Councillor Josh Matlow

Post City: Push to protect landmark De La Salle College site

Developer takes proposal to build on historic property, near Avenue and St. Clair, to OMB.


October 20, 2015
Samantha Peksa
Post City


Local resident Michael Vaughan stands in front of the Oaklands property at 131 Farnham Ave. (1931)

Local resident Michael Vaughan stands in front of the Oaklands property at 131 Farnham Ave. (1931)


Local heritage advocates celebrated a small victory last month, after a report by City of Toronto planners was adopted at Toronto city council to ensure more comprehensive heritage protection for the De La Salle College property­ — a prominent landmark on Avenue Road for over 150 years.


Councillor Josh Matlow initiated the heritage review two years ago, when he heard of the Catholic private school’s plan to sell a portion of the property to the developer Treasure Hill Homes.


The developer submitted a proposal for 28 townhouses for the site in March, which would require the demolition of the Fieldhouse (1924) and relocation of the wrought iron gates (circa 1860). They have now taken it to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), but a date has not been scheduled.




The report was initiated out of concern for features on the property not designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, including the view of the escarpment (a.k.a Lake Iroquois ridge), which Matlow said is also historically significant.


The Brothers of the Christian Schools, which owns the property, requested that city council defer ruling on the report at their Sept. 30 meeting.


A letter to TEYCC from their lawyer stated that the review was conducted despite “good will and good faith consultation efforts” and is being rushed “as a substitute to good heritage policy decisions.”


But Coun. Matlow was pleased to see city council approve the report.


Michael Vaughan, a local resident who sat as chairman of the Conservation Review Board of Ontario for six years, called the developer’s decision to go to the OMB without considering any alterations “aggressive.”


Now that the report has been adopted by city council, Coun. Matlow said the OMB will have to decide if “they will respect the Ontario Heritage Act…or blindly ignore it, in favour of a developer.”


Treasure Hill Homes did not respond to request for comment by press time.

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