Then and Now: 205 Yonge St

This photo was taken in 1979.

Then:

205 Yonge St and it’s twin 199 Yonge St were formerly the Bank of Toronto. Both buildings were built in 1905 by architect E. J. Lennox. The structure, made of grey limestone, is a prime example of neo-classical architecture.

Neo-classical buildings were constructed on the traditional Georgian plan but the Greek empire became the standard for architectural decoration. Detailing became more refined, delicate, and elegant.

The focus of 205 Yonge St are the four Corinthian flutes (Greek columns with channels cut vertically in the shafts) adorned at the top with an Acanthus (Mediterranean plant whose leaves are stylized into decoration for the column) framing the entrance. The domed roof, carvings, cornices all added to the richness of the architecture, which ultimately showcased the wealth of the landowner.

The buildings were designated as a heritage site under the Ontario Heritage Act in 1975.

Now:

The two buildings still exist today. They’ve been the home of a bank, a Heritage office, even a dentist’ office but they’ve been vacant for the last 25 yeas. Today, the landmark is known as “The Bird Poop Building”. If you’ve ever walked by either of the buildings, you would notice the horizontal surfaces are covered in pigeon droppings. Although the city has put up netting to keep the birds off, it still isn’t enough. It’s a shame to see a structure that was once a symbol of wealth turn into a such derelict state.

The good news is that MOD developments announced it’s purchase of 199 and 205 Yonge St and plan develop the property into a 60 storey condo, which will incorporate both neo-classical buildings into the architecture. The condo has been named “Massey Tower”.

While I have never sold pre-construction condos to my clients, and won’t be selling this one, I think it’s a necessary evil. If the city won’t spend money to bring the historical structures back to their former glory, I welcome a developer to step in.

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