Another bit of Toronto Modern has come down, quickly, before the required permits could be issued to save it. The Inn on the Park rose above Eglinton and Leslie, overlooking Sunnybrook Park. It was a fine expression of Toronto optimism in 1963 when it was built, by architect Peter Dickinson. A generation of Torontonians had their weddings, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, First Communions and after-prom deflowering in a building appropriately important for those occasions. From the 1960’s onward, Glenn Gould kept a room with a makeshift studio there. He liked the 24-hour room service and the hotel concierge recalls him “lounging by the pool, in the middle of July, dressed in mittens, coat, hat, scarf and galoshes”. Now it will be a Lexus car dealership.
As Christopher Hume reports, mayor hopeful Jane Pitfield was involved in this since the beginning, and yet claims to have been taken off guard by the demolition. She told him: “Demolition permits should not be given by the city until the designation process has been completed,” says Pitfield, a member of the Toronto Preservation Board, somewhat after the fact. “But it’s difficult to keep up with everything.” Indeed. Perhaps this is her solution to a Toronto infested by condo’s that she complained about last week — start tearing things down at the beginning.
Also in Hume’s article was this from Rollo Myers, past recipient of the Jane Jacobs award: “What an appalling way to start off Architecture Week in Toronto,” he says. “It was a landmark. And from an environmental point of view, tearing down a perfectly adaptable, well-constructed, building represents a staggering waste. Thirty-five percent of all garbage in landfill sites comes from demolished buildings. The destruction of a single building negates the effort of recycling literally tens of millions of pop cans.”
If voting booths were time machines an X beside the name of Jane “keep on keepin’ up” Pitfield would be a vote for an Art Eggleton-style dark age all over again. I can only vote for somebody who genuinely loves this city. Tearing down Toronto’s modern gems is like bombing Cabbagetown or Palmerston Avenue, and should be rewarded by banishment to whichever stretch of the city limits are ugliest.
EDIT: Discussion on this taking place on Urban Toronto forum.