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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

THE SCOOP | Outrage As Ontario Begins Demolition of Planned Community Music Hub

By Michael Vincent on January 20, 2021

Toronto Dominion Foundry

[Story updated, January 24, 2021, here]

Toronto’s Dominion Wheel and Foundries Company properties located at 153 and 185 Eastern Ave have sat vacant since the 1980s.

The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) has been working towards a feasibility study to transform the Foundry Building site into an ambitious new Music Hub to serve Toronto’s musicians.

“The need for a centre for Canada’s musicians has grown more urgent every year and become dire during the time of COVID,” said Ann Summers Dossena, IRCPA founder. “The Foundry will create two much-needed performance venues, spaces for discussion, exhibitions and interdisciplinary cross-pollination with innovators, and affordable housing for musicians. A number of musical organizations have already expressed interest in moving their offices here.”

The preliminary plan included a residential space for musicians, practice/rehearsal/teaching rooms, a recording studio, two venues, an exhibition space, a café/restaurant, and office space. Based on similar successful models in the US, the complex would be self-sustaining.

Despite the planned proposal from the IRCPA and community stakeholders, the province, which owns the site, issued a surprise Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) to fast track development.

While controversial, MZO’s are part of Ontario’s Planning Act and allows special powers to the Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark to make a ruling on the development of land owned by the province. The rulings are not subject to appeal by municipalities, citizens or interested parties, including environmental groups.

According to Clark’s office, an MZO was issued to accelerate the building of 1,000 new affordable housing units on the site.

The province began demolishing the buildings on Monday, prompting protesters to show up on-site to express their dismay.

IRCPA has asked for an urgent meeting with Premier Doug Ford to discuss the project and for more time to complete the feasibility study already underway.

Suze Morrison, the NDP MPP for Toronto Centre, and Ward 13 Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam have joined the call to halt the demolition and preserve the site.

A new group, Friends of the Foundry, has been formed to urge the province to halt the demolition and work with the community to preserve the site.

A petition has also been set up, and has so far collected nearly 14,000 signatures. They are also calling for donations to a Foundry defence fund.

“We invite all Ontario residents opposing arbitrary planning decisions without community input to sign this petition. Today it’s Toronto’s heritage under threat, tomorrow it could be your community or conservation area.”

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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A specialist in digital media for over 15 years, he has worked as a senior editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
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Follow me

Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A specialist in digital media for over 15 years, he has worked as a senior editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
Follow me
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