Mar. 23, 2017
Development plans for the new Mirvish Village will include five towers, city staff confirmed to Signal Toronto on Thursday. The buildings – 26, 25, 24, 19 and13 storeys, respectively – will be situated between Bathurst and Markham Streets. The tallest building will be 85 metres high.
The city’s Preservation Board approved the heritage elements of the development plans at its meeting on Thursday morning. The proposal suggests keeping 24 buildings in the area on the heritage list, and recommends removing the designation from three buildings that will be demolished.
However, despite continuing to call it Mirvish Village, committee members at Thursday’s meeting confirmed that neither the Honest Ed’s department store nor its iconic facade will be designated for heritage preservation. Currently, the city does not have any heritage powers that will protect the gigantic signs from being removed and trashed.
“The signs are technically considered chattel; they are not tied to real property and real property is the only thing you can designate,” city heritage manager Mary MacDonald explained to the committee. However, MacDonald said she would explore how the signs could be incorporated into the planning application before it goes to community council. “It’s a new idea so we’d have to talk about it with [the developer] Westbank,” she explained after the meeting. “Essentially, [heritage staff] might want to have a plan that puts in writing everything we’ve talked about, but in some ways, because we haven’t negotiated that up to this point, we’ll have to just talk about what that means and doesn’t mean.”
Westbank Corp. spokesperson Anne O’Hagan said on Thursday that the developer intends to incorporate a few smaller signs into the final plan, although they haven’t decided which ones. “[Westbank] is going to take all the signs off the building to examine them and determine their condition. Then they’re going to reinstate a number of them once the development is complete,” O’Hagan said by phone Thursday afternoon.
There is one plan to keep part of a Honest Ed’s sign, but in another area of the city. David Mirvish told The Globe and Mail’s Eric Andrew-Gee that he is more sentimental than he realized about saving the sign. According to a press release on Westbank’s website, demolition of Honest Ed’s is set to happen this spring.
City media relations spokesperson Bruce Hawkins said updated technical specifications for the buildings, including heights, will be in a report that will go to Toronto and East York Community Council on April 4.