Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Big Hole in the Streetscape for Winter Time

This picture speaks for itself! (click image to spread & enlarge it)

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 analyzing public opinion.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Demolition begins on 66 Baby Point (click title => BPHF Website

  • Toronto Online & The Villager|
  • Nov 30, 2010 - 11:31 AM

Demolition begins on Baby Point cottage

Demolition begins on Baby Point cottage. Despite the protests of the Concerned Residents of Baby Point Circle, the city-approved demolition of a 1920s Arts and Craft Cottage at 66 Baby Point Road began early Tuesday morning, Nov. 30. Courtesy photo
Members of the Concerned Residents of Baby Point Circle are devastated that demolition began early Tuesday morning Nov. 30 on a neighbouring 1920s Arts and Craft cottage.

Seven months ago, Toronto City Council granted its owners, Lorne Bozinoff and his wife, site plan approval making them eligible for a building permit. The couple are demolishing the historic Robert Home Smith-designed one-and-a-half storey house at 66 Baby Point Rd. to make room for a 5,800-square foot, three-storey detached dwelling.

Bozinoff has said it will blend in with the others on the Baby Point Circle.

Unable to connect with the Bozinoffs, neighbours were only able to speculate when exactly the demolition would commence, but signs that it was imminent began popping up last week.

"We can only infer that this is going to happen," said 40-year Baby Point resident Dr. Robert Galway Thursday, Nov. 25, pointing out that a utility company arrived Nov. 24 to cut off electricity to 66 Baby Point Rd.

Galway took photographs depicting spray-painted markings on the lawn outlining the position of water and electricity service locations and trees being cut down.

Calls to Bozinoff and an email to his lawyer requesting comment were not returned by The Villager's deadline.

More than 150 people - 90 per cent of the neighbourhood - have registered their opposition against the project saying its size is more than twice as large as the homes around it. The adjacent homes average 2,700 square feet. The Bozinoffs' house would be two-and-a-half times larger than the average, said Galway.

"Just two weeks ago, I ran into a lady whose grandfather had been one of Home Smith's architects. She said her grandfather would say (Home Smith) was really meticulous in his demands for perfection. The wide spaces in Baby Point are not by accident," said Galway. "Bozinoff has really shown disdain for the heritage of the neighbourhood that goes back 300 years."

Since the Bozinoffs purchased the property two-and-a-half years ago, Galway said he and his neighbours have been waiting in vain for any indication that the couple has any intention of adapting their plans to better integrate the house with the existing heritage of the neighbourhood.

At a public meeting, March 25, Bozinoff said he was attracted to the Baby Point area for its historical character.

"This has me a little bit puzzled," said Kevin O'Doherty, who has lived in Baby Point for eight years. "It's the character of the neighbourhood that's going to be affected by the demolition."

Six-year resident of the neighbourhood Wendy Brown said that even though the Bozinoffs are within their rights, according to the bylaws, "it's a unique house."

"You'd think they'd want to preserve it," she said.

Councillor-elect Sarah Doucette said she has been in contact with city officials via email (she was not permitted to meet with them personally until Dec. 1 when she will be sworn in as councillor).

"I've just been double-checking to see if everything is in order," said Doucette, who has met with Baby Point residents. "I felt approaching the homeowner would be over-stepping my mark as councillor-elect. After Dec. 1, I'm going to ask him if the community can have a look at the plans. The community hasn't seen any plans, I think that's their biggest concern. I'm hoping we can negotiate some changes."

In the meantime, Doucette confirmed that Bozinoff had secured demolition and building permits. And, the trees he had cut down were approved by Toronto's urban forestry department.

The Concerned Residents of Baby Point Circle are in the midst of pursuing the possibility of a heritage conservation district designation to stop any future building projects of this nature. Visit for further details.