January 30, 2013
TORONTO – The historic Postal Station K will be preserved – at least in part – even as a condominium is erected behind it.
Postal Station K, located just north of Eglinton Avenue on Yonge Street, was sold by Canada Post to the Rockport Group – a local Toronto development firm – in November.
At the time it was sold, concerned residents organized an impromptu protest outside the post office demanding that it not be torn down to make way for another condominium in the area.
The developer is now confirming that it will not tear down the historic building.
“I think the message was very clear as to what the community wanted,” President and CEO of the Rockport Group Jack Winberg said. “We’re going to keep the front fourty per cent of it as it is but substantially renovated and improved.”
Winberg told Global News that the development aims to keep the important, historic part of the building – referred to colloquially as the “jewellery box” – for the public’s enjoyment and build a condo rising twenty-six storeys behind it.
Postal Station K was built in 1936 and is seen as an important part of Canadian history not only for the rare insignia of King Edward VIII but because the building also stands on the former site of Montgomery’s Tavern – the site where William Lyon Mackenzie launched his rebellion in 1837.
Councillor Josh Matlow, originally an opponent of selling the property, fearing that Toronto would lose an important historic site was unwilling to comment on the group’s decision to keep the front of the building until he had seen more detailed plans.
However, he said that the decision could represent a “good step.”
“The very fact that the developer is cognizant that the community wants the building protected is a good step,” Matlow said. “Now the community needs to have a conversation about how the new condo building would fit in with not only Postal Station K but also how it would affect the community as a whole.”
Matlow wants the city to be wary not to “capitulate to a development proposal that may be wrong for the site because we’re getting a promise that the post office itself would be protected.”
Instead, Matlow said the proposal needs to be “appropriate” for the neighbourhood.