Demolition of the 1911-built Norman-Gothic-style Deer Park United Church at 129 St. Clair Avenue West is now providing passersby with a unique glimpse into the site's past. Kicked off in late 2016, demolition of the heritage designated structure's south end (only the northern portion received designation in 2008) will make way for Camrost-Felcorp's Blue Diamond at Imperial Plaza.
With the rear southern portion now largely torn down, demolition has progressed significantly since our last update. Those passing by the site's western and southern frontages on Foxbar Road in recent days are now being met with a view inside the former church's sanctuary. This space will soon have its roof removed to create an open air courtyard for the future condominium tower, featuring trees and benches, framed by some of the church's architectural details—preservation of which is being carried out by heritage specialists ERA Architects.
The view above reveals that the church's clerestory windows and their surrounding plaster flourishes remain in place throughout the demolition, and will live on within the new courtyard. This space will be sealed off from the former chancel and apse—which will live on as a restaurant—via a glass wall. Also seen above is the ongoing conversion of the church's side aisles, which will be transformed into sheltered walkways containing seating. Additional elements from the former structure will also be incorporated into the new development, including stone from the demolished sections of the church, which will be applied to the exteriors of Blue Diamond's townhomes on Foxbar Road.
To the south, crews are clearing the footprint of the future 26-storey, Diamond Schmitt Architects-designed condominium tower, currently occupied by the church's remaining foundations. Once this section of the site has been cleared, work can begin on the project's shoring. The shoring phase will be a key step in Blue Diamond's construction, creating an earth retention system to allow the safe excavation of the tower's five-level underground parking garage.
Additional information and renderings can be found in our dataBase file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.