ‘Unique’, a vibrant heart painted by Girls Club

A mural of a large multicoloured heart with peace symbols in circles floating around it. Words: by Girls Club 2013, 'unique'

below: ‘Rooted’ trees by Lil Bruxas and part of ‘United Freedom’ on the back wall

murals on three walls at the Driftwood Community Centre, two trees and a large face

below: ‘United Freedom’ by Essencia

A brightly coloured mural on a brick wall. A large oval face with music symbols on the left and butterflies on the right. Called united freedom and painted by essencia.

part of a mural on a brick wall, multicolour butterflies

below: A blackburn traffic signal box sits on that corner.  Straight from the jungle.

A metal box on a street corner, a leopard by street artist blackburn

close up of street art painting of a greenish grey leopard with blue eyes, nose and mouth

A little father south there are a couple of high rise apartment buildings on the northeast corner of Jane and Finch.   Each has a mural painted around one of the entrances to the building.

below:  ‘Be Inspired, Love Yourself, Educate Others’ by the BeLovEd movement,
painted by Shalak Attack and Fiya Bruxas, 2011.

mural painted on a wall of an apartment building at Jane and Finch titled 'Beloved', painted by Shalak and Fiya Bruxa in 2011. People doing various things.

Part of a mural

part of a mural by Shalak and Fiya Bruxa

blog_two_faces_blue_yellow

part of a mural by Shalak and Fiya Bruxa

part of a mural by Shalak and Fiya Bruxa, a young woman holding a new born baby in her hand.

***

below: ‘Strong Women, Strong Community’ also by the BeLovEd Movement surrounds a doorway.  Although there is a sidewalk that leads directly to the corner of Jane and Finch, no one was using this entrance.  I was alone when I walked around this building from the parking lot by the main door.

mural across the lower level of a high rise building, surrounding an entranceway

part of a mural on the lower floor of a grey brick apartment building, women, one holding flowers, one resting her head on her hand, one sitting on the grass.

Strong Women, Strong Community are the words written on a mural, people painted on a wall

blog_mural_finch_family

“Terra Strat’aa” is a new mural by IAH Digital (Mediah) that now covers both sides of a railway overpass on Eglinton, just east of Leslie Street.  I have been meaning to take pictures of it for a few weeks now.  One of my excuses for not getting there sooner is that it is not convenient to get to by foot and once there, it’s in a photographic wasteland.

I hadn’t planned to drive past it today but I did….and I had my camera in the front seat with me….and believe it or not, the traffic on Eglinton was extremely slow, even slower than usual!   I think that these photos were meant to be.   🙂

geometric shapes, dynamic shapes, mural on three toned green background on a railway underpass, painted by a group led by IAH Digital (Mediah) on Eglinton Ave

geometric shapes, dynamic shapes, mural on three toned green background on a railway underpass, painted by a group led by IAH Digital (Mediah) on Eglinton Ave

geometric shapes, dynamic shapes, mural on three toned green background on a railway underpass, painted by a group led by IAH Digital (Mediah) on Eglinton Ave

geometric shapes, dynamic shapes, mural on three toned green background on a railway underpass, painted by a group led by IAH Digital (Mediah) on Eglinton Ave