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Architects seek feedback on St. Lawrence heritage conservation plan

Front Street East.

The Flatiron Building.

King & Sherbourne (north side).

This week Torontonians got a chance to provide feedback on proposed strategies to protect and nurture the heritage character of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, an area that includes the first 10 blocks of the city laid out by Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1793.
Council identified the district a high priority area for a Heritage Conservation District back in 2012 and commissioned a study that was endorsed in 2014. Now Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet et associés architects (FGMDA) have put together draft policies and guidelines to show off to the public.
“It’s been building on material from the study,” says Caitlin Allan, a planner with Bousfields Inc., which has been working with FGMDA and the city on the heritage district process.
Since the study, FGMDA has compiled a detailed list of all the properties in the area and has divided them into two groups: buildings that contribute toward the heritage character of the district and those that don’t. Each group would be subjected to different proposed policies and guidelines that would determine how their buildings should look and how owners can contribute to that character. Torontonians got their first opportunity to look at those proposals Tuesday, and the feedback from that session will be taken into account for another consultation later this spring. A final document could go to City Council for approval some time this year.
Will the designation of Heritage Conservation District have a noticeable visual impact on the area in the next five or 10 years? Maybe not. The policies and guidelines likely won’t force existing property owners to make their properties look more historic.  But they will shape future development—and heritage rules have more force than comparable zoning-based policies and guidelines.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Sources: Sarah Corey and Caitlin Allan
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