Architecture worth preserving? That is the expensive question.

October 26th, 2014, 3pm

This is the former Canadian headquarters of Coca Cola. It, along with its one-storey bottling plant next door, was listed as a Heritage Property by the City of Toronto in May of 2013.

By August, there was already concern among urban Toronto enthusiasts that the listing wouldn’t stop CostCo from demolishing the properties after it purchased them.

They weren’t wrong to worry. The plant is now an empty lot (I happened to catch a shot of it mid-demolition), and the office sits as you see it above - empty, fenced, and surrounded by overgrown weeds.

So when is an office building worth preserving?

The community would have it saved, not for aesthetics, but for potential function: there’s a real need for small office spaces for entrepreneurs and community groups. A daycare, or a seniors’ centre, or both. Reuse, repurpose, reintegrate it.

CostCo thinks in volume: how many cars per day it can roll through its gas station; how many more square feet of product to present; how many more parking spaces. It claims to bring jobs, but how many without Canadian educations will it hire from this “arrivals” neighbourhood?

In the end, what the community needs isn’t likely to be what it gets.

David Wade, Shu and Christine said thanks.

Share this moment

Shay Darrach

Fictionalizing life for 30-odd years.

Create a free account

Have an account? Sign in.

Sign up with Facebook