By ALEXANDROS VAROUTAS
A proposal to change the facade of a Beach building on Queen Street East has at least one neighbour concerned.
The building at 2273 Queen St. E. (between Scarboro Beach Boulevard and Glen Manor Drive) is one of the area’s many characteristic duplexes and fourplexes that were built in the first half of the 20th century by the Price brothers. The buildings are characterized by their distinct gable roof styles and verandas.
Ed Wilson has lived in the adjoining half of the duplex in question (2275 Queen St. E.) since 1980. In that time, he’s watched much of the neighbourhood change and develop.
One of the major changes closest to home was the complete removal of the fourplex next to him, which was replaced with the real estate offices there now.
Wilson’s neighbour, Rabbi Sholom Lezell, approached him with his plans to make changes to his half of the building, which currently serves as a synagogue and Hebrew school for the Jewish community in the area.
Wilson considered selling his half of the building and leaving, but opted against it.
“I’ve lived here for so long, I can put up with a little bit of loss of light…and if I can get the front to stay the same, I’d like to stay,” said Wilson.
Although appreciative that his neighbour was transparent about the planned changes, Wilson wasn’t entirely onboard with the part that involved altering the veranda and gable roof on one half of the building. He said it would look strange to compromise the symmetry of the building’s iconic front.
Lezell said the building was considered for heritage status in the past and didn’t qualify because it isn’t particularly unique.
“We’re trying to build for the community and make it inviting and beautiful,” he told Beach Metro News.
Currently, Lezell runs a daycare but is limited to only five children and has had to turn away many parents from the Jewish community who don’t have any other similar options in the area.
“People are looking for that. They want a warm, beautiful place for their children to learn about their traditions,” he said.
The proposed changes would mean that half of the building would lose its characteristic veranda and gable roof in order to make way for a stairwell that would lead up to the additional floor to be constructed.
This top floor would then replace the existing rental unit and feature a rooftop that can be used for the daycare as well as community gatherings.
Lezell pointed out that the height limit in the front of the property, which is 9.5 metres, isn’t going to be changed. The additions will be in the back end of the property.
The front will simply lose the arches and veranda in favour of a glass facade which will allow people to see inside the main lobby.
In the end, Wilson said he feels the decision should be in the hands of the community.
A hearing on the proposal is set for the City of Toronto’s Committee of Adjustment (CoA) on Sept. 29. Wilson hopes residents will take part in that hearing, and send comments in advance, on their opinions regarding the proposed changes to the building.
For information on how to take part in CoA meetings, which are being held virtually due to COVID-19, and how to submit comments on proposals, please go to https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/planning-development/committee-of-adjustment/toronto-east-york-schedule/