I think the debacle of St. James Town and the destruction of 1/2 of Cabbagetown 60+ years has left an indelible mark on this city. Now there are those advocating in their twitter feeds and elsewhere for the very same thing in 2022, ie, the demolition of established, inner-city neighbourhoods in favour of high-density residential towers, in this case to save a building with debatable architectural merit. That's overreach. It's never going to happen nor should it.
There are three levels to this discussion/debate.
1) Objective facts; those are far and few between on matters of architectural merit. The objective, such as it is, is largely limited to 'does it function for the user'; and 'environmental performance/cost of operation/maintenance'.
But here, even those limited, in that, assuming we had all those numbers, what it would really come down to is 'the value' of any such expense and/or any replacement/retention project and that is essentially, a personal call.
Certainly one could argue, pseudo-objectively for replacing anything where the economic work; but that would apply equally to this tower and to cabbagetown Victorians.
2) Personal Preference. As noted above, personal preference is just that and one is not inherently more virtuous than the other, in the absence of either objective fact, or supporting opinion.
3) Community Preference: Essentially, if we put it to a vote of every resident over the age of 18 (or 15 or whatever) and said any of ' Do you like this building?'; 'Which of these buildings would you prefer?' or should we
demolish this for reason/purpose 'x'?; then got a clear, majority response, that's an objective consensus of a subjective value.
There's really nothing give definitive to merit to either of the first two, the last, at least has the virtue of being vaguely democratic or consensus-based. On that, I'm afraid, virtually every Parkin/Modernist/Brutal building would lose to Victorians in Cabbagetown every time.
I'm not going to suggest we starting holding refrenda on these things, that would be rather a bit much. I do think it's important that we all acknowledge the subjectivity of architectural taste; and even the subjectivity
of how to rank community priorities apart from that (Is clean, breathable air/drinkable water more important than housing? Is violent crime more important than jobs? Is high GDP more important than a living wage?
Is work/life balance more important than income? ). I have clear opinions on some of these, I would rank environment number one, on the premise that absent breathable air/drinkable water, we're pretty much all dead.
But not everyone would even agree on that choice. Let alone others that I would find difficult to weigh in the abstract, never mind the particulars.
Sometimes it's ok, or at least necessary, just to accept, that we don't all agree.