A part of our fabric

The quadraplex at 1783-1785 Bayview
The quadraplex at 1783-1785 Bayview. Photo: ALEX GRENZEBACH

Recently we have been approached by tenants in the quadraplexes south of Eglinton with reports that Metrolinx may be close to reaching a deal with a developer for redevelopment of properties south of McDonald’s, as part of the Bayview station LRT development.

We know that Metrolinx wants to develop the LRT station sites to recover some of Ontario’s investment.

But heritage values of the existing built form on the east side of Bayview may be a significant issue for Metrolinx and their development partners as they proceed.

In the stretch from Eglinton to Parkhurst is an intact row of 10 double duplexes (also called quadra-plexes), which are important to the Leaside community for several reasons. 

They represent the second set of apartments associated with Henry Howard Talbot, a former mayor of Leaside.

Talbot was responsible for the Kelvingrove, Glen-Leven and Strathavon apartments on Bayview near Sutherland, which are rare “garden apartments”, as well as many of the single family homes in the area.

Like the apartment buildings and many of the Talbot built single family homes, the quadraplexes are good examples of the Georgian Revival style. Paul Dilse, a heritage planner stated at the OMB hearing for the Talbot apartments in 2009 that the Talbot duplexes “extend the domestic appearance of the neighbourhood’s single-detached houses … out to Bayview”.

The quadraplexes occupy a highly visible site on Bayview near the Eglinton corner and adjacent to and overlooking Talbot Park. They are an integral part of the fabric and history of the neighbourhood.

Situated in the dip of a “lost river” valley, Eglinton marks the beginning of Bayview as Leaside’s “high street”. North of Eglinton are larger-scale commercial developments, followed by the institutional lands. The Talbot quadraplexes are contemporaneous with the historic high street and the contiguous streets of single family homes.

Last but not least the existing buildings provide comfortable rental housing at a reasonable and relatively affordable price, and are an integral part of the Leaside housing mix.

So why aren’t the quadraplexes already designated as heritage properties?

They were nominated for the Inventory of Heritage Properties by the North York Community Preservation Panel (full disclosure – I am chair), and endorsed by the Toronto Preservation Board in 2011, but like so many potential heritage properties and districts they sit on a wait list.

Will the city get around to de-signating them, or like Stollery’s at Yonge and Bloor, will it be too late?

About Geoff Kettel 219 Articles
Geoff Kettel is a community connector and advocate for “making places better”. He is currently Co-President of the Leaside Residents Association, Co-Chair of the Federation of North Toronto Residents‘ Associations (FoNTRA), member of the Toronto Preservation Board and Past Chair of the North York Community Preservation Panel. He writes a monthly column on heritage and planning in Leaside Life.