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Preserve or Progress: Toronto property war

Last Updated Nov 4, 2016 at 8:50 pm EST

Image living in your bungalow for three quarters of a century and being told the lot neighbouring you is going to be split into two multi-storey homes. You try to appeal it but get rejected and are now stuck with endless hours of construction noise and think the bigger homes “ruin” the character of your area.

Or consider the flip side.

You’ve just purchased a Toronto property that is perfect for you and your family, close to home and work, that you are ready to turn into your dream home. You expand on an existing property preserving the previous skeleton and adding your own touch. Or you purchase a lot and create two semi-detached homes on it, giving a chance for young families to start their lives.

Toronto has many unique pockets of historical buildings but also a budding housing market. Constant construction across the city continuously irks residents but it brings new developments and some much needed face-lifts.

“Often there is an ongoing struggle in most neighbourhoods between the desire for development to generate economic activity, punctuate revitalization efforts and accommodate population growth with the desire to protect established buildings, places and the spaces that we all use and feel comfortable in,” said Andrea Bourrie, president of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute.

“The reality is that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. There are great examples across the city where — through the efforts of concerned citizens, progressive developers and an effective planning process — a true balance between growth and protection has occurred.”

CityNews has decided to lay out the argument for why some choose to preserve locations in Toronto or why others choose to create progress by building on existing spots. You can also have your say by voting in this poll:



“The old homes are just too old and there’s no room in them. I think the [neighbours] are welcoming it – it drives the prices up for their homes and it makes a better community,” Tony Deluca says.

“You look around, there’s a new home going up every week and there’s all kinds of renovation happening. People want to live here. It’s close to the subway close to downtown, it’s great, and for the kids,” Deluca says.

“A bungalow that’s 900 ft you can turn it into a 2000 square Ft home… that’s the trend. People want that and a lot of people want to stay in the city instead of going far out to get that amount of square footage,” Stand Boigon says.

To grow in the city you need to put more housing on the same amount of land,” says Boigon, take a bungalow and double the size.”

“Another way to do it is to tear it down and build an even bigger house, and another way to do it is to tear down a couple in a row and build a small condo or townhouse,” Boigon says.



“It’s important to note that this community is not against change. We are simply asking for change that is mindful of its impacts, respectful of our community & in keeping with Toronto’s Official plans and By-Laws,” says Sara Korosi.

“We’d like something that is less massive and fits in better to the streetscape that we have now,” says Jaan Pill.

“We are not saying it’s bad to have developments, we strongly favour a good development and we are aware of need to ‘revitalize’ our community but the point is that this works best if the interests of the everyday resident is taking into accounts,” Pill says.

“They are not getting any sun at all, their privacy is all gone,” Laura Therrien says. “Who is going to buy this house now? They haven’t increased the value.”