Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mimico Fire Hall and Police Station - 13 Superior Avenue

Town of Mimico Fire Hall and Police Station
© Michael Harrison 2008

The Town of Mimico's last remaining municipal building is still standing at 13 Superior Avenue.  It is the former Fire Hall and Police Station.  Both the Town Hall and Public Utilities Building which were on Church Street (now Royal York Road) were demolished long ago.

Mimico Fire Hall
 courtesy of the Horwood Collection, Archives of Ontario

The Firehall and Police Station was designed in 1929 by James Procter and Redfern Ltd. There is a copy of the plans in the Horwood Collection at the Archives of Ontario. Construction proceeded in the summer of 1929 and was completed by the fall. The building was given its official opening in late September/early October 1929. The total cost was $7,500. The builder was Andrew Crowe, who was a prominent individual in the Town of Mimico. When he was killed by a falling wall in 1932, Mimico Council passed a resolution of sympathy indicating that he was “held in high regard amongst his fellow builders and the townspeople in general”. Sometime later a second storey was added to the building.

 Police and Fireman Have New Quarters
The Advertiser October 3, 1929

This building is threatened by a condominium development called 11 Superior by Davies-Smith Developments as it does not appear on the proposed site plan.   I have written to the developer asking them to take the initiative and protect and preserve this historic building as part of the development of 11 Superior and find an imaginative re-use for this building so that it will continue to provide a link to the past.

I pointed out that their architects have done such an amazing job with the rejuvenation of the Lang Tannery in Kitchener that I am sure they could find a creative re-use for 13 Superior.  I told them that I am confident that they can create an amazing project at 11 Superior that will act as a catalyst for rejuvenation in Mimico while at the same time protecting and preserving this important building as part of a win-win situation for both the developer and the community.

I have also written to Heritage Preservation Services at the City of Toronto requesting that the building be protected through designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Imminent Threat of Demolition
The Mimico Fire Hall is under imminent threat of demolition.  The 11 Superior development proposal will be proceeding to Etobicoke York Community Council for consideration on June 22, 2011.

You can view the planning staff report here:
http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.EY8.1

The report recommends that the city approve the development application.  In discussing the Mimico Fire Hall the planning report states the following:

The property at 13 Superior Avenue is listed on the City of Toronto’s Inventory of Heritage Properties, adopted by City Council in 2006, and was previously included on Etobicoke’s Inventory of Heritage Properties, for its cultural heritage value. 
The final revisions of this application propose the retention of a dog-bone shaped stone feature and a cornice, with a fa├žade design that suggests the original mass and location of the Fire Hall.  A commemorative plaque is also proposed.  Although not an optimal solution from a conservation  standpoint, this approach represents an improvement over the previous proposal permitted under Zoning  By-law 971-2003.  Under the previous proposal, the Fire Hall building would have been demolished in  place of an underground garage entrance for the proposed 7-storey building. In view of the above, the proposed development is acceptable subject to a comprehensive and fitting  Interpretation Plan being developed and implemented to commemorate the Fire Hall as an institution of  importance in Mimico and documentation of the building prior to its demolition


What You Can Do

If you would like to support the protection and preservation of the Mimico Fire Hall and Police Station you can write to Etobicoke-York Community Council indicating that as part of the development of 11 Superior the Mimico Fire Hall should be retained and incorporated into the development.  Please address your comments to Councillor Grimes, Chair and Members of Etobicoke-York Community Council and email them to etcc@toronto.ca.
  The easier way to do this would be to click on the "Submit Comments" button at the top of the planning staff report (link above).  An email will then automatically open already addressed and you simply type your comments in.

A copy of my written submission is below:


Decision of Etobicoke-York Community Council June 22, 2011

On June 22, 2011 the Etobicoke-York Community Council adopted the staff recommendation and approved the development which allows for the Mimico Fire Hall to be demolished.  The recommendation will proceed to Toronto City Council on July 12, 2011 for consideration.

Decision of Toronto City Council - July 12, 2011

On July 12, 2011 Toronto City Council adopted the recommendation from Etobicoke York Community Council with a slight amendment to reduce the cash payment the developer owes to the city under section 37 of the Planning Act.
http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.EY8.1


Appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board - May 28, 2012

The final approval of the development has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board by local residents.  The hearing is scheduled to begin on May 28, 2012.

After a one day hearing the Ontario Municipal Board dismissed the appeal and approved the development.  A written decision will be issued at a later date.

Update March 2013

The building has been demolished.  Construction of the 11 Superior condominium project is underway.  http://elevensuperior.com/default.html

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