Community members in Toronto’s West Don Lands are planning to gather outside heritage buildings in the area on Tuesday.
The rally surrounds the province’s decision to move ahead with the demolition of some old brick warehouse buildings in the neighbourhood.
The old Dominion Wheels and Foundries Company site was used to make equipment for Canada’s railroad industry at one time and members of the community are arguing the structures mark an important part of Toronto’s history.
The property at 153 and 185 Eastern Avenue is owned by the province and is subject to a ministerial zoning order issued in October. The order paved the way for construction and allows the province to bypass municipal planning processes, which include public consultation.
It’s Donlands residents vs the Province in fight to save some Heritage Bldgs on Eastern Ave. Demo work has already started at 100 y/o Dominion Wheels & Foundries Co site which used to make equipment for Canada’s railroads. Residents like Asif Hossain are pushing for a pause: pic.twitter.com/yQXfK8Wp7P
— carl hanstke (@carl680) January 19, 2021
Resident Asif Hossain says he his part of the small group ‘Friends of the Foundry’ which was put together on Thursday. Hossain says the group wants protect the heritage buildings but more importantly they want the government to consult residents on local planning.
“We deserve a say on what happens in our community. The government has denied us this and that’s why we’re here.”
A spokesperson for the province’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing says the government is committed to bringing significant new affordable housing and new community space to the West Don Lands by leveraging vacant provincial properties.
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam says the province is in breach of its own heritage policies and hasn’t undertaken the prerequisite work before demolishing the structures.
Tomorrow morning and every morning at 6:30 am while there's a threat of demolition, area residents will arrive to document & protest against this unlawful demolition. They'll be masked, standing safely 2 metres apart & carrying morning coffees.
We stand apart to stand together.
— Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam) January 19, 2021