The SEDRA Owl: March 2024

Image: Mount Pleasant Building – 1927 Date Stone
Image Credit: SEDRA Heritage

Heritage Preservation in Midtown

Bill 23 and the Impact on Heritage Preservation in Midtown Toronto

You may have heard of Bill 23 in reference to the Greenbelt, but we want to take a moment to talk about the Bill’s impact closer to home. In the heart of Toronto, where history meets development, there stands Bill 23, specifically Schedule 6, that changed the Ontario Heritage Act on January 1, 2023.

There are two major changes that will impact our neighbourhood in Midtown, with
approximately 200 properties on the Heritage Registry. There are 2 levels of protection: “Listed Level” (less protected) and “Designated Level” (stricter and more protected).

1. Time Limitation on Heritage Listed Properties
Bill 23 introduced an arbitrary deadline for a Heritage Listed property. Now a Listed property may only have that status for two years, then it must be Heritage Designated or be deleted from the Heritage Registry and not Listed again for five years. This could put many Listed properties in Midtown at risk as of January 1, 2025. Owners of Listed properties, some for decades, may now have to deal with a more restrictive Designation status or be unprotected.

2. Increasing the number of Criteria for a Designated property from one to two criteria.
A good example here is the Main Street Row buildings on Yonge St., Mount Pleasant Rd., and Bayview Ave. For one hundred years they have been home to retail stores, restaurants, with modest rental apartments on the second floors.

Some of these heritage Listed buildings may meet a Contextual Criteria requirement –
maintaining or supporting the character of an area. But buildings of the 1920’s are typically plain and simple, so they may not meet Design Value Criteria- because the building does not have a high degree of craftsmanship or artistic merit.

The Provincial Government’s decision to prioritize development over preservation has cast a shadow on our democratic process. Dictating arbitrary deadlines on communities across Ontario that are forced to quickly decide what deserves to win a Criteria beauty contest. In the future if you notice an erosion of the village atmosphere in Davisville Village, Bill 23 will have played a part in kicking our past to the curb.

Check out these links for further reading:

City of Toronto’s Heritage Register Review

ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVANCY ONTARIO – Letter to Premier Ford on Listed Heritage Properties

SEDRA Tall and Mid-rise working group

There has been some remarkable modelling done recently by Stephen Velasco ( which illustrates both proposed and active projects in construction in Toronto, and specifically in our area. The result is a skyline in our neighbourhood that is hard to recognize when compared to today’s streetscape. These images, attached below, show very graphically how the Official Plan works. High density is intentionally directed to transit hubs at Yonge/Eglinton, Mount Pleasant/Eglinton, Bayview/Eglinton as well as Davisville/Yonge. These are called the Mid-town Cores in the city’s Official Plan. Mount Pleasant and Bayview below Eglinton are designated Avenues with associated mid-rise development. This leaves the remaining Neighbourhoods maintaining their low-density housing. For the time being, high-density development remains the primary option for adding housing in our community, and generally for most of the city.
Image: Eglinton/Yonge Growth CentreImage Credit: Stephen Velasco
Image: Davisville Transit Hub and Apartment NeighbourhoodImage Credit: Stephen Velasco
Image: Bayview/Eglinton Transit HubImage Credit: Stephen Velasco

Since these images were produced in mid 2023 the development industry has slowed somewhat due to increased interest rates and a scarce construction labour market. The being said we do expect many of these proposed developments to begin construction once these two conditions are improved. As we noted in our previous newsletter (June 2023) these developments represent an approximate 50% increase in the number of neighbours in our community.
SEDRA continues to be involved in development applications in our community. The Tall and Mid-rise Working Group are advised of new applications by way of public notices, directly by City staff, or through the development industry. Our effort is to ensure communities and impacted neighbours are notified of each project and that City planning staff follow through on their commitments to protect the Official Plan and address community concerns.

Tall and Mid-rise Working Group Update
On March 12, 2024 SEDRA attended the City of Toronto’s Open House on Improving Community Consultation in the Development Review Process. The impetus for this gathering was to discuss ideas on how to ensure community engagement with development applications within the strict timelines set out by the Province in Bill 109. There is a recommendation that we are excited to see: that communities will be engaged in a ‘pre-application’ phase of an application thus ensuring we are heard early enough in the application process to have our concerns addressed. More information on this initiative can be found at

Jeff Latto, SEDRA Board Member and Chair, Tall and Mid-rise Working Group
If you have any questions about the Tall and Mid-rise Working Group, please reach out by clicking here.