What’s Up Tdot?!
Fire at Rowhouses on George Street!
When I woke up this morning and turned the television on to CP24 there was a news story about a fire at 301a George Street which immediately put me in panic mode. Months ago I did a blog post on the houses between 295 and 305, (I have hyper linked the number to lead you there) that have been siting abandoned on George Street and that have been left to decay and fall apart. Today there demise may be a reality as an investigation will look into whether the house needs to be torn down or not due to the fire. Now there is no word on how the fire started, but it could have been done intentionally or accidentally. The abandoned row houses are popular places for squatters to take shelter and house 295 actually had belongings inside, so there is a chance one of the squatters was cold and tried to keep warm. However, the fire could have been intentional as it is also a place where a number of drug users and dealers hang out.
However, I am placing so much emphasis on this because these are heritage properties that are a century old and the owner will do nothing with the properties. The sad part is these houses are prone to fires and the homes have had regular visits from the fire department for reports of smoke in the last few months. In fact Last year 295 caught on fire.
What is sad is that these abandoned building are inhabitable and some (if not all) could be considers fire hazards. The most depressing part is these houses are absolutely stunning even in their decay. You can still see the detail that made them stunning pieces of architecture. Furthermore, these houses have so much history that relates not only to Toronto; but Canada.
Many of your responses, likes, reblogs (which almost reached 100) and messages following my original 295 to 305 post showed me how much you all care for heritage properties. These buildings are our past and no matter what anyone says they are important to history as well as important pieces of architecture. Compared to the banal and boring homes and structures that are going up today, these homes had so much detail to them. We are losing the fight to save heritage properties which means our children may one day grow up in a city that only has books with illustrations of what Toronto once was.
What can we do to save these properties? That is something I have been asking myself since The Empress Hotel was burnt down by an arsonist and since the Sam The Record Man sign was left in limbo. What can we do to save the history of Toronto? Yes we have had some wins. Maple Leaf Gardens which is the only arena to see the Leafs win a Stanley Cup was reopened as a Loblaws and Ryerson fitness centre with an NHL sized hockey rink. The Old Bank of Commerce on Yonge is about to be restored as the entrance way to a new condo complex. These are recent examples of abandoned buildings/heritage properties that are getting a second chance. However the wins are not even close to the losses of properties that sit abandoned such as the Guild Inn, the Loblaws Warehouse on Bathurst and Lakeshore, The Canada Malting Silos or the Old Bank of Toronto which is right next to the Old Bank of Commerce on Yonge.
So I ask you all. What do we do? What do we do to protect our history?