By KASY PERTAB
St. Aidan’s Church, a landmark property in the Beach, is currently in the process of severing some of its land so it can be sold to raise funds to renovate the church building.
The St. Aidan’s site, which includes the church itself, the rectory and the Memorial Hall, takes up a substantial property between Silver Birch and Willow avenues south of Queen Street East.
The first major change being made is that the Claremont School, presently located on Danforth Avenue, has agreed to purchase St. Aidan’s Memorial Hall. The hall, which has been a part of the church for many years, has proved to be a large space no longer needed by the church. It is located at the south end of the church, facing Silver Birch Avenue.
Evelyn Reiss, principal and director at Claremont School, explained their potential plans for the use of the Memorial Hall. “Should things go according to plan, we are hoping to move into the Memorial Hall at St. Aidan’s and run a very small school out of that area,” Reiss said.
The hall currently has an auditorium, a gymnasium, offices and classrooms that were previously used by the church. All of its features would be left the same for Claremont School to use once it’s sold.
The other major redevelopment plans consist of severing St. Aidan’s land into seven individual lots. These include the church itself, the Memorial Hall, the Rectory, and four individual 25-foot lots facing Willow Avenue that is currently open land.
After severing these pieces of land, the church plans on putting them up for sale as individual lots.
All of these plans depend on final approval of the plan by the City of Toronto’s Committee of Adjustment which heard the church’s proposal at its Jan. 30 meeting.
Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford has added that the details are still being finalized.
“The exact and final plans for the site are still being confirmed,” Bradford said.
“I am here to listen to the input of the whole community and will support a process that balances everyone’s needs while still meeting our city’s planning policies and our obligations under the provincial planning legislation that governs the city.”
The church hopes to begin severing the property as soon as this year, a recent statement from St. Aidan’s said.
Rev. Lucy Reid at the church added that St. Aidan’s is in dire need of renovations.
“We need new heating, we need new wiring throughout, new plumbing,” Reid explained. “It’s just time to do a massive renovation.”
The church’s new updates will not only benefit the property, but also benefit residents who attend St. Aidan’s on a regular basis.
“For example, it’s built on many different levels where the road slopes down so it’s completely inaccessible for those with mobility issues,” she said. “We want to fix all that.”
All plans and agreements for the severance, Memorial Hall and the church renovations are not yet final. Once the land severance application is approved, the development plans will proceed.