November 10 2012
Despite months of efforts to save Postal Station K, a Depression-era Yonge Street post office, on Friday Canada Post announced it had sold the building to a private developer.
“Selling this historic building, with no understanding that it will be protected in perpetuity, was nothing less than shameful,” wrote Josh Matlow, councillor of nearby Ward 22, in a letter to Canada Post on Friday.
Built in 1936, the art deco structure is unique for being constructed during the 11-month reign of King Edward VIII. Thus, the building is one of the few in the Commonwealth to carry Edward’s Royal Cypher.
The building also sits on the former site of Montgomery’s Tavern, a roadhouse where William Lyon Mackenzie kicked off a bloody — and abortive — 1837 uprising against British rule. A plaque on the property, which is designated a National Historic Site, commemorates the event.
On Oct. 30, local Liberal MPP Mike Colle organized a demonstration protesting the impending sale, with many participants carrying signs reading “we don’t need another condo.”
“If we can’t protect this 175-year-old site from becoming a condo, what can we protect?” Mr. Colle told PostCity.com at the time.
A petition circulated by Mr. Colle claiming the structure as a “historically significant art deco building that has been an important part of Toronto’s history” garnered 10,000 signatures. The petition also claimed that a small area in front of the building is the “only open space remaining on Yonge Street.”
A large public square several hundred metres to the south is barren and benchless.
In comments to the media, Canada Post has said the building is no longer viable as a post office because of declining mail traffic. Reportedly, to replace the high-ceilinged building, the corporation plans to install a post office counter across the street at a Shopper’s Drug Mart.
Canada Post sold the building to Toronto homebuilders Rockport Group but the sale price has not been disclosed.
Whether or not a heritage building hangs in the balance, the wealthy neighbourhoods surrounding Yonge and Eglinton have not been amenable to condo developments of late.
Mr. Matlow has been a prominent voice critical of the proposed construction of two soaring condo towers at the nearby intersection of Yonge and Eglinton.
“If the developers insist on going as far as they have proposed, they are going to have a fight on their hands,” Mr. Matlow told the Post in 2011.