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Court injunction filed as heritage activists step up fight to save Toronto's Foundry buildings

Last Updated Jan 21, 2021 at 4:13 pm EST

Workers exit the Dominion Wheel and Foundries Company site in Toronto on Tuesday January 19, 2021. The heritage site owned by the Province of Ontario is being demolished under a Municipal Zoning Order. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

In Toronto’s West Don Lands, heavy machinery has already torn gaping holes into the corners of the buildings at the historic Foundry site on Eastern Avenue.

Heritage activist, Franca Liesen, says they’re stepping up their fight to save these buildings.

“The court injection to stop demolition for 30 days was filed this morning,” Liesen said. “We’re still waiting for a ruling on it. We’re hoping to get that ruling today, maybe tomorrow.”

Liesen organized a brief noon-hour demonstration and march around the site on Thursday. Workers got right back to work on those buildings almost as soon as the demonstrators left.

The activists have the support of City councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who wants to force the Ford government to repair the damage already done.

“The community has invested time and proposals into a holistic approach to this site, including affordable housing, performance, and community spaces. Local voices help build complete communities,” Tam said.

“I look forward to a resolution where the province pauses the demolition work so that the community and the City can have a reasonable opportunity to participate and make our views known on the project.”

The Ford government’s push to take over the land comes after they prompted reaction from local residents and Toronto officials by allowing demolition to begin.

“We maintain that notices of the proposed demolition or public consultation were never meaningfully published prior to the work,” Tam said.

“As there was no development application, we see no legitimate reason why the four Foundry buildings would be recklessly destroyed, especially since the Province did not provide proof that they engaged in public consultation as required by their own heritage planning policies.”

It’s been suggested and assumed by many in Toronto that there are artifacts buried at the site.

In 2018, the City launched a “heritage interpretation strategy” to decide how to honour its history.