Thursday, April 7, 2011

Queens Park Views

“Tall Buildings, Inviting Change in Downtown” Needs More Work
Lloyd Alter, President of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, says its back to the drawing board for proposed tall buildings policies for downtown Toronto. ”It looks like the proposed heights policies in the study have not been tested against at least one of the three critical views that the report so clearly states should be protected, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (LAO), We conclude that unless the recommendations are adjusted, the silhouette of the LAO building will be lost to future generations.”
ACO is calling on Premier Dalton McGuinty and Mayor Rob Ford to commit to a “time out” on development to give sufficient time to study what views need to be protected, and how best to do that.
There will be three public meetings this week on the policies outlined in the study, Tall Buildings Downtown, Inviting Change,
For the past few years, starting under Past President Catherine Nasmith, ACO has been arguing for protection for the views of Queen’s Park. Alter continued “More recently, we have been working with the Centre for Landscape Research at the University of Toronto, a highly specialized computer modeling facility, analyzing the heights policies proposed in the Tall Buildings Downtown, Inviting Change. The Centre for Landscape Research (CLR) and Du Toit Allsopp Hillier are experts in such analysis. They undertook the studies for the National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa that led to the heights policies that protects the views of our National Symbols in Ottawa.”
The materials (attached) produced by the CLR will be unveiled at tonight’s public meeting, (6:30 at St. Basil’s Church). They show the existing height regime, what is proposed in the Tall Buildings Downtown study, and the OMB approved project at 21 Avenue Road.
“So far, we have focused our studies on views from the ceremonial approach, the drive north on University Avenue from Queen Street, but we are also very worried about the oblique views experienced from sidewalks on either side of University Avenue, and once the vista opens up north of College Street” says ACO President’s Circle member, urban designer, Robert Allsopp. “If something isn’t done immediately it will be too late.
The dignity of our democratic symbols is being rapidly undermined by private development all around Queen’s Park.”
Recently ACO has also been working with other concerned citizen’s groups across Ontario, Toronto councillors Kristen Wong-Tam, and Adam Vaughan, MPP’s Rosario Marchese and Glen Murray for civic improvements for the area that has been dubbed Ontario’s Capital Precinct, the territory from Queen to Bloor along University Avenue, and over to Toronto’s Old City Hall. This area is home to many important civic institutions such Toronto’s two city halls, our law courts, University of Toronto, hospitals, museums. It is a major cultural heritage landscape with the LAO building and Queen’s Park at its heart.
The recent OMB decision on 21 Avenue Road pointed out the clear lack of policy at both the City of Toronto and the Province to protect this view. MPP Rosario Marchese has introduced a private members bill (Bill 95) to protect the silhouette of the LAO from Queen Street and University Avenue, but so far there is nothing from the government side.
ACO is very grateful for the volunteer contribution of the CLR. (30)
For further information contact:
Lloyd Alter, President, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, 416 367 8075, Catherine Nasmith,, 416 598 4144 Robert Allsopp, , 416 968 9479-x 223

If you want to write a letter to your M.P.P. urging the protection of the views there is a template on the ACO Facebook Page

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