IN THE MATTER OF THE ONTARIO HERITAGE ACT
R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER 0.18 AND
CITY OF TORONTO, PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
281-289 COLLEGE STREET
NOTICE OF INTENTION TO DESIGNATE
Take notice that Toronto City Council intends to designate the lands and buildings known municipally as 281-289 College Street under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Reasons for Designation
The properties at 281-289 College Street are worthy of designation under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act for their cultural heritage value, and meet Ontario Regulation 9/06, the provincial criteria prescribed for municipal designation, under all three categories of design, associative and contextual value.
Located on the south side of the street, west of Spadina Avenue, the properties at 281-289 College Street contain five units of the original six-part row of commercial buildings that were developed in 1887 by Toronto builder Robert Sweet Crabb and his business associate, James Hewlett. According to archival records, the buildings were first referred to as the “Alexandrina Block” in the City Directory of 1912, and the westernmost unit of the group was removed during the interwar period. The properties at 281-289 College Street were identified as having potential heritage value in the College Street Study Official Plan Amendment (OPA), which was adopted by City Council in May 2017.
Statement of Cultural Heritage Value
The properties at 281-289 College Street have cultural heritage value as well-crafted examples of late-19th century commercial buildings designed with elements from the popular architectural styles of the era, including the Italianate and Renaissance Revival. The Alexandrina Block is particularly distinguished by its triangular-shaped pediment and corbelled brick detailing, the symmetrical placement of the round-arched and flat-headed openings with the elaborate stone and brick trim, and the distinctive decorative detailing that includes bartizans at the east end and in the centre of the principal (north) elevation.
The Alexandrina Block has associative value for the role of the buildings in the evolution of College Street, adjoining Spadina Avenue. Following the development of the late-18th century “Park Lots” for the country estates of government administrator, Peter Russell, and his relative, Dr. William Warren Baldwin, their descendants subdivided the acreage for residential subdivisions adjoining the circular-shaped Spadina Crescent, the distinctive urban design feature north of the intersection of College Street and Spadina Avenue
(formerly Brock Street). College Street was extended west from the present-day University of Toronto to Spadina Avenue and beyond as the setting of highly visible institutional and commercial buildings that served the adjoining residential neighbourhoods and included the subject properties at 281-289 College Street.
Contextually, the properties at 281-289 College Street support the historical character of College Street adjoining Spadina Avenue as it developed in the late 19th century as an important “Main Street” serving the adjoining residential neighbourhoods of present-day Harbord Village (north) and Kensington Market (south). Identified by its landmark institutional buildings, including at Bellevue Avenue the heritage designated St. Stephen’s-in-the-Fields Church (1858) and No. 8 Hose Station (1878, which was reconstructed a century later), College Street was the setting of highly-decorated commercial edifices that included the Alexandrina Block. The commercial buildings at 281-289 College Street are historically, visually and physically linked to their setting on College Street, west of Spadina Avenue, where they adjoin the complementary Steward Block (1890) at 271 College Street.
The heritage attributes of the Alexandrina Block at 281-289 College Street are:
• The placement, setback and orientation of the buildings on the south side of College Street, west of Spadina Avenue
• The scale, form and massing of the group of five three-storey buildings, with all rectangular-shaped plans
• Covering the buildings, the flat roofline with the cornices, the corbelled brickwork, the modillion blocks and, over the units at 285 and 287 College, the triangular pediment that incorporates the stone nameplate inscribed “Alexandrina Block 1887”
• The materials, with the red brick cladding and the brick and stone detailing (the brickwork has been painted)
• The principal (north) elevations where the five units are organized by brick piers with stone corbels, with the decorative bartizans at the east end and near the centre
• On the north elevations, above the first (ground) floor storefronts (which have been altered), the fenestration with the pairs of round-arched openings in the second storey with the brick hood moulds with the stone keystones, corner blocks and sills, and the pairs of flat-headed openings in the third storey with the brick flat arches and string course and the continuous stone sills
• The east side elevation of the building at 281 College, which is viewed from College Street and has flat-headed window openings
Note: no heritage attributes are identified on the west side elevation of the building at 289 College Street where the adjoining unit at 291 College was removed, or on the rear (south) elevations and wings.
Notice of an objection to the proposed designation may be served on the City Clerk, Attention: Ellen Devlin, Administrator, Toronto and East York Community Council, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, 2nd floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2N2, within thirty days of December 15, 2017, which is January 15, 2018. The notice of objection must set out the reason(s) for the objection, and all relevant facts.
Dated at Toronto this 15th day of December, 2017
Ulli S. Watkiss