Monday, July 30, 2012

Location Location Location

Summer is a great time to enjoy a leisurely stroll through downtown London. Mind you, not everyone would think of heading for Clarence Street south of Bathurst to do their sightseeing. Only a certifiably crazy heritage architecture buff skips the shade of Victoria Park on a hot summer afternoon to stumble over the railroad tracks and visit this neighbourhood once dominated by the Michigan Central Railroad Station. This hasn't always been one of London's more prepossessing locales, to put it politely, and Bathurst Street today isn't very inviting.

But if these houses are any indication, things may be looking up. The plaque on the cute little cottage at left tells us this was the home of John Crooks, blacksmith, in 1856. The Italianate at right dates to about 1885. Keep going south and you'll see this adorable Second Empire style house built c. late 1880s. All are neat, tidy, apparently well looked after, and even somewhat landscaped. Other interesting buildings, including some row houses, stretch south to Horton Street. The entire block appears to be a great example of neighbourhood revitalization. I'll be trotting down this way again. 
Update, September 2014 - For those interested in putting a sign on their own home, they can apparently be purchased at Print Studio on Dundas Street as well.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The next battle?

Auburn Developments wants to tear down these two buildings at 560 and 562 Wellington Street and build a 25-storey tower overlooking Victoria Park.  Both buildings are within the West Woodfield Heritage Conservation District. They're still in use, not neglected, and among the very few heritage structures still standing around Victoria Park. Auburn's proposal should prompt quite a few questions about heritage preservation as well as urban design. Do we want a huge tower looming over Victoria Park? 

Update - May 2015 - Auburn is still planning a 25-storey tower here, but needs rezoning approval and a change to London's official plan before beginning. Opinions differ as to how this will affect Victoria Park, the Woodfield neighbourhood, and other older buildings around the park.