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York Square

33 Avenue Road, 148 Yorkville
Toronto  Ontario

Current  
Owner:  
  Former owner Wookey family,
 
History:     A groundbreaking urban complex.

In an era where urban renewal (removal) was the norm, this pioneer project from the emerging firm of Diamond and Myers, for Richard Wookey, was the first project to combine new and old buildings into a new urban form. The family owned the property for several decades, and it was later connected into Hazleton Lanes. New retail and office spaces were organized around an intimate internal courtyard. Lou Kahn inspired circular windows were added to the historic buildings along the Avenue Road and Yorkville facades, as well as in the interior courtyard. Originally painted white with super-graphics, it is now its original red brick. The project's sensitive and creative combination of new and old, small buildings around a courtyard set the tone for development in Yorkville and Toronto for decades. It was internationally published in magazines around the world and in Canada, receiving 8 pages in Progressive Architect.

Because of its international significance to contextual urban planning, and as a community landmark, ACO Toronto worked tirelessly for two years to ensure designation for this property.
 
Details:     The property has been sold for redevelopment. The current proposals keep only the Avenue Road and Yorkville corner facade, losing almost 75% of the designated heritage attributes, including the beautiful interior square.
 
What  
can you  
do to  
help:  
  Let your councillor know that it is simply not good enough to designate a building, then turn around and allow nearly complete removal only months later. The development process at the City where heritage is treated as just another "issue" to be managed is simply "failure to conserve" and out of line with the Provincial Policy Statement.