we also had no problem having pregnant women smoking and drinking. Times have changed. And since heritage buildings are finite, I think it's rather obvious why "we" care more now about preserving the few we have left.
That's where I situate myself. These aren't necessarily our "most important heritage buildings" But they are nonetheless designated heritage buildings and are therefore worthy of more consideration than Gehry and Mirvish have given them. Whether they're replaced by a glass box or the Best Building Ever is immaterial to me. It's not a question of weighing relative aesthetics. That's not the principle under which our heritage laws exist. "This building is important to the history of Ontario but if you have a REALLY COOL idea, by all means, we can work something out!" I sincerely care about the heritage and I'm not "intimidated" by the scale.
Really, intimidated? I can guess I can understand that a NIMBY level but why would anyone be intimidated by it?
I think you're overestimating the rationality of these people. When talking to regular people about M+G, their initial response is something along the lines of "too tall, too many people". Once they realize that all these new people won't disappear if M+G isn't built then they'll start going on about heritage protection and other things. It's pretty clear to me that their opposition to the project has no basis in rational thought. They'll use whatever scapegoat they can think of to oppose it.
The reason why anyone would be intimidated by M+G is anyones guess. I suppose it's because some people fear any large change. It's probably the same reasoning behind why some DT residents opposed the Downtown Relief Line in the 90s. IIRC, much of it was due to people being afraid that the DRL would change the character of downtown.
I've walked past those buildings many times and I know it's just a Tim Hortons and whever now but they are not "anonymous." They are part of the streetscape on King and you only have to to walk down stretches of King East, where the buildings have been saved, to get a sense of what they used to be part of. And if you keep destroying everything around our heritage buildings everything that's left will either be monumental (like Old City Hall or Osgoode) or, by your definition, anonymous. A building doesn't have to be the place Lincoln was shot to be of historical significance and this city has already sacrificed too many "anonymous" buildings that could have been better integrated into the fabric. Toronto shouldn't be treated like Las Vegas where everything is replaceable.
I just don't see what's wrong with asking them to at least try working them in. Once you determine that some building - a building that went through the designation process - is "anonymous" and sacrificeable to whatever "better' idea comes along, you're getting onto an awful slippery slope, IMHO.
I really would hate to see Ghery have the warehouse buildings imposed upon his work. I'd also hate to see the loss of these facades since they do carry some historical value. My preferred solution would be to move the warehouse facade to another nearby project. If we do this then we don't be taking a risk of compromising Ghery's work, nor will be losing the heritage.
You can't just create heritage out of thin air like that. The Empire State Building is a magnificent building but it wasn't instantly part of New York's heritage. To suggest otherwise is to misunderstand the meaning of the word. And for all I know it replaced some anonymous warehouses.
The timeframes that I used were an exaggeration. But I think it's fair to say that in the long run M+G will contribute more to Toronto's heritage and identity than the warehouses will.