Wells Hill is one of the most significant streets in the City of Toronto with it’s regal homes and setbacks featuring the prominence of some of Toronto’s old growth forest. One of the oldest houses in the neighbourhood and one that was in it’s almost original condition was the house located at 72 Wells Hill – original built by Frank Denison and then inhabited by over 40 years by the Neilson family connected to the famous Neilson Dairy business.
The property had been divided many years ago into a number of rental units and became under attack after a Toronto lawyer purchased the property with the intention of demolishing it completely and building a monster home in it’s place. The neighbourhood mobilized and made it’s intention to request designation under the Ontario Heritage Act while the property was under purchase condition. The purchaser chose to ignore the wishes of the community to ensure that the property be preserved and adaptively reused and sought demolition by all legal means available to them.
Fortunately through the work of the tenants and the community in collaboration with Toronto Heritage Preservation Services the property was designated before a demolition permit could be issued. The Purchaser reworked his plans and will now maintain certain architectural elements of the façade and unique positioning of the original structure and historic old growth trees and build a new residence on the property.