Let’s protect a Leaside oasis at Crestview

Crestview. Photo Jennifer Peattie.
Crestview. Photo Jennifer Peattie.

Please note: There is an update to and correction to this article “Let’s protect a Leaside oasis” about the Crestview Apartments on Leacrest/Mallory at: www.leasidelife.com/revisiting-crestview-apartments

 

Back in May 2016 Allan Redway published an article in Leaside Life featuring Crestview Apartments on Leacrest Road and Mallory Crescent. He wrote that “with the physical character of Leaside under continuing attack from high-rise condominium apartment developers these days, it is reassuring to drive along Moore Ave. to see the low-rise Crestview Apartments, a complex comparable to the low-rise Talbot apartments on Bayview Ave. Both are part of what defines the physical character of the Leaside community.”

Amen! And I would add the Garden Court Apartments – Art Deco buildings on Bayview across from Davisville Avenue – as the third of Leaside’s notable low-rise apartment complexes.

Crestview Apartments comprise 22 separate buildings on a 10-acre site on both sides of Leacrest Road from Rolph Road to Mallory Crescent, and south on Mallory Crescent, constructed in 1950-51. The buildings have eight or 10 units in each building, totalling 180 large and well-maintained suites in an equally well-maintained park-like setting.   Where Crestview stands out from the other two Leaside complexes is in the scale of the development (basically twice as large) and the “park-like setting” created by the amount of grassed open space shaded by large mature trees – at this time of year a great place to understand the cooling effect of a large tree canopy.  

But Crestview Apartments differs from the other two complexes in its lack of heritage status and protection. The Talbot Apartments – three groupings of Georgian Revival buildings at Bayview and Sutherland – and the Garden Court Apartments – Art Deco buildings on Bayview across from Davisville Avenue – are both heritage-designated, a fact that has allowed each of them in the past, at different times, to defeat unfriendly developments.

The Crestview Apartments property has, remarkably, remained in the same family-owned business since construction. However, pending (or actual) sale of the property is rumoured (but not confirmed). Sale of the property could affect the status of the property, which may be seen as a potential site for redevelopment. Listing is needed to ensure that if there were an application, heritage value would be considered from the outset. Listing would protect against demolition (and its consequences for tenants, known as renoviction or demoviction), by requiring a 90-day stay period during which the City would do a heritage assessment and consider designation. 

In my opinion, the Crestview Apartments complex (buildings and landscape) demonstrates the following heritage values:

  • -design and architectural value, as a fine (and large scale) example of low-rise mid-century “multiplexes in the park” rental housing.
  • -associative value, for its association with the Grant family, a well-respected Toronto property development and management firm over four generations, and more than 80 years.
  • -contextual value – as a representative example of a multiplex, an important part of what defines the physical character of the Leaside residential community, which has a diversity of low-density housing (single family, semis, quadriplexes, and multiplexes); the built form and generous landscape combining to create an ideal setting for long-term family occupancy; an example of successful provision and maintenance of lower to middle income housing over several generations.

A nomination for listing was submitted to the City at the end of June. If you wish to support this nomination, please let me know.

About Geoff Kettel 217 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.