In what can only be described as a horrible precedent, a Toronto heritage home was demolished without warning, approval and definitely not a permit. Is this the new “cost of doing business?” With land prices skyrocketing and housing prices even higher, it looks as though toothless heritage community guardians will have even less sway.
In this case, the fine for demolishing without a permit will max out at $10,000 or so. This is a mere pittance when the land it occupied will be sold in the multiple millions. So, rather than a lengthy delay with boards and aldermen, the owner simply called in an excavator and hauled the dwelling to the dump.
Where does this leave heritage communities and heritage home owners? Well, if you like your heritage or century home, you better know full well your neighbourhood could change in a heartbeat. Take for example Old Thornhill, a former bedroom community north of Toronto, and now slated to have a subway line right through its core. That means those cute little worker cottages that have been protected for oh so long are soon to be prey for the builders. On one side of Yonge, the Vaughan side, houses start at three mill or so. On the east side of Yonge, the Markham side, there are still wood frame houses sitting on lots that could command seven figures, but sit in disrepair as the heritage board carries significant weight. Since they can’t alter them, no one is buying them. This is bound to change as fines are paid out since the builder-friendly OMB rarely stands up for heritage. Now it’s just a matter of when the first one gets torn down. Then the prices will rise, and the next one will be easier to stomach for the neighbours.
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