RECENT NEWS ABOUT THE CONN SMYTHE HOUSE, 68 BABY POINT ROAD, TORONTO – CTV NEWS, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, THE ETOBICOKE GUARDIAN. PLEASE REFER TO LINKS BELOW:
(Excerpt taken from the September 8, 2016, article in the Etobicoke Guardian written by Cynthia Reason. For full article please click on link below)
Etobicoke York Community Council voted unanimously this week in favour of protecting the home of late Toronto Maple Leafs founder Conn Smythe with a heritage designation.
The home, located at 68 Baby Point Rd. in Ward 13, was commissioned by the Hockey Hall of Famer in 1926 and designed by Toronto architect George Roper Gouinlock.
Smythe – who co-owned the Leafs, coached Canada’s gold-medal Olympic team in 1928, and initiated the building of Maple Leaf Gardens and the original Hockey Hall of Fame on the grounds of Exhibition Place – lived in the Arts and Crafts/Tudor Revival style manor until his death in 1980.
The vote in favour of heritage designation by west-end councillors at the Wednesday, Sept. 7 session of Etobicoke York Community Council (EYCC) came on the heels of the property’s sale to new owners just last month.
The Bloor West Villager
Toronto to launch heritage studies of Bloor West Village and Baby Point neighbourhoods
Wed., Mar 30, 2016 | By Lisa Rainford
Members of Baby Point and Bloor West Village area community associations are in a celebratory state after the city’s recent approval to study Heritage Conservation Districts (HCDs) for both neighbourhoods this year.
“It’s really big for us. It’s a reason to celebrate,” Baby Point Heritage Foundation board member Danica Loncar said.
HCDs serve to ensure that historically significant areas are protected and Toronto’s cultural heritage values and characteristics are maintained, according to the city’s preservation services.
“We’ve been angling for this for the last three years,” said Jamie Isbister, president of the Bloor West Village Residents Association (BWVRA).
His group has been collaborating with the Swansea Area Ratepayers Association, the Old Mill Humbercrest Neighbourhood Association, and the High Park Residents Association.
“We’re tickled it’s been approved and funded. It’s one thing to be approved, the other thing was to get it through the budget process. We’ve passed those hurdles.”
The two HCD studies should commence in late fall, according to Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette, after the completion of the approved Bloor Street West Planning Study. A working group was established late last year in preparation of the approval, which meant that when it went through, residents were able to “hit the ground running,” Doucette said.
“There will be a great deal of community consultation open to everyone, so be prepared to think about what makes Bloor Street important to you,” the councillor said in her weekly e-newsletter.
The Bloor Street West Planning Study will serve as another tool for residents’ associations when in discussions with developers about what is appropriate for the area, Isbister said.
“It’s unusual for an HCD and Avenue Study to take place at the same time,” he said.
However, their overlapping will allow for information to be shared and all involved to be better informed, Doucette said.
All the groups involved are grateful to Doucette, who they say was “integral” to the process.
“We couldn’t have done it without her,” Isbister said. “She’s been very effective in advancing our cause.”
Loncar added, “Sarah worked really hard. She really tried to push it through.”
The Baby Point Heritage Foundation’s main objective is to move forward with an HCD designation, however it has an educational component as well.
“We like to get people engaged, to learn about the heritage. Baby Point has a rich and beautiful heritage both architecturally and environmentally,” Loncar said. “We do workshops and information evenings.”
The foundation is hosting its AGM on Thursday, May 26 at the Baby Point Clubhouse, 71 Baby Point Rd., at 7:30 p.m. There will be wine and cheese and will feature guest speaker Bill Whitla of The William Morris Society of Canada, who will speak about the Arts and Crafts Movement, an architectural style used by Baby Point Architect Robert Home Smith.
Most people who Baby Point Heritage Foundation members speak to react positively to the idea of an HCD, Loncar said.
“There are a lot of misconceptions concerning HCDs, that they’ll stop you from building an addition on your home, which it absolutely won’t. We’re interested in preserving the streetscape more than what you do inside your home. No one is interfering in regards to upgrades. We want to encourage people to take care of their homes.”
More information about HCDs and the Bloor Street West Planning Study will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, Doucette told her constituents, “I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this a reality. There’s still more to do, but our hard work will help create better communities moving forward.
Bloor West Villager
Baby Point residents pen book on neighbourhood’s history
Tue., Sep 17, 2013 | By Lisa Rainford
Baby Point residents Pam Slaughter and Robert Galway’s new book about the history of the neighbourhood they both have called home for the past several decades would not have been written were it not for the loss of one of the area’s historically significant homes.
In November of 2010, an original, 1920s Arts and Craft Robert Home Smith-designed one-and-a-half storey cottage was torn down to make room for a new house almost double its size, despite the community’s opposition and efforts to save it.
“The book wouldn’t have happened without the impetus of the destruction of one of the original houses, one of heritage value,” said Galway, a 40-year resident of Baby Point Road. “It was a wake-up call.”
Motivation for the book, Baby Point: The Place Where We Live was borne out of that “unfortunate” loss, agreed Slaughter.
“One of our goals is educating people, giving them a tool that let’s people know about the place they live,” she said. “We want to help people understand why this place is unique.”
The book is a comprehensive, 178 page collection of the historical, archeological/geological and architectural record of the area and includes lots of photographs, historical and archival material and maps. Members of the Baby Point Heritage Foundation, a group founded in part in response to the years-long battle to save 66 Baby Point Rd. from demolition, encouraged Galway and Slaughter to write the book. Both experts in the health field, she an epidemiologist, adept at researching the causes and consequences of illness and disease, and he, an orthopedic surgeon, are accustomed to research, said Slaughter.
“We treated (the book) as something we had to get done. We weren’t intimidated by it,” she said.
From pen-to-paper-to-print, the book was a four-month process that started at the end of February. Self-published through blurb.com, an online book publishing site, ‘Baby Point’ is a fundraiser for the Baby Point Heritage Foundation and is currently for sale. Slaughter has shopped the book to a few local stores as well.
“It’s been fascinating to get their response,” she said. “The book has emotional attachment to both of us.”
The area boasts archaeological significance; it is situated next to the Humber, designated a heritage river, and to the Carrying Place Trail.
“I never realized the wealth of information that is out there through the City of Toronto Archives and Toronto Public Library. My biggest surprise was the depth of information at the City of Toronto,” said Galway.
In order to capitalize on episodic sales offered by the publisher based on volume ordered, the books will be ordered this month. Depending on the sale price achieved, publisher shipping costs and taxes, the current estimated cost is $60 for the soft cover and $70 for hard cover. These costs include a donation to the Foundation. Pre-ordering copies helps reduce the published price.
To order a copy, call 416-604-1399 or email email@example.com
Bloor West Villager
Baby Point residents acknowledge ‘hollow’ victory after land goes up for sale
Tue., May 21, 2013 | By Lisa Rainford
Baby Point residents acknowledge ‘hollow’ victory after land goes up for sale
Nearby residents are acknowledging a “hollow” victory upon learning last week that the property at 66 Baby Point Rd. is on the market after its owner sought permission from the city to build a “mega mansion,” despite neighbours’ opposition.
“The rumour mill started a couple of weeks ago,” neighbour David Ceolin said on Monday, May 13. “I ran into an agent outside the lot. We saw the sign go up on Friday.”
For years the community fought tooth and nail to stop Lorne Bozinoff and his wife from demolishing the heritage cottage and building an almost 6,000 square foot house in its place.
“I think the community feels it was worth it to stand up for the neighbourhood. It must have had some impact because now the lot’s for sale,” Ceolin said.
The original 1920’s Arts and Craft cottage was demolished in November 2010, seven months after Toronto City Council granted its owners site plan approval making them eligible for a building permit. The couple planned to replace the historic Robert Home Smith-designed one-and-a-half storey house to make room for a 5,800 sq-ft., three-storey detached dwelling. Bozinoff assured the community the new home would blend in with the existing character of the neighbourhood.
“I don’t want the house to stick out like a sore thumb,” Bozinoff once said at a public meeting. “We’ve looked at a lot of the houses in the neighbourhood and captured some of their features.”
Repeated requests for comment went unanswered by The Villager’s press deadline.
When a Committee of Adjustment granted the Bozinoffs “a minor variance” allowing them to build their new house mere metres from the sidewalk, area residents fought the decision at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and lost. The provincial body deemed the development “appropriate.” The property is currently listed for sale at $2,495,000.
Area real estate agent Nutan Brown said the property had yet to receive any offers as of May 16.
“I wish him all the best. I hope he’s successful in securing this price point, but I feel it’s a little ambitious,” said Brown.
Looking for a silver lining, Ceolin said the community’s battle served to heighten awareness about the potential for people coming into the area and making over the community.
“I think we’re all sort of relieved, but still holding our breath. Here’s the legacy we’re left with. He levels one of the most beautiful houses on the circle and walks away,” said Ceolin, who added the property was purchased for $1.8 million.
Kevin O’Doherty, an 11-year Baby Point resident, said he is feeling “somewhat ambivalent.” Tearing down the historic cottage has “left a gaping hole in the community.”
“The process is such that if (a project) goes to the OMB and it’s within the Official Plan guidelines, it’ll get approved,” said O’Doherty. “The control is not in the hands of the taxpayer – it’s clearly in the hands of the developer.”
In Baby Point, according to Sue Fenwick, a resident of 11 years, it’s not about having the biggest or flashiest house.
“It’s about the people. It’s a community with a heart,” she said. “I don’t like the disrespect that was shown to the community.”
There is apprehension as to what will happen next, according to Dr. Robert Galway, who has lived in Baby Point for the past four decades. No matter what size structure is built, the streetscape will be altered, he said.
“We need better protection from our elected government officials,” said Galway. “Everyone who got involved from the committee of adjustment to council to the OMB has let us down.”
Efforts to stop the proposed development led Galway to create the Baby Point Heritage Foundation (BPHF), which is dedicated to preserving, protecting and increasing the knowledge and respect for the history as well as the architectural and cultural heritage of the Baby Point area.
“The neighbourhood is now cognizant of what a great resource this neighbourhood that goes back 300 years is,” he said. The group is working towards a Heritage District designation.
“We have submitted as formal application to the city,” said Galway.
He is also in the midst of co-writing a book about the history of Baby Point. On Friday, May 24, the BPHF is hosting a special event and social to view the Rogers TV program, Structures, featuring Baby Point.
The Bloor West Villager:
Homeowner allowed to demolish Baby Point home
Fri., Apr 23, 2010 | By Lisa Rainford
Toronto City Council granted a Baby Point Road homeowner permission to acquire a building permit and begin the demolition of his 1920s Arts and Crafts cottage, much to the chagrin of his neighbours.
Property owner Lorne Bozinoff plans to tear down the historic Robert Home Smith-designed one-and-a-half storey house and replace it with a 5,800 square foot (which doesn’t include the garage), three-storey detached dwelling, a building he says will blend in with others on the Baby Point circle.
Etobicoke York Community Council voted in favour of allowing Bozinoff to go ahead with his plans for 66 Baby Point Rd., March 9 followed by city council’s approval March 31, despite Parkdale-High Park Councillor Bill Saundercook’s motion to defer.
“I relented to go to city council and ask for a deferral, which did get rejected,” said Saundercook. “It’s not an application that city staff was saying, ‘It’s too big.’ Everyone at city council had given approval. The applicant can go ahead, he’s eligible for a building permit.”
Saundercook said he wanted to work with the owner/applicant and not against him.
“I think he is still interested in working with his neighbours,” said Saundercook in an interview. “He’s still adamant to improve his relationship with his neighbours.”
David Ceolin, a nearby neighbour of Bozinoff’s, said that for generations, the Baby Point Circle has “stood as a testament to fine urban planning and a magnificent vision of homes in synchronicity… As others often point out, the streetscape, the aperture between homes and relative scale of the grand homes of the circle remain one of the finest examples of urban planning in Canada.”
More than 150 people – 90 per cent of the neighbourhood – have registered their opposition against the project, saying its mass and density is greater 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 neighbour Robert Galway, who has lived in the area for 40 years.
“I don’t understand council’s decision when you have a fact like that staring you in the face,” he said.
Mary Anne De Monte-Whelan, a Baby Point resident for the past two decades, said most homes in the area have been restored to some extent or another.
“Are we against improving homes? No, lots of us have done it, but there is a certain way of respecting the neighbourhood when you do it,” she said. “I’ve lived in two Robert Home Smith homes and they were extremely architecturally strong homes. It can be done if there’s a desire. There are many, many places you can go if you want a monstrous home. This isn’t one of those places, they’re not in Baby Point.”
The optimal approach to this project would be to restore the present property to its former glory, said Galway, while retaining its architectural authenticity and the integrity of the streetscape.
“The architectural foresight of Robert Home Smith, the developer of the Baby Point area, was ahead of his time
His principles of property layout are deserving of respect and should not give way to architectural largesse as is the case associated with this application.
Even though the majority of the neighbourhood opposes the project, dubbed a “McMansion,” Saundercook said the “chances at the Ontario Municipal Board were not very favourable to the opposition.”
Asked how he is dealing with his neighbour’s disapproval of his proposed new home, Bozinoff said, “We’re mulling over the comments.”
After meeting with Bozinoff and his wife on his property and consulting with city hall staff, Saundercook said he learned the Bozinoffs were “well within their rights.”
“I could have easily said, ‘I’m opposed to this,’ but I said ‘let’s not alienate ourselves from the process. Let’s find a compromise,'” said Saundercook.
Galway said council’s decision reflected a lack of leadership from the local councillor.
Frustrated to learn their councillor had voted in favour of the development at community council, his constituents pressed Saundercook at a public meeting, March 25, to vote for a deferral at city council at the end of March. In the end, 18 councillors voted against his request for a 45-day referral. At that same meeting, area residents were concerned Bozinoff’s house would drive up their property taxes.
“I checked with finance staff,” said Saundercook. “One house will not trigger an upward cost in taxes.”
In response to Saundercook’s lack of early involvement, Baby Point residents hired their own representation, lawyer David Bronskill of the firm Goodmans, who pointed out at the March 25 meeting that Bozinoff has shown little willingness to modify his plans or consult with the neighbourhood.
According to Bronskill, as far as the property tax issue is concerned, “property taxes are determined through market assessment often by looking at recent sales and comparative properties. New construction tends to result in increased market value for the neighbourhood and therefore increased property taxes.”
“The neighbourhood hopes that Mr. and Mrs. Bozinoff would finally demonstrate that they want to become good neighbours by scaling back their building plans in the face of 150 of their neighbours expressing opposition over the past year,” said Carrie McKean, a six-year resident on Baby Point.
Galway echoed her sentiments.
“My hope is still that the owner will listen to the community, who is still trying to communicate with him,” he said.