Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Final Step in the Demolition of 66 Baby Point Rd.; Nov 30, 2010

It started on this cold, damp and grey November morning with the sounds of bricks crashing, a chimney falling, glass tinkling as it tumbled to smashed concrete below..... the last of a period house, the centre piece of almost 90 years of residential history in the Baby Point Circle.

Done, demolished and dumped in a dirty truck. A chapter written by Lorne Bozinoff with an unhappy ending for all concerned.

If this were a Thai house, the spirits will be displeased. This is not a blessed "Feng Shui" place.

Home Smith once famously said "Do we want to be like Birmingham or Pittsburgh or do we want to be like Paris or London?". With neighbourly values like those displayed in the 66 Baby Point matter, and a development policy that aids and abets developers like this, it appears we are on our way to being the former.

Lorne Bozinoff President of Forum Research of Toronto is a specialist in public opinion with corporate and government clientele. Yet, he failed to consider the significant statistic of 150 of his neighbours opposed to his plan to demolish a 1923 Arts & Crafts home, and erect a home that is nearly three times the size of his local neighbours. The beautiful Arts & Crafts home was a striking anchor feature of the Home Smith Baby Point Circle, occupying the key position in the sweeping circle for which Home Smith's design is famous. His new home, a 6800 sq.ft home has been the subject of considerable controversy. Despite repeated attempts by the Baby Point neighbourhood to reach out to Mr. Bozinoff, he has failed on the scorecard of basic neighbourly values and proceeded in a decidedly questionable manner relative to his expertise in public opinion.

Monday, November 29, 2010

66 Baby Point Rd.

This wonderful example of an Arts & Craft style house that populates the majority if not all of Home Smith's Humber Valley Survey developments is facing demolition in the very near future.

The trees are cut, the gas is off, the overlooked water service is now secured and the owners finally remembered to come and unlock the door to let Hydro do its thing.

It is now a dead house and no longer a home. The evisceration has started. The antique 19th Century all marble fireplace imported yesteryear from Europe has felt the hammer. The eight inch planked solid oak floors will be the next to go. Then the 4-1/2 ft. walnut/oak wainscotting. The finale will be the dust that settles around the custom crown molded celings when they come crashing down. The chandeliers will never see light in this splendid house that was once a home.

New trees, new lawn, new home, none will replace this one being torn from the ground.

The Demolition of 66 Baby Point Road Continues

Another Utility bites the dust!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Not anymore...They are knocking me down!

November 27th., 2010

The water is off and the trees are gone
The lawn is not cut and the tenant has gone
The hydro is not off but that won't be long
Now only a dead house but once a home...
No music, no laughter, not a hint of a song!

Not anymore, they are knocking me down.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Demolition marches On - November 26, 2010

November 26th., 2010

Utility Crew arrives to shut off water at 66 Baby Point Road

Workman asks "Are these people nuts ?"

Now ain't that the truth... the Emporer's clothes fable in our own front yard.

The common man knows reality when he sees it day in & day out

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Update on Impending Demolition of 66 Baby Point Rd

November 24th saw the utility people arrive to cut of the electricity to 66 Baby Point Road. Demolition Derby is just around the corner even though winter is almost upon us.

If 66 Baby Point Road was like the family homestead above, then demolition would be understandable. However, truth be told, it isn't and in spite of statements by the owners that this Arts & Crafts style home has "bad bones" this claim challenges credulity... a home with wide planked oak floors, wainscoting to covet and so on!

All this and more have waited for a new owner with imagination, sensitivity to local concerns and a commitment to heritage preservation.. It is not to be!

Robert Home Smith, Conn Smythe and the ghosts of Babys' past, among others, are probably rolling over in their graves at this display of architectural sacrilege and hubris.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Demolition of 66 Baby Point Road Underway

November 14, 2010

The final chapter in the desecration of an historic neighbourhood has commenced. Note the markings on the lawn outlining the position of water & electricity service locations!

Seven months has passed since Mr. & Mrs. Lorne Bozinoff were granted site plan approval by City Council to demolish a 90 year old home at 66 Baby Point Road and erect in its place a 7,000 sq ft. three story home.

The majority of the neighbourhood registered their opposition to this project at every level available to them. All to no effect. Over the last 2-1/2 years since the Property was purchased by the Bozinoffs' they have awaited in vain for communication from the principals that they would modify or adapt there plans in order to integrate them with the existing built culture and heritage of this historic neighbourhood.

This neighbourhood was created by the forethought and vision of the late Robert Home Smith, and his design associates in the Toronto Land Corporation and the Humber Valley Estates. A responsible land development company that brought in to existence the Kingsway,the Old Mill, Riverside Drive among others.

The establishment of fully treed and wide street scapes, with judicious placement of the homes and the creation of spacious apertures between individual houses achieved an eye pleasing vista throughout the Baby Point Region. A built culture that rivals any other residential area in the City of Toronto for aesthetics and sensitivity to the geography of the area, that on the north or Baby Point Road side, includes the slope lands of the Humber River ravine.

The Community Council got it wrong, The City Council got it wrong. Councillor Bill Saundercook got it wrong as the recent election demonstrated, and those residents of the area that support this undertaking have also got it wrong.

The present home at 66 Baby Point Road is a central feature of the street scape that limits the Baby Point Circle on the north side of that area. It has what is called by Toronto Preservation Services, "contributory value" to the integrity of the area. It not only has that distinction, but in point of fact, it contributes more to the integrity of the area than any single other home in that group.

Several individuals who support the project, have commented that the available drawings of the new edifice look "nice". Mr. Bozinoff has publicly stated "you will like my new house".

However, they have all missed the point. The oversized new home cannot take on the role of being the "lynch pin" that integrates the architectural diversity of the north side of "Baby Point Circle". In fact, it will destroy it.

The contributory role played by 66 Baby Point Road in forming the aesthetics of the present streetscape did not happen by accident. It is the result of careful architectural design and land use planning. The placement of the present house on the curvature of the street creates a focal point that leads the eye in a gentle sweep around the curve of the north side of Baby Point Rd. It is the centrepiece of the seven homes that form the northern residential boundary of "The "Circle".

The relatively smaller size of this house assures that it does not dominate the streetscape but passively embraces it and melds quietly into it. The wide space between the adjacent homes is the design feature that achieves a sense of spaciousness for the neighbourhood.

Finally, the "Arts and Craft" design is sufficiently varied from the adjacent six homes that it creates a sense of individual identity to each of them while seamlessly integrating all of them into a visual tapestry that embraces the open spaces of "The Circle" to the south.

The demolition of this house cannot be viewed in isolation. The adverse effect on the remaining homes and the Baby Point Circle street scape is incalculable. However, let there be no doubt, the effect will be profoundly negative and irreversible.

The size of the new home, at twice the size on average of the adjacent homes, insures that it will dominate the street. Its placement will not be on the previous footprint, but on a new setback line. As a consequence, this will disrupt the visual rythym of the "en echelon" placement of the remaining houses as designed by Home Smith's architects and land use planners.

In addition, the lot line to lot line occupation of the property will significantly diminish the sense of spaciousness that is the hallmark of the neighbourhood by eliminating the wide visual apertures and associated sightlines to the north.

It has been said that money has no ethics, it also has no sense of aesthetic values. In all cases these attributes derive from the individual in whose pockets the money rests.

Over the century that has passed since Home Smith acquired the Baby Point lands (once the historic home lands of Sir James Baby) it has been the unspoken commitment that those who came to live in this historic neighbourhood, or aspire to live here recognizing the areas unique character and heritage, would respect the original design covenants established by Home Smith.

It is a large responsibility, but one which is easy to transgress if one is not mindful of the above maxim.

It is now universally recognized ,with the benefit of hindsight, that the only protection that historic enclaves such as Baby Point have, in the face of the onslaught of expressions of wealth and personal ambition, is the protection offered by designation as a Heritage Conservation District.

However, the barriers to achieving this distinction are many, including significant financial considerations. Consequently, an HCD may be beyond reach in the immediate future! It will require a major commitment by the community at large and major support at both the governmental level of the city and at the provincial level to achieve this goal.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Destruction of 66 Baby Point Rd. Site starts To-day

November 11, 2010 Tree Cutters Arrive