Preservation board saves church from destruction

The Wychwood-Davenport Presbyterian Church at 155 Wychwood Avenue is no longer in danger of being demolished.

Owner/developer Stanton Renaissance had submitted an application to demolish the two-storey, ivy-covered brick building in November, but withdrew the demolition request Dec. 5 after the Toronto Preservation Board rushed to the rescue, urging city council to announce its intent for the church to receive designated, rather than listed, heritage status.

Opened in 1937, the church had been pre-emptively listed for designation in 2008, as did several other churches in the area.

Heritage listing compels any developer submitting a construction or demolition application to conduct a heritage review of the existing property alongside the city’s planning department.

“The developer has done that work,” said Ward 21 councillor Joe Mihevc, who recommended the city conduct its own review at the Nov. 19 Toronto and East York Community Council meeting. “I don’t have the fruits of that work, but they have to figure out how they’re going to incorporate heritage into the design.”

Stanton Renaissance president Louie Santaguida says the project is still in its early planning stages, but that his company always considers the heritage and surrounding neighbourhoods of its development sites.

“We have met with the local councillor and a number of representatives from the city,” including the preservation board, he said,
adding the company “will be providing the community with more details in the coming months.”

Whether the building will be formally designated a heritage site remains unclear. An assessment report from the city planning division, due sometime this winter, will be followed by two community consultation meetings before a decision is rendered.

Mihevc says he does not expect a decision before spring.

About this article:

By: Eric Emin Wood
Posted: Jan 16 2014 11:42 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto