Re: Bloor@High Park demolition
IMO "heritage site" is a far-fetched way of putting it; but that's more of a terminology issue. (And paradoxically, it's IMO the kind of terminology that'd more likely be invoked by the peevishly pro-development retention-unsympathetic, i.e. "if you want to freaking keep it, have the city declare it a freaking heritage site", etc. etc.).
If there'd a valid argument to retain, it's not so much on hoity-toity grounds of saving "heritage", as on grounds of not wasting that which needn't be wasted. (Heck, it isn't just that "these houses were once very beautiful"; they're *still* very beautiful.) And compounding the sense of waste is the edge-of-High Park location, which had spared the 60s high-rising hereabouts, but may now be under threat of something analogous.
Ideally, in that case, the best solution for here might have been a throwback to the Diamond/Myers 70s schemes like Dundas/Sherbourne and the Hydro Block; where it was more visceral matters of context, rather than "heritage" per se (even if the latter did exist), that justified the retention of existing street frontages.
Strangely enough, though you have to squint to notice it, something like that *does* exist within the neighbourhood, though more as a grudging bow to the 70s change in municipal mood; most if not all of the houses on the E side of Gothic (that crescent-like street where Mayor Miller lives) were condo-ized in tandem with 100 Quebec et al. The original, pre-Crombie-council scheme was for them to be swept away.
It isn't that those condo-ized houses on Gothic are particularly "heritage", if you want to be obtuse about it--they're like so much else around these parts, and not even as "interesting" as the cluster discussed in this thread; but in urbanistic terms, they were deemed sufficiently valuable, and the end result says it all--just ask the street's most famous current resident. (Indeed, all Mayor Miller has to do is to channel what makes his own street "work", and maybe he'll think twice about how a lot of Toronto's recent arbitrary condo-ization has come about.)
And, honestly, I'll take the 70s retention-at-gunpoint of those frankly, happily non-heritage houses on Gothic over the more recent grotesque condo-as-veg-e-matic-press "heritage retention" solution on the Christ Scientist site on High Park Ave. nearby...