When the new Harbour Light was finished the Salvation Army found they no longer had a use for the 450 Pape Avenue site and put it on the market. They received an offer to purchase with the intent to demolish the existing building and erect condominiums. This proposal prompted a huge response from the community and an outpouring of support for it to be designated a Heritage property. This designation was ratified at the August meeting of City Council and gives the property legal protection under the Ontario Heritage Act. It means the building can’t be demolished or physically altered on the outside without the permission of the City.
A private daycare subsequently made an offer to purchase but that fell through when Pape Avenue School became a full day kindergarten. While this use would have been a good fit for the community there were concerns about the traffic associated with dropping off and picking up 120 children each day at the busy corner of Pape and Riverdale.
For some time now, a group of local visual artists has been working to create affordable housing. While the creative sector is an important part of Toronto’s economy, artists very often qualify as low wage earners. Now that the City has purchased 450 Pape Avenue, it will look for a partner with whom to build affordable housing when the next Federal-Provincial housing program is announced.
This use of 450 Pape Avenue is a win-win:
- it has been designated as a Heritage building and the proposed use is a good community fit
- the Salvation Army will realize its value for the home and be in a position to pay down their loans for the new Harbour Light Centre on Jarvis Street
- the City will be able to build more affordable units for low wage earners.
If you have other ideas for affordable housing, I would very much like to hear from you. Please contact me at [email protected]
or by calling 416-392-4060.