Archive for February, 2012

Agnes McPhail House Finally Gets Heritage Protection

After years of lobbying, the Agnes McPhail House is about to get protection from the Ontario Heritage Act.

In the matter of the Ontario Heritage Act
R.S.O. 1990 Chapter 0.18
City of Toronto, Province of Ontario  (

Notice of intention to designate

720 Millwood Road (Agnes McPhail House)
Take notice that Toronto City Council intends to designate the lands and buildings known municipally as 720 Millwood Road under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Reasons for Designation

The property at 720 Millwood Road (also known as 2 Donegall Drive) is worthy of designation under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act for its cultural heritage value, and meets the criteria prescribed by the provincial government for municipal designation under the three categories of design, associative and contextual values. Located on the northwest corner of Millwood Road and Donegall Drive in Leaside, the Agnes Macphail House (1937) is a two-storey duplex.

Statement of Cultural Heritage Value
The property at 720 Millwood Road has design value as a rare example of Modern styling applied to a duplex in Leaside that was designed to take advantage of the corner setting with entrances on two streets. The Agnes Macphail Houses displays the flat roof, angular shape and geometrical openings associated with 20th century Modernism, while retaining the modest classical detailing derived from the Georgian Revival style that is displayed on much of the residential housing in Leaside.

The duplex is historically associated with the notable Canadian politician, Agnes Macphail, who owned and occupied the premises from 1948 until her death in 1954, a period when she remained actively involved in politics. The first woman elected to Canada’s House of Commons in 1921 where she served for two decades, Macphail championed labour and farm issues, including equality for women and prison reform. Entering provincial politics, Agnes Macphail was one of the first two women elected to the Ontario Legislature where she represented York East from 1943-45 and 1948-51. She was responsible for Ontario’s first equal pay legislation in 1951.

Contextually, the Agnes Macphail House is important in supporting and maintaining the character of Leaside in the residential area of the community east of Bayview Avenue where it also is physically, functionally, historically and visually related to its surroundings. Located on a corner lot in the first block south of Bayview Avenue, the duplex addresses two streets that feature the mixture of low-rise detached, semi-detached and apartment housing identified with the residential sector of Leaside.

Heritage Attributes
The heritage attributes of the property at 720 Millwood Road are:

  • The two-storey duplex
  • The scale, form and massing of the L-shaped plan beneath a flat roof
  • The materials, with buff brick cladding and brick, stone and wood trim
  • On the two-bay east façade and the three-bay south façade, the entrances with single doors, transoms and bracketed entablatures
  • On the south and east façades, the fenestration with flat-headed tripartite window openings with multi-paned sash windows and stone sills, as well as octagonal windows
  • The L-shaped wing at the west end, with flat-headed window openings with multi-paned sash windows
  • The detailing, with brick corner quoins and band courses
  • The setback of the Agnes Macphail House on the northwest corner of Millwood Road and Donegall Drive

The single-storey west wing and the detached garage are not identified as heritage attributes.

Further information respecting the proposed designation is available for viewing from the City Clerk’s Department.

Notice of an objection to the proposed designation may be served on the City Clerk, Attention: Francine Adamo, Administrator, North York Community Council, North York Civic Centre, Main floor, 5100 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, M2N 5V7, within thirty days of the 13th day of February, 2012 which is the 14th day of March, 2012. The notice must set out the reason(s) for the objection, and all relevant facts.

Dated at Toronto this 13th day of February, 2012.

Ulli S. Watkiss
City Clerk


Smoking Ban Approved for NYC Parks and City Beaches

One year ago, New York City Council voted 36 to 12 to ban smoking in city parks and on city beaches.  – – – – – –

After a bitter debate over individual liberties and the role of government, the City Council on Wednesday handily approved a bill to ban smoking in 1,700 city parks and along 14 miles of city beaches. Continue reading

Truck Side Guards and Pedestrian Safety

Truck side guards saves the lives of pedestrians and cyclists, yet the Canadian government is slow to pass any bill that would see their mandatory installation any time soon.

Last evening, at Beit Zatoun, I attended an information meeting about truck side guards moderated by NDP, MP, Olivia Chow.   Also in attendance were Toronto families and friends of individuals who have been killed by large trucks that did not have these side guards.  The stories of how the loss of loved ones has affected their families were heart wrenching, yet they spoke with clarity and passion about how Canada needs to implement a law that would see side guards installed on trucks to help save lives. Continue reading

The Call of the Wild Helps Children Learn

Jen and the kids

by Anne Mcilroy — Science Reporter

From the Globe and Mail,  Published Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 7:25PM EST

At the Coombes school in southern England, the playground looks like an arboretum. Narrow paths snake through the shrubbery past apple, willow and walnut trees. There is a pond, two labyrinths, a garden and plenty of good spots to dig for worms. Lessons often take place outside. Continue reading

When Winter is More Like Spring, Fauna and Flora May Suffer

Toronto Star   by Wendy Gillis, Staff Reporter
Sure, we’ve had a few cold days and a dusting of snow, but 2011-2012 may go down as the winter there was no winter.

It’s in contention to be the warmest on record, says Geoff Coulson, meteorologist at Environment Canada.

The number to beat is 1.5C, the average temperature between November and March in 2001-2002, measured at Pearson Airport. So far, this winter’s average (November to date) is 1.9 C.

“We still have six more weeks,” said Coulson, “but we’re in that ballpark.” Continue reading

East York’s Dieppe Park a Symbol of Local Remembrance

By Joe Cooper

Nov 08, 2007

Early this week I was cycling past Dieppe Park along Memorial Drive and noticed someone had vandalized the sign.

Over top of the word Dieppe a signature tag had been placed, partly obliterating the word and definitely making the sign look ragged and ugly.

The park was named “Dieppe” in 1943 by the Township of East York as an act of remembrance for the men who had fought in one of the greatest military blunders of all times. Continue reading

Is Dieppe Park All It Ever Will Be?

Dieppe Park is, first and foremost a venue for organized sports.  Users from across the city descend on the soccer field and baseball diamond in the summer and the hockey and pleasure rinks in the winter.

The artificial ice pads operate from about the first of December to the end of February – weather permitting.  That’s three months out of twelve.  The rest of the time, they sit pretty much idle, with the occasional ball hockey game and maybe a dance festival put on by a cultural group.  But other than that, we’re left with 9 months of idle time for this facility.  Continue reading