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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Sad day for Toronto

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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.



  1. Jane Pitfield drives me nuts. I loathe populism in municipal politics, especially the cronyist underpinnings that must be the most corrupt thing this side of Latin America. Then again, my blood is starting to cool off from having just watched “Street Fight” on CBC Newsworld this weekend.

    Can you show a picture of the actual low-rise Inn itself? That picture only shows the tower which is being retained.


  2. The Inn on the Park always symbolized to me in my childhood (which was really not that long ago, like 10 or 15 years ago) that I was almost home from a car trip. My parents loathed the DVP and would opt to take Leslie down to our house near Mt Pleasant and St Clair. It’s start grey sentinal perched above the ravine on a lush green lawn would often be accompanied by a motherly call to clean up the back seat.

    It was a beautiful building, that deffinitely took its brutalist cues from a late medieval fort with its star formation and lone look-out tower.

    on a side note: Jane Pitfield is a useless twit.

  3. This isn’t the only “sudden” demolition of late. Last February, the house of the Group of Seven’s Franklin Carmichael at 21 Cameron Avenue was demolished while a historical designation was underway.

  4. I was sad to hear that this building is no more… It’s so bloody typical of business as usual in this city.

    I’ve just read that the Lily Cup on Danforth Rd. is to be torn down as well.

    I suppose it is true, “all that is solid melts into air.”

  5. Blame Pitfield all you want, Miller controls council. But a large margin.

    Had he wanted this to not go through, he could have stopped it.

  6. I am appalled to hear the Inn on the Park is no more! We have so many wonderful memories of staying there. It was our favorite place in all of Toronto. When our son was a child, we went there for many holiday weekends and loved it. It was unique. There is nothing else quite like it in Toronto.

  7. there are more demoltions coming …..

    The are cutting up to 60 trees at mount pleasant cemetary to build a brand new building….

    they are tearing down the Don Mills Centre be replaced with condos.

    I will vote for Jane Pitfield and that that useless arrogant pompous ass David Miller………spends his time….getting photographed and interviewed and and doing nothing to stop this madness of demoltions.

    The toronto city hall has voted a pay increase as of today…….

    There are a record 62,000 people working at city of Toronto….more than the headcount of employees at the goverment of Ontario combined……………..