Here is news of the latest developments.
We forced the Province to stop demolition, saving the two most important heritage buildings on the site and ensuring they will be protected in the future. However, the work is far from over.
Here's a recap of what happened.
On Friday August 20, 2021, it was announced that the parties in the February court case have come to an agreement regarding the fate of the Foundry site. The Province has committed to change its plan and move forward according to recommendations outlined in a new Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), made public the same day.
The Machine Shop and the Foundry building (a.k.a. the "Cleaning Room" in the HIA) will not be demolished. These are the two most important heritage buildings on the site, and the ones we were most concerned about preserving.
The Office building and the Warehouse were demolished. These two buildings were in poor repair and of less heritage interest, and we expected that they would not be preserved. The Foundry Demonstration Project we sponsored back in February also suggested these buildings be removed.
The purchaser and future owners are legally required to protect the heritage value of the site. As the property is passing into private hands, this is most important.
The percentage of affordable housing to be built on site has been increased from 25% to 30%. This brings it into line with current City targets.
The not-so-good news is that the Minister's Zoning Order of October 2020 still governs how the site will be developed, and it cannot be appealed. This means there will be high-rise towers built on the site.
How will it look?
Below are concept drawings of views from southwest and northwest corners, the preserved south wall of the Machine Shop, and the interior of the eastern portion of the Machine Shop.
After public demonstrations and a court case paused demolition, the Province brought in independent heritage experts to re-evaluate the heritage value of the property.
These experts confirmed that the Dominion Foundry Site does meet the criteria for a Provincial Heritage Property, and put forward a set of recommendations to retain and protect the two most significant buildings and develop a Heritage Conservation Plan.
The Province has committed to moving forward according to these recommendations. They demolished the Office Building and the Warehouse, and sold the property to a subsidiary of Aspen Ridge Homes in March 2022.
What happens next?
Aspen Ridge will develop the Foundry site to include three high-rise residential towers of 43, 34, and 18 storeys. These heights are set by the Minister's Zoning Order and, unfortunately, cannot be appealed through any legal process.
Here is the current concept of how the towers will be placed on the site.
Let's take a moment to recognize that we have achieved something very important: the preservation of a neighbourhood landmark, adaptive reuse of two important heritage buildings that were slated for demolition, and a commitment to protect it for the future.
This is a significant victory that would not have been achieved without the help of thousands of community members, including. They — the REAL friends of the Foundry, who signed petitions, donated to the legal fund, wrote politicians, came out for in-person demonstrations, and much more — made this happen. They deserve the gratitude of all the people of Ontario.
The devil is in the details, and our work is far from over. We need to keep watching events at the Foundry to ensure that the intent of the Heritage Impact Assessment is carried out.
If you'd like to download the new Heritage Impact Assessment and the updated Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report please do so; the more informed we all are, the better we can protect our neighbourhoods and heritage assets.
We will keep you posted with news about the Foundry as events unfold, watching for opportunities to remind politicians, public servants, and the media that the community still cares.
None of this would have been possible without the help of literally thousands of people, but we're going to single out a few dozen here:
- The St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, who stepped up and initiated the court case on our behalf
- Many local politicians, notably Toronto Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, MPP Suze Morrison, MPP Chris Glover, and federal candidate Brian Chang, who were present at the very first demonstration and nearly every one after that
- Green Party Leader Annamie Paul and provincial candidate David Morris came to the Valentine's Day Protest and subsequently met with us
- MP Marci Ien wrote a letter of support and met with us as well
- Dozens of municipal and provincial staff have been working very hard on this case for many months
- The Board and residents of Canary Park as well as other neighbouring condos made sure nobody who visited the Foundry could miss the point with their balcony signs and Gobo light display
- Many media outlets and individual journalists followed our story and reported on it with insight
- Local graffiti artists and wheatpasters kept the Foundry hoardings lively with visual protests
- Thousands of online rabble-rousers never let the issue drop, tweeting, posting, and emailing politicians