The historic beginnings of Toronto can still be found on the top of the Davenport Escarpment with the ”Four Grand Old Ladies on the Hill” that ushered in the development of modern Toronto and include: the Austin’s Spadina House, Pellatt’s famous Casa Loma, E.J. Lennox’ own home, and finally, John Lyle’s house for Col. Maclean, one of Canada’s most important Canadians.
The property had been converted to a rental property following the death of Col. Maclean and was architecturally in a state that was very close to the way it had been for over 100 years including many of the interior details and special features. The property had been purchased by Catherine Bertucci and John Malcolm Todd via a numbered company and all they proceeded to obtain vacant possession by arranging for all tenants to vacate the premises. Prior to obtaining any demolition or building permits the developers were advised of the heritage interest by the Community and City of Toronto Heritage Preservation Services. While the legal process was underway to determine whether the City would official designate the property as architecturally significant, the developer proceeded to begin demolition of the property including the reckless destruction of many of the significant architectural details of John Lyle’s Maclean House – details that have stood untouched for 100 years.
Before Developer Destruction
After Developer Destruction
While the redevelopment is not perfect and many features of the original property have been lost the final outcome is a reasonable compromise that allows the adaptive reuse of the property with the creation of 6 very large new homes and preserves the basic form and positioning of the heritage structure maintaining an important link to the heritage of the past and our collective history.
City of Toronto Heritage Preservation Services Report on Maclean House
7 Austin Terrace – Intention to Designate under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act (PDF)
- Architectural gem could be saved (The Toronto Star, January 26 2010)
- Chris Selley: The impotence of a heritage designation (National Post, February 16, 2011)
- Architect John Lyle left legacy of style (The Toronto Star, May, 4 2009)
- The house Maclean’s built (Maclean’s, December 17, 2009)
Community Press Conference and Rally
joe Mihevc, City Councillor and Author Glen McArthur from Lloyd Alter on Vimeo.