Saturday, August 7, 2010

Osborne Village

New condo development for Osborne Village.

Dennistoun House.

Sam Katz says Dennistoun House is not a significant historical landmark. The house which is slated to be demolished for a condo development was once owned by Robert Maxwell Dennistoun, a judge in the Court of Appeals until 1946. His family once lived at 166 Roslyn Road before moving the 216 Cockburn. The original homestead is now 102 years old.

Dennistoun House along with three other houses were to be demolished to make way a 73 unit condo. The Free Press reports that some area residents have gone to court to stop the demolition.

I think the residents have a case when it comes to process and whether the city followed it. However, I don't know that the house rates a concerted effort in terms of recognition today. That is to say that while the judge was prominent in his day, the historical preservation of his name or the house is probably a bit of a reach.

Sam Katz is correct, if rather crudely blunt that the house is not exactly a major historical place in the city. To the residents though, he might seem to side with the pro-development crowd over the well being of the neighbourhood.

To that argument, I have to say this: Large apartments and condos are as much part of the Osborne Village experience as the graceful houses along Roslyn Road. Ultimately, Dennistoun House and the houses around it probably don't not have the pepper to survive their demise and re-birth as condos. The fact that the back wall of Safeway is what one sees from the backyard of these homes and that Roslyn Road is a far busier street than even 10 or 15 years ago more or less sealed the fate of the homes.

The Osborne Village certainly has to take care about possible reckless destruction in favour of parking lots or rapacious condo development but keeping a historical designation for a house that might not find someone willing to buy it, live in it and keep it up would serve no one's interests. Nor does it serve anyone to play up the history of the house or the person, especially when that owner eventually moved to another house in the city.

I think the neighbours who are concerned about the housing in the area would have a better argument of assessing the traffic patterns to ensure that that neighbourhood is not used as a shortcut to other destinations.

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