The demolition in late September of Leaside’s former Canadian Pacific Railway Station has evoked a mixed response. Some were concerned about loss of heritage, but others were skeptical – “the most ugly cladding from the 1970s I ever saw. Personally I was ‘creeped out’ when I went there, it is so isolated and shielded by shrubbery and quiet” (from fellow Leaside Residents Association director Paul Green)!
So, how did this demolition happen? The first I heard about Metrolinx’s plan was a community notice issued in June saying that 50 Village Station Road was to be demolished. No mention that this was the former Leaside railway station! It appeared to be a communication intended to follow a requirement to inform, but not designed to elicit interest. Their strategy clearly worked!
The property had been provincially owned since 1998, apparently purchased by GO Transit for “future use” in connection with a commuter line. But plans (and governments!) change.
What about heritage? Frankly, the building was a dilapidated mess having been vandalized and covered in graffiti tags since its most recent use as an office over a decade ago (see photo). The building no longer demonstrated the Streamlined Moderne lines of its “as built” structure, as described in a March 2018 Leaside Life article, “Leaside Art Deco Lost.”
It was not heritage designated and even if it was, the province has the power to override any municipal heritage designation.
On seeing the demolition notice I contacted Metrolinx to ask them to (1) document the building to archival standards and (2) commemorate the building in some way, perhaps with a plaque? I never got a response.
What’s next? The LRA, together with Leaside Business Park Association (LBPA) and Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO), are asking for a meeting with Metrolinx to address this and other “Early Works,” as well as to get an update on other Ontario Line plans affecting Leaside and Thorncliffe Park. Let’s hope the communication improves!