Broadway tower not North Leaside’s 
first community protest

Protesters gathered outside of Leaside Municipal Building on behalf of the development of new apartments in Leaside. Photo by a guest contributor.
Protesters gathered outside of Leaside Municipal Building on behalf of the development of new apartments in Leaside. Photo by a guest contributor.

The application for a 25-storey tower at Bayview and Broadway I wrote about in last month’s Leaside Life is not in fact the first development proposal on the block between Craig and Broadway to meet solid community opposition. We have a local resident, the daughter of a couple of 1960s activists, who lives near the site today, to thank for offering archival photos of the earlier community efforts. 

The photos, placards and all, reflect many differences from today – and not just the dresses, suits and hairstyles! It was a public demonstration of opposition by residents who could walk over to the Leaside Town Hall (at McRae and Randolph) and directly confront the decision-makers. Today, unfortunately, the decision-makers in matters like this are less at City Hall than at Queen’s Park. I say that with no disrespect to our hard-working and dedicated City Councillor Jaye Robinson. (Note that the placard messages like “Apartment Builders go to Thorncliffe!, “Keep Leaside’s Air Pure,” “Their ($) Gain is Our Loss” reflect the sentiments of 60 years ago, and are mostly not acceptable today.) 

What caused such ire at 1833-1835 Bayview 60 years ago? The notes from Town Council for Sept. 3, 1963 in Jane Pitfield’s Leaside report that “Council chambers are overflowing as Leaside residents confront Council. A 14-storey apartment (building) is proposed for Bayview and Craig Crescent. Five hundred people have signed a petition against it.” And it worked! They were successful in reducing the height of the building. Today the pleasant four-five-storey apartment building sits immediately south of the site of the proposed 25-storey condo at Bayview/Broadway.

Protestors holding out signs. Photo by guest contributor.
Protestors holding out signs. Photo by guest contributor.
About Geoff Kettel 194 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.