Doors Open swings into action this weekend with tours showcasing Toronto's architecture. Look up. Our city's builders have left us with a rich history. But we haven't always appreciated those gems that have gotten in the way of development.
After years of neglect, the row at Jarvis and Shuter had become a safety hazard. A proposal for a 20-storey hotel has been pitched for the parking lot next door, on the corner of Jarvis and Shuter. We're told local councillor Kyle Rae has seen plans for a "residential building," aka condo, but so far nothing concrete for the Walnut Hall site. Seems the heritage designation, which carries over even though Walnut Hall no longer exists, is complicating matters.
Preservation guidelines may require that bricks saved from Walnut Hall are incorporated into the facade of any new building that goes up on the site. A few bricks. Maybe a plaque. Yeah. That should make preservationists feel better. Well, not really. But that hotel plan looming large next door may have more to say about what ends up on the Walnut Hall site. Right now it's seriously squeezed. Too squeezed to fit neatly in the space being proposed.
The developer is asking for twice the allowable height limit. What are the odds the hotel's proponents will need to swallow up the Walnut Hall space to make a 20-storey building sellable to the city on the corner? We'd say pretty good, give or take a few hundred bricks or two.
Enjoy Doors Open this weekend.
Above: the site of the now-extinct Walnut Hall.