I'll always feel a bit of bitterness over this development. This site was ground zero for a potential starchitect cultural palace that could grace postcards and screensaver for generations, and the city threw it away for condos--uninspiring ones at that.
 
It appeared quite innovative at first, but it shows how quickly design appreciation has evolved in Toronto, at least on this site, that we're even having the conversation.
 
I'll always feel a bit of bitterness over this development. This site was ground zero for a potential starchitect cultural palace that could grace postcards and screensaver for generations, and the city threw it away for condos--uninspiring ones at that.

When was this ever the plan? The site was owned by the Harbour Commission until the mid-1980s when it was sold to Avro Quay Ltd. who rezoned the land in 1996 for 1,400 units. That ruling was appealed to the OMB but was settled in 2002. In that sense, the plan to put residential here ('throw the land away' in your parlance) is now 20 years old.

And in what way is Pier 27 'uninspiring'? The bridges make it possibly one of the most dramatic complexes in the city. On the ferry this past Sunday, I overheard a number of island-bound riders commenting on how 'cool' it looks.
 
Here's a nice overveiw of the history of the site from an old Star Article:

From port facility to condos

1911: Toronto Harbour Commission set up under federal charter to manage Port of Toronto. Main asset is 809 hectares of land and water lots that city turned over to the commission to manage.

1960s: THC builds port facilities, including Marine Terminal 27 at the foot of Yonge St., to handle anticipated boom in shipping. By 1986, the site is declared surplus.

Summer 1986: To clear debt, Harbour Commission sells 3.6-hectare site south of Queens Quay and east of Yonge – MT27 – to Avro Group, headed by developer Phil Roth, for what city council calls a "bargain basement" $24.6 million.

October 1986: THC agrees to reopen negotiations with Avro in hopes of getting more money for the land.

November 1986: Council asks federal government to block the sale, saying the price is too low. Land sale eventually completed.

March 1987: Proposal to transform warehouse on MT27 into weekend antique market.

April 1987: As a result of the controversial land deal, council decides THC chair Fred Eisen, lawyer Andy Paton and Alderman Tom Clifford will not be reappointed.

April 1987: MT27 touted as site for new Metro Hall.

1988: Location considered a front-runner for proposed $230 million ballet-opera house. Most of the land remains in Avro Group ownership, with a small portion owned by Torstar Corp. Roth offers to donate some of the site for the arts complex, in return for increased density on the remainder, where he plans to build two office towers.

Late '80s to early 1990s: City places holding bylaw on waterfront lands during Olympic bid, freezes development.

1996: Avro gets land rezoned for residential use, allowing about 1,400 condos.

2002: OMB permits 2,000 residential units at MT27 but restricts height to 14 storeys.

2005: Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. attempts to buy the land but doesn't have enough money.

2005: TWRC pays Torstar $12.5 million for a half hectare just east of Captain John's restaurant (now a parking lot).

May 12, 2007: Current developers Cityzen and Fernbrook Homes unveil plans for a complex of five buildings with 1,500 to 2,000 units. Marketing to begin early this summer with construction of first phaseto be completed over next 2 1/2 years. A 25-metre waterfront promenade proposed.

July 4, 2007: Cityzen and Fernbrook to go before Toronto's committee of adjustment for site plan approval.
Compiled by Leslie Ferenc

I assume your 'starchitect cultural palace' refers to the 1987 'Metro Hall' or 1988 'ballet opera house' plans? If that's the case, I'd remind you what a great deal of architecture looked like and aspired to in the late 1980s - I think it's safe to say we dodged a potential bullet there.
 
I'll never understand the hate some people have for condo developments. There is a massive housing shortage in Toronto. People need places to live. You can't expect every condo to be a work of art because the cost of that is huge and housing is already unaffordable.
 
The other side of the wall. From Doors Open today.

IMG_9685.JPG
 

Attachments

  • IMG_9685.JPG
    IMG_9685.JPG
    214.9 KB · Views: 1,379
Wow, that add on wall along the boardwalk area is ugly. It would be one thing if no one could see it but people can
see it from Sugar Beach, am I right?
 
Wow, that add on wall along the boardwalk area is ugly. It would be one thing if no one could see it but people can
see it from Sugar Beach, am I right?

I don't think you can see it from Sugar Beach. Redpath blocks it.
 
Ed is correct, it cannot be seen from Sugar Beach. The building into which the sugar is unloaded blocks the view. This mid-April view from George Brown's roof shows what can be seen.

DSC00891.jpg


42
 

Attachments

  • DSC00891.jpg
    DSC00891.jpg
    738 KB · Views: 1,280
I love that signpost piece in front of the art gallery on Queen's Quay. The colours are bright and it looks fun to a casual passer-by, but then some of the text is really quite dark.
 

Back
Top