In September 2013, The Ontario Genealogical Society was made aware of the City of Toronto’s interest in for former Fegan Boy’s Distribution Home. Concern about the future of the home, and the many inscriptions on its exterior walls left by the boys passing through, prompted OGS President Shirley Sturdevant to send a letter to The City enquiring about their plans for this historic property.
Subsequent emails with city administrators and a telephone conversation with Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, left The Society with the understanding that the property had been designated a heritage property and that it and other heritage properties in the area would be integrated into the overall redevelopment of the street. The City planned to acquire the property and carry out a Heritage Impact Assessment to identify how that property and others were being appropriately conserved in keeping with the City’s Heritage Policies in the Official Plan.
Once the City acquired the property, they planned a stabilization and securement process to ‘mothball’ the heritage properties until the redevelopment began, expected no earlier than 2017. As part of that stabilization process, The City would be willing to consider additional measures to ensure the preservation of the bricks to which we referred. If it was determined that our organization could assist in any way we would be informed.
This week, the President sent a message to query where The City was in this process and received the following response:
“Thank you for your inquiry and for your interest in preserving this important part of our history on George Street. The City of Toronto is purchasing that property, along with other heritage properties on that block, and will incorporate them into a redevelopment to create a new shelter, long-term care home and service hub, pending council approval in 2015.
After the City takes possession next week, we will issue an RFP for the stabilization of the heritage houses until the redevelopment begins. If all goes as planned, the stabilization will take place by early summer. Specs for stabilization include the installation of a frame around the inscription, with hoarding and sealant across the top. This will remain in place until the redevelopment begins, likely in 2018.
Within the next couple of weeks we will have a website in place where you will be able to follow the progress of the project. I will email you the URL when it is available.
SSHA Project Lead, George Street Revitalization
General Manager’s Office
Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, City of Toronto”
We thank Mr. Mumm for this update and watch with interest the stages of development for this significant property. Our members stand at the ready to be of assistance if called upon.