Helping with the city’s heritage

[attach]4654[/attach]The city has awarded several historically significant homes with grants designed to help with restoration and maintenance.

The annual Toronto Heritage Grant Awards gives up to $10,000 to preservation-designated properties that are in need of restoration or repair.

Located near Kingston Road and Main Street in the Upper Beach, 47 Benlamond Ave. was built in 1909 for Scottish-Canadian builder Alexander McLeod, said the city’s senior preservation coordinator Scott Barrett. The property received a $10,000 grant for restoration of its chimneys and brick walls.

Three properties within the Riverdale Heritage Conservation District, which was designated in 2008, were also awarded with grants: 191 First Avenue was awarded $5,000 for foundation and masonry restoration, while 51 and 53 West Avenue both received $2,500 for masonry work.

Barrett said the area is significant for the role it played in Toronto’s urbanization.

“Riverdale has been noted in the designation for being representative of the early development on the east side of the Don (River) from about the 1880s until the First World War,” he said.

The area qualified as a heritage district because there will still many homes that retained a sense of historical architecture, Barrett said. In that instance, whole streets can be designated as heritage, as is the case with First and West avenues.

[attach]4655[/attach]Many of the buildings in the Riverdale neighbourhood still display the architectural integrity of the early 1900s.

“There’s an intactness and a wholeness to that area that can communicate the significance of that time,” Barrett said.

A 2008 Heritage Conservation District Plan said the area has a mix of “bay-’n’-gable” style houses, Second Empire Row homes, and modest Edwardian Four Square designs. It also noted the relative completeness of the sets warranted designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The city designates properties as heritage sites in order to preserve the city’s history and also to protect them from being demolished.

“It kinds of puts a sense of time and place under protection, that points back to what things were like at that time,” Barrett said.

In order for properties to qualify for the annual grant, they must already be designated heritage properties and must prove that the money will go towards restorative or maintenance work.