In the weeks since Collecdev celebrated the ceremonial ground breaking for their adaptive re-use high-rise development, Cielo Condos, construction has been ramping up onsite in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood. After months of careful heritage work dismantling of the 1886-built Bloor Street United Church to allow the construction of the planned 29-storey tower designed by KPMB Architects, the heritage crew has been given a new assignment that requires their unique skills. 

Looking southwest at the partially demolished north elevation of Bloor Street United Church, image courtesy of Collecdev

On the northeast corner of the site, another heritage building exists at the address of 478 Huron Street, known in the community as the George C. Pidgeon House, an exemplary display of the unique architectural character of the Annex dating back to 1888. The partial demolition of Pidgeon House is part of the final stage of demolition before full scale construction gets underway, and based on the latest report from Collecdev’s on-site crew, we can confirm that the west end of the historic house has been demolished in preparation for the real work slated to begin below ground. 

Looking east at the demolition of the west wall of the 1888-built Pidgeon House, image courtesy of Collecdev

Viewing the house from the northwest corner of the site, we can see that, in the absence of the west wall, access to the basement has been created. With this access, the crew will be able to get to work restoring the house structurally, beginning with the underpinning of the decaying foundations. Above, the house has been closed off from the weather with a plywood wall that will ensure the majority of the remainder of the heritage structure is protected while work continues. 

The view of the house from Huron Street hows that only the windows have been removed so far, to be replicated with more insulation value, while the the house’s heritage exterior will be restored, owing to the value of its architectural motifs, like the recessed entry and terracotta shingles. 

Looking west at the primary elevation of the Pidgeon House, image courtesy of Collecdev

Designed by storied Toronto architect John Gemmel of Smith and Gemmel, who were responsible for a number of period defining projects including  UofT‘s  Knox College, the Pidgeon House is a finely crafted expression of the Richardsonian Romanesque style that was common in Toronto in the late 19th century. A level of cultural significance has been bestowed on the property as well, through its association with Dr. George C. Pidgeon, who was a revered minister of the United Church in the early 20th century. 

Looking northwest at the heritage characteristics of the Pidgeon House, image from Apple Maps

Historically the house was used as an extension of the church, providing a forum for community events as well as accommodations for the church’s caretakers. Upon redevelopment, the house will become directly connected to the rest of development at the second level. Where the western wall was demolished, the base building will extend north to meet the house and link to two volumes, incorporating the historic building into the office level through the second floor. The two volumes will remain separate at grade level, where the proposal is positioned next to the driveway. In the image below, Pidgeon House  is hidden behind the trees at the very rightmost edge of the rendering.

Connection point of Pidgeon House and Cielo Condos pictured on the far right, image from submission to City of Toronto

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Related Companies:  Bousfields, Collecdev-Markee Developments, HGC Engineering Inc, Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Janet Rosenberg & Studio, Live Patrol Inc., Orin Demolition, A Division of Orin Enterprises Inc. , RDS