Ice cream house in jeopardy of demolition

City staff is expected to complete heritage review in January


Published:

Local residents are scrambling to save a more-than-100-year-old home in the Casa Loma neighbourhood after Toronto and East York Community Council issued its purchaser a demolition permit last month. While City of Toronto: Heritage Preservation Services conducts a heritage review, there is little stopping the purchaser of 72 Wells Hill Ave. from moving ahead with demolition.

The Ontario Heritage Act requires that one of three criteria be met in order for a home to be designated with architectural, associative or contextual significance. Residents believe this home possesses all three. The architect who built the home, W. R. Gregg, worked on other important local projects from this period, such as the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. Charles Neilson, son of the founder of the Neilson ice cream and chocolate empire, and president of the company for a period, lived in the home, which is believed to be one of the oldest on the street and in the area.

Coun. Joe Mihevc said Toronto and East York Community Council was bound by provincial law to approve the demolition permit, as the building permit was already in place. He added that because the purchaser can’t simply toss out the tenants now living there, heritage preservation services staff will likely have time to report back in January before the home is demolished.

“To lose the house would be a serious blow to heritage.”

Joel Farber, a lawyer for the purchaser, said his client disagrees with the contention that the home has associative value. If anything, the founder of Neilon’s Gladstone Avenue home and original factory does. The purchaser is currently trying to address any concerns residents may have.

But, Farber said, “He’s not willing to forgo any legal rights that he has.”

Brian Barron, a member of the Casa Loma Residents Association, said his group would be sympathetic if the owner wanted to repair and update the home, but it does not want to see the home demolished.

“To lose the house would be a serious blow to the heritage characteristics of the neighbourhood,” Barron said.

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Is this the ‘Forgotten Corner of Thornhill’?

Is this the ‘Forgotten Corner of Thornhill’?

A building complex, Glen Park Apartments, at the northeast corner of Yonge Street and Clark Avenue is now deemed the “Forgotten Corner of Thornhill” by some residents. A new Facebook page of the same name was established in late July, calling for city officials and building management to address concerns over lack of sufficient infrastructure.
Posted 3 days ago
Annex real estate remains hot

Annex real estate remains hot

This gorgeous Victorian home landed on the market in late summer, and even when the market was in a lull, it sold right away and well over the asking price. The charming house is on a side street and features a lovely south garden and spacious rooms.
Posted 1 week ago
After a year hosting ‘Question Period’ Evan Solomon now also has a radio show

After a year hosting ‘Question Period’ Evan Solomon now also has a radio show

Now that Solomon has been hosting Question Period for a little over a year, he’s branched off to add his own talk radio show to his resumé. The Evan Solomon Show, Bell Media’s first daily syndicated talk show, premiered Sept. 5 across the country on stations in Montreal, Ottawa and in Toronto on Newstalk 1010, as well as other markets.
Posted 2 weeks ago
Daily Planet: Should the environment trump the economy?

Daily Planet: Should the environment trump the economy?

The Pan-Canadian Framework marks the first time Canada’s first ministers have endorsed a national plan to tackle climate change. It opens the door to a game-changing carbon price that will make reducing greenhouse gas emissions the smart, cost-saving choice for businesses and individuals.
Posted 2 weeks ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module