1872 Parker Street

As many of will recall, we were lucky enough to have a tour of the interior of Brookhouse at 1872 Parker some while ago.  This was just after a new owner had decided to move ahead with an HRA for the property.  Unfortunately, that project had difficuties and the current owner is seeking a demolition order and the right to build two duplexes.  68 members of GHG have signed the following letter in protest at that plan:

Subject: Development applications (DE417015 and DE417016), 1872 Parker Street

We the undersigned, who together form the Grandview Heritage Group, protest the above-listed development applications and insist that any demolition activity on this property be denied until the heritage house at 1872 Parker is properly assessed with a Statement of Significance and all options are explored for the house’s adaptive re-use under a Heritage Revitalization Agreement.

Built in 1909, the house is one of only about a dozen Queen Anne-style homes whose signature turret has become an identifying emblem of the Grandview area. In spite of its poor condition due to years of neglect, the house still is a landmark on a very prominent section of Victoria Drive, adding character and sharing the streetscape with the 1910 Copp House at Napier and the Hawkins residence (designated and rehabilitated as part of Britannia Lodge) between Napier and Parker. Other significant Queen Anne-style houses in nearby blocks are the Odlum House (a coop on Grant Avenue) and Kurrajong (designated) at Napier and Salsbury.
As well as its distinctive architecture, the house still contains significant interior detailing, in spite of its decades as a rooming house.
In the Mount Pleasant area near City Hall, houses of this style have attracted the interest of sympathetic developers: for example, the former Anglican Women’s Auxiliary house at 334 West 14th, has recently begun the process of conversion into suites with an infill building. It is only laziness and expediency on the part of the property’s current owners that is prompting them to consider demolition of such a heritage asset.

It is our understanding that work was done a year or so ago to develop plans for a Heritage Revitalization Agreement. We insist that these or similar plans become the basis for a future use of the home. Demolition, in this “greenest city,” is simply not an option.

Your sincerely,

The Grandview Heritage Group

Clearing Victoria Park 1909

The following is what is almost certainly a previously unknown photograph of the clearing of Victoria Park in 1909.  The image was taken by Edward Faraday Odlum and is shown here courtesy of Ms. Ruth Raymond, a descendant.

Victoria Park clearing 1901This is a view of the as-yet-uncleared Park looking north from the south-east corner of Grant Street & Victoria Drive.  The houses are on what was then Bismark Street (now Kitchener). The old Fire Hall and the Queen Anne-style Jeff’s House at Charles & Salsbury can be seen in the background.

This is a marvelous addition to our knowledge of the Park and we thank Ms. Raymond most sincerely for sharing this treasure with us, and to James Evans for forwarding it..

The Growth of Restaurants on The Drive

I was recently asked about the growth of the number of restaurants on the Drive and I happen to have a graph I made in 2010 that shows that growth.

The graph below shows the number of eating places on the Drive between Venables and the Cut annually from 1935 to 1956.  In addition, the last two columns show the number in 1982 and 2010.


We have added even more since 2010.

The first reaction might well be, isn’t that wonderful — all these places to eat!  Yes, but for most of the 80+ restaurants we have added since the 1950s means that some other business had to close, businesses that had some value to the residential neighbourhood that Grandview is outside the Drive. Where now do we buy furniture, or appliances, get our shoes repaired, etc etc?