On January 14, 2021, the Province of Ontario began the illegal demolition of the Dominion Foundry Buildings at 153-185 Eastern Avenue in the West Don Lands. These four 100+ year old buildings represent the largest heritage asset in the area as well as the history of the Canadian national railway industry.
I am pleased to share the good news that today, Justice David L. Corbett granted interim relief to stay the decision of the Government of Ontario to demolish the heritage buildings at the Dominion Foundry Complex in the West Don Lands. Demolition began two weeks ago on the four 100+ year old heritage buildings. Collectively, they are the largest concentration of heritage assets in the West Don Lands and are representative of Canada’s industrial railway history. This demolition began without community consultation and without any formal notice to the City.
Yesterday, the City’s Legal Services provided me an update on the new interim stop-work injunction filed at the Ontario Divisional Court to prevent the further demolition of four buildings at Dominion Foundry Complex. This request follows the sudden demolition work that began at the provincially-owned Dominion Foundry site 12 days ago without honest answers from the Province on who is their select developer and what exactly is their development plan.
This morning the Court did not issue the interim injunction to halt further demolition on the Foundry buildings as requested by the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and supported by the City of Toronto. Instead, they will hear the full legal arguments next Wednesday.
This morning an application seeking an injunction on further demolition work was filed at the Ontario Divisional Court by lawyers on behalf of the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association (SLNA). This legal action names the City of Toronto as an interested party. As such we have provided the applicant’s lawyer with research and sworn affidavits that describe the factual background to support the interim and interlocutory injunctive relief restraining further demolition work at the Dominion Foundry Complex in the West Don Lands.
January 20, 2021
Late Monday, my office learned that Metrolinx, an agency of the Province of Ontario, initiated expropriation proceedings of the City-owned lands at 271 Front Street East and 25 Berkeley Street, a significant part of the historic First Parliament site. Located in downtown Toronto at the intersection of Front and Parliament Streets, the First Parliament site is a full city block, bounded on the west by Berkeley Street and on the south by Parliament Square Park. It is comparable in size to Nathan Phillip Square.
It is with fury and anger that I watched yesterday as the Government of Ontario began demolishing the Dominion Foundry buildings at 153 to 185 Eastern Avenue. It is clear that when Doug Ford says his government is “for the people” he is not referring to residents who see the opportunity to adapt and incorporate the 100+ year-old buildings on site for the future of the community, but his wealthy donors who see it as an obstacle to their bottom line.
It was only two days ago that I learned the Province of Ontario deployed a demolition crew to raze the four heritage buildings at the Dominion Foundry Complex on Eastern Avenue.
Since then I hosted an emergency meeting with local community leaders and our area MPPs, Chris Glover and Suze Morrison. There was broad consensus that the heritage properties should not be recklessly destroyed, especially without further review, public consultation or community notice.
I have learned today alarming news that the Province is actively on site with the intention to demolish the buildings on the Foundry Site (known as 153 to 185 Eastern Avenue or Blocks 17 and 26) in the West Don Lands. The lands contain the Dominion Foundry Complex, the largest concentration of heritage buildings to be preserved within the 80 acre precinct. The demolition of these heritage assets would be an incalculable detriment to proper city planning. It signals to municipalities and developers across the province that the Ford Government is unwilling to follow its own recently updated heritage planning policies. If the Province refuses to respect its own heritages policies, why should anyone else?