urbanism – landscape – ideas – theory – whimsy

McBride Cycle Building Vanishing Act

Photo: The McBride store at the beginning of demolition

Photo: The McBride store partway through demolition

Photo: The McBride vacant site after demolition

Demolition of the old McBride Cycle store on Dundas West east of Keele was completed earlier in the summer, after the family-run business, which had been serving the community for 97 years, went into receivership last year. Now real estate for sale signs have been erected on the site, yet there does not appear to be the usual development application notice we’ve become so used to.

It seems odd (dare I say ridiculous?) to demolish a building before trying to sell the site, but of course Toronto’s a city where having a building with any heritage value whatsoever is seen as a detriment to profitability. The original building was a very nicely scaled early 20th century commercial building, and at first glance it seems incredible that it wasn’t an easy candidate for quick conversion into lofts.

Gord Perks (the local councillor) wrote on his blog earlier this year that the building would be demolished and that a 74 unit condominium with retail/commercial at grade was being proposed – one now wonders (given the lack of a development application notice and presence of for sale signs) whether the original developer’s plans have been abandoned.

Now that the building has been demolished, it’s true that a relatively intense version of Toronto’s current condo-building trend is probably the kind of shot in the arm this stretch of Dundas West (and the Junction as a whole) needs, it’s just a pity that (as seems so usual) the existing, beautiful building couldn’t have been saved as part of these plans despite seeming so suited to the conversion – but of course, there are no incentives whatsoever for doing so apart from the goodness of someone’s heart. Where are all those good hearts anyways?

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