But, look at it this way, skyrises of the world. You seem awfully concerned w/new construction. Yet you also seem to be disconcertingly unconcerned/disinterested re old construction; almost to the point where overengaging to it is a formula for "stagnation".
Within a "skyrise" universe, all the niggling would be over the quality of its replacement. But what I'm arguing is that a healthier and even more "progressive" approach to beholding urbanity would be to have some constructive regard for what already exists. Which I'd rather advance as a "preemptive" argument than a "save" argument--though yes, I realize (and even welcome the fact) that the former can feed and nurture the latter.
*That's* what makes cities and built environment endlessly interesting and fascinating: the years, decades, and centuries of depth and density and "readability". And, stagnant, schmagnant; it's the perfect approach t/w "redeeming" the Buffalos and Hamiltons of the world (remember: their suffering isn't merely lack of development, it's through the underdeveloped ability to "read oneself").
Speaking of fear, isn't that the primary driver of that comment? Fear that Toronto is too conservative, fear that if this project doesn't go ahead no other interesting proposal will come along, fear that this is the litmus test, the last chance etc.
On the contrary. For example, I am completely disgusted with the treatment of the Concourse Building which, had you been paying attention, I have mentioned a few times in this thread. In a city that has a very limited stock of Art Deco high-rises, to lose this one is an absolute travesty. What we get is a facadectomy, and we will forever lose the charm of the entire built form of this building and its incredible lobby. I applaud developments such as Five, the Distillery District, and The Imperial Oil Building. Projects that actually preserve heritage.
Though a few qualifications on behalf of (if not in defence of) the Concourse situation:
(a) it may be a facadectomy (or more precisely, a facadectomy-*plus*, i.e. you'll more likely see the "incredible" lobby reconstituted and restored); but when it comes to optics, that still registers as a token step upward from total demolition--that is, it's no worse than the resurrected Commercial Bank facade within BCE Place;
(b) it was a facadectomy with an elaborate E.R.A. historical report behind it, something which also aided the retention of 111 Richmond for Google et al--common technique which E.R.A. is expert at providing services for: offer a rich, glossy report worthy of Toronto Preservation Services as a client's "yeah, we care, we're conscientious, but" smokescreen for demolition as opposed to preservation (not surprisingly, E.R.A. has provided a counter-report to the City's heritage report for Mirvish)
(c) the real critical moment for protesting the proposed Concourse demolition was 13, 14 years ago--thanks to downtown office economies et al, what's happening now was "in the can" for that long; the City dropped the ball then, not now. And back then, we didn't have the mass-whistleblowing network of urban blogs and forums and sites we have now--indeed, back then, grassroots heritage activism was still pigeonholed as the realm of old grumps and fussbudgets like Jane Beecroft, etc
Oh, and (d) I'd quibble about Imperial Oil due to what's been done to the penthouse.
(not surprisingly, E.R.A. has provided a counter-report to the City's heritage report for Mirvish)
Adma, have you seen this? I looked in the obvious places online but couldn't find it. I generally find ERA to do high quality work, but their report submitted with this application was the worst one I've seen them do.
I have to agree with skyrise on this. The loss of the Concourse Building is a huge blow to heritage preservation in this city, which has, IMO, triggered a reactive activism that aims to prohibit the redevelopment of anything old enough to be deemed "heritage" (often regardless of actual uniqueness/importance). The side effect is a complete disregard to the uniqueness/importance of the replacement building(s); blind/blanket activism is really kind of ironic, because the mentality is very similar to that which lead to the destruction of many of our worthy heritage buildings.