A group of concerned residents gathered at North Toronto’s Postal Station K on Friday, Nov. 9 after hearing that the historic building had been sold.
Local residents and politicians have been irate since they first heard the station was put up for sale this summer. With news coming the site had been sold, Eglinton-Lawrence MPP Mike Colle, St. Paul’s councillor Josh Matlow and a group of residents dropped by the station to once again express their displeasure.
“It was just sold like a piece of meat,” Colle said. “The community is extremely appalled and upset that a community of 10,000 people was not listened to.”
Residents gathered thousands of signatures calling for more public consultation prior to selling the site, something Colle has argued from the beginning was mandatory when Crown land was being sold off.
Following the sale, concerned locals were furious it does not appear there were any conditions of sale for the building. Residents had hoped the building would be protected given it stands on the site of the former Montgomery’s Tavern, a key site in the Upper Canada Rebellion.
The building, which was built in 1936 is also one of two in Toronto to bear the insignia of short-lived monarch King Edward VIII.
“We at least thought they would listen to us enough to request conditions of the developer to save the building,” Colle said. “The federal government wouldn’t even force them to put that obligation (in the deal.)”
Efforts are now underway to have the site designated as a heritage building. That was not possible when the postal station was in the hands of a Crown corporation.
Matlow is confident the city will be able to fast-track the heritage application but is less certain a heritage designation would provide the protection required to maintain the site.
“The City of Toronto has powers to protect the heritage site, but the designation doesn’t have teeth,” he said. “It needs to be strengthened.”
The councillor added stronger protections could have been put in place prior to the sale.
“I ultimately have little faith that even a heritage designation will do as much to protect (the postal station) as the federal government could have,” he said.
Eglinton Park Residents Association chair Tom Cohen had also hoped conditions could have been placed on the building’s sale, but noted the community will continue to do everything it can to oppose any development that would threaten the post office.
“It’s really a game of chess here,” he said. “(The developer) can clearly use the spectre of the OMB but the OMB is a two-way spectre, and you’ll see the neighbourhood, the city and the province against a plan that doesn’t protect the building.”
Resident George Butterwick said the post office and the green space in front of the building was “like a second home” to him in an area where green space is already at a minimum.
He hopes something can be done to preserve the building.
“I’d hate like hell to see it go,” he said. “It’s a landmark.”