The Lowertown Community Association supports development on the site of the former Our Lady's School. A sensitive low-rise development will end the years of neighbourhood blight.
However, we oppose the demolition of the humble Workers' double at 281-283 Cumberland. This little building is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act and has been part of this streetscape for more than 150 years.
In a single sentence, the City Staff report dismisses its demolition as collateral damage. We are asked to accept that the preservation of two walls of the Our Lady’s School “offsets this loss”. Its demolition is not inevitable and the interesting history of its inhabitants is just beginning to emerge.
The unusual asymmetrical form indicates a commercial and residential use. At 283 Cumberland we know that Adelaide Marenger, Marie Desilets, and Hermiline Brunette turned to self-employment to sustain their families. As widows, they engaged in enterprises that could be conducted from their homes with revenue generating businesses as landladies, storekeepers, and dressmakers.
Only if we retain and care for our built history, will we keep the stories that enrich our community alive.
Heritage guidelines and overlays are in place to encourage compatible infill development and discourage demolition. These should be applied to ensure the remnants of the two walls of the Our Lady’s School are showcased to the fullest.
We would like to see a project that integrates and protects 281-283 Cumberland. It should also pay homage in scale, massing and materials to the unique brick double at 207-209 Murray Street, demolished in 2013. We request a St. Patrick Street design that compliments the neighbouring low-rise residences. The community deserves an infill that respects our historic streetscapes.
The developer has presented an interesting concept, but this is not a development application. The final project and the implications of rezoning requirements cannot be properly understood without a detailed development application, which should go through all the normal and mandated public consultation processes.
Liz MacKenzie, Co-Chair Heritage Committee,
Lowertown Community Association
Nancy Miller Chenier, Co-Chair Heritage Committee,