Hundreds of letters and over 1,400 signatures on a petition have been sent to City Hall objecting to proposals to replace historic buildings with inappropriate hotel complexes that are out of scale with the existing built form, and in contradiction with City planning documents. The letter which follows is one example.
PROMINENT LEADERS OF TORONTO VOICE CONCERNS
The following letter is signed by Torontonians recognized for excellence and leadership in their varying fields of endeavour (including art, architecture, business, dance, economics, film, literature, and science, etc.). Most are Order of Canada Companions (C.C.), Officers (O.C.), or Members (C.M.), or Order of Ontario members (O.Ont.); others have won the Governor General's Award (G.G.), ACTRA, Juno, or Gemini awards, or even (in one case) the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. All are well-known and respected for their commitment to improving the quality of our city through their contributions to business and politics, culture and recreation. Yorkville is a part of that quality of life and culture we strive to preserve.
Jack Batten, lawyer, writer
Margaret Atwood, C.C., O.Ont, author (G G Award, Booker Prize, Molson Award)
Anton Kuerti, O.C., concert pianist
Jane Jacobs, O.C., O. Ont., writer
Sid Adilman, newspaper columnist
Sam "the Recordman" Sniderman, C.M, entrepreneur
Murray Westgate, actor (ACTRA awards)
Gordon Pinsent, C.C., actor, writer, director (ACTRA awards)
Charmion King, actor (ACTRA awards)
John Polanyi, C.C., O.Ont., Chemistry Professor (Nobel Prize)
June Callwood, C.C., O. Ont., writer
Trent Frayne, writer (National Newspaper Award)
Bluma Appel, O.C., O.Ont., entrepreneur
Marjorie Harris, journalist, gardener
Graeme Gibson, O.C., author
Jack Granatstein, O.C., university professor, historian, author
Charles Pachter, C.M., artist
Veronica Tenant, O.C., ballerina
Margaret Zeidler, architect (Jane Jacobs Award)
Sonja Smits, actor (ACTRA award, Gemini award)
Ramsay Cook, O.C., Professor of History
Dorothy Gardner, television director (Gemini Academy Achievement Award)
David Gardner, actor, director, writer (ACTRA Awards)
Harry Rasky, O.Ont., filmmaker (Venice Film Award, ACTRA awards)
Albert F. Moritz, Jack McClelland Writer-in-Residence Massey College (G.G. Award)
Diane Francis, journalist
Catherine McKinnon, singer (Juno awards)
Don Harron, O.C., actor, comedian, writer
Jim Coutts, C.M., political advisor
Bernard Ostry, O.C., former broadcaster, public servant
Sylvia Ostry, C.C., economist, former public servant
Laurie Matheson, artist, designer
Robin Korthals, banker; Chair, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan; former President, TD Bank
Jack Rabinovitch, C.M., O.Ont., real estate developer, Giller Prize founder
Shelley Peterson, actress, writer
Austin Clarke, C.M., author, Giller Prize
Dennis Lee, O.C., author (G.G. Award, Toronto Arts Lifetime Achievement Award)
Greg Gatenby, C.M., writer, historian
Brian Robertson, radio producer, President--Canadian Recording Industry Association
Barbara Gowdy, author (Marian Engel Award)
John Fraser, journalist, editor, university professor (National Newspaper awards)
Vivienne Poy, Senator, entrepreneur
Richard Gwyn, O.C., journalist (National Magazine Award)
Michael Ondaatje, O.C., author (GG Award, Booker Prize)
George Elliott Clarke, author (GG Award)
Margaret MacMillan, author, provost
Miles Nadal, businessman, Chairman & CEO MDC Corp.
J. Urban Joseph, O.C., Chair, Design Exchange
Stuart Maclean, broadcaster, writer
D'Arcy Tucker, Toronto Maple Leafs
Wade Belak, Toronto Maple Leafs
Brian McCabe, Toronto Maple Leafs
Paul Healy, Toronto Maple Leafs
Jonas Hoglund, Toronto Maple Leafs
Peter Simon, President, Royal Conservatory of Music
28 March 2003
Mayor Lastman and Members of Toronto City Council
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen St. W.
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2
Dear Mayor Lastman and Members of City Council:
Re File No: 202008: 76, 88R, 92 & 100 Yorkville Ave.;95, 115, 119 and 121R Scollard
As concerned residents of the City of Toronto, we, the undersigned, wish to join with the many citizens who are voicing their interest in preserving the heritage of the Village of Yorkville as an intimate, human-scale, historic environment within the urban centre of Toronto. While we do not oppose responsible development in the area, the proposal for an 18-storey tower by the Mount Sinai site on Yorkville Avenue poses a serious threat to this unique area that helps make Toronto liveable and hospitable: the careful balance of modern glass highrises and small streetscapes of historic shops and homes. By contravening both the stipulations of the present Official Plan and the recommendations of the new Official Plan, a proposal of this scale on a "non-arterial side-street" has serious city-wide implications. As such, the above proposal requires close examination by the whole City Council when it is presented for consideration on 14 April 2003.
This proposed development contravenes the city's policies designed to protect the heritage of areas of special identity:
· Part II of the Official Plan, policy No. 211, stipulates that future development within the "Village of Yorkville, Area of Special Identity" should be compatible with the existing low-scale form of the area.
· The New Official Plan recommends that a transition is required between areas of radically different scales (between major arterials such as Bay Street and lower-scale neighbourhoods such as Yorkville Avenue and Scollard Street).
We understand that some councillors present at the East York Community Council meeting of 20 February 2003 reluctantly consented to the proposal because of By-law 382-93, based on a 1993 OMB decision. However, further examination is needed because this current development proposal is contrary to both the letter and the spirit of that OMB decision as it more than doubles the height allowed in that decision.
This development has serious implications for the City of Toronto. As a vibrant pedestrian neighbourhood at the downtown centre of Canada, Yorkville epitomizes the
soul of our Canadian tradition of urban diversity and vitality. We therefore appeal to the Mayor and Members of Council to take the necessary time to carefully reconsider the approval of this development and its effect on future generations.
We respectfully request a recorded vote on your decision.