There has been a lot of hype surrounding the College and Spadina intersection of late. Some of these new developments are more controversial than others. The most talked about project is the new student residence planned on the site of two historic buildings- the Hotel Waverly and the Silver Dollar Room. The iconic site is a place full of interesting stories. James Earl Ray, the person who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr., is thought to have spent his days on the run at the Hotel Waverly. Milton Acorn, a famous poet, wrote some of his best work at the hotel. Bob Dylan and Levon Helm both visited the Silver Dollar decades ago, unannounced.
The Wynn Group now owns the 113 year old hotel and bar and is planning to construct a 22-storey tower for University of Toronto students, called “The College.”
Not everyone is in favour of these plans. City Councillor Adam Vaughan thinks the plans are a terrible idea, stating economic concerns that students will not necessarily utilize the residence. Others assert that it’s time the site was renewed to serve a better purpose.
Another major transformation possibly coming to the neighbourhood is a brand new 20,000 square feet Loblaws. Many residents of Kensington Market have started protesting this new addition, saying that it will kill the business success and charm of the independent shops and restaurants in the nearby Market. A group called the Kensington Market Action Committee has organized protests in the area. Activists are worried the new Loblaws will make the Market obsolete, destroying a century of history.
The final large development in the area is the transformation of 1 Spadina Crescent, an old Gothic-style building.
This seemingly-odd site in the neighbourhood was built by the Presbyterian Church as a theological college in 1875. It has also been used by the Department of Optometry and the Visual Arts Department of UofT. Now, the building is set to become the new site of the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. A revitalization project is in the works, which will include adding 100,000 square feet of glass, stone and steel. It will also add studio spaces, an advanced fabrication lab, a large hall for events, and a public gallery. The University expects the project to wrap up by the end of 2015. The design team was selected by the University and will include: Nader Tehrani (from the Boston firm NADAAA) as the architect, along with Toronto consultants Public Work on landscaping and ERA Architects as preservation architects.
Didn’t we say there’s a lot going on around Spadina and College? Let us know what you think of these changes!