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The Weston Heritage Conservation District

Weston Historical Society

The idea of creating a Heritage Conservation District in Weston began in 2004 after residents won the fight to save 18 Fern Avenue, the former Gardhouse residence, at the Ontario Municipal Board. The Weston Historical Society organized a meeting with a small group of interested people, including Toronto’s Heritage Preservation Services representative Brian Gallagher.

After lengthy consultations with representatives from the City and other Conservation Districts, we called a neighbourhood meeting to gauge the community’s interest. The largest turnout that Preservation Services had ever seen supported the idea. Councillor, Frances Nunziata went to Community Council to request that a by-law be passed to authorize the study of Weston as a potential Heritage Conservation District.

Photo by Cherri Hurst

Due to the large number of homes in the area, the study was divided into three phases to make it more manageable. Realizing how much work was involved we created a new entity, separate from the Weston Historical Society to administer the study. We formed a Board, drew up bylaws and started researching the homes in Phase1.

Phase 1:

Recognizing that we would require a heritage planner for the Phase 1 study, we sent out requests for Proposals. After a number of interviews, we selected Bob Martindale of Martindale Planning as our consultant. By the fall of 2006 the research was complete, Phase 1 had been photographed, and the consultant was ready to deliver the first draft of his report to the Board. After modifications, we presented the report to the community. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

Photo by Cherri Hurst

City Council passed a by-law on September 27, 2006, officially designating Phase 1 as a Heritage Conservation District. An appeal against the by-law was settled in April 2007 and on August 20 of that year the Ontario Municipal Board approved the Weston Heritage Conservation District Plan. Our dream had finally taken root.

Phases 2 and 3:

Just as the WHCD Board was applying the finishing touches to Phase 1, a crisis flared in the proposed Phase 3 study area. In April 2007, neighbours reported that the former Sainsbury residence at 96 Queen’s Drive was under serious threat from a developer who wanted to demolish the heritage bungalow and replace it with two large, modern houses. In the months that followed, the community succeeded in persuading the Committee of Adjustment to deny the builder’s severance and variance requests, however the Ontario Municipal Board granted the developer’s appeal on January 17, 2008. In her decision, the OMB Chair wrote “The Board appreciates the residents’ concern for their community’s heritage and its built environment. The facts, however, are that the subject property is not in an approved Heritage District, nor is it listed or designated. There is, therefore, no legal argument to prevent the demolition of the existing building.” Her message was a clarion call to the community.

Photo by Hillary Keirstead

Immediately following the adverse decision, the WHCD Board voted to more than double the boundaries of Phase 2 Study area in order to bring properties like 96 Queen’s Drive under its protective umbrella.

Follow this link to a map of the Weston Heritage Conservation District showing the revised Phase 2 and 3 study areas.

Phase 2 is off to a promising start. We launched the new study on April 26, 2008. Shortly after that, on May 27, the community elected a new slate of officers to the Board of Directors. We have formed committees to administer projects such as the creation of this website, and to photograph buildings and streetscapes in Phase 2. A wealth of volunteers from the neighbourhood has stepped forward to assist.

As soon as the Phase 2 study is complete and that area is designated, we will turn our attention to Phase 3.

Photo by Hillary Keirstead

We will post regular updates to this website to keep you informed of our progress. Please register to receive email notification of future changes.

Mission Statement

The Weston Heritage Conservation District promotes the preservation and protection of the built heritage of the Weston area using the policies and guidelines of the Weston Heritage Conservation District Plan. Through the knowledge and information gained in this process, it is hoped that the neighbourhood will maintain it’s historical atmosphere and integrity while encouraging an ever-increasing sense of goodwill among residents.

Photo by Hillary Keirstead

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