In a Toronto and East York Community Council meeting that concluded this afternoon, Tessa Virtue and Morgan Reilly’s application to paint their North Rosedale Heritage home with white limewash was forwarded to City Council, to be debated at the end of the month.

The property in question, 135 Roxborough Drive, is an Edwardian era Georgian-style red brick, a common sight in the North Rosedale Heritage Conservation District (NRHCD) known for its “‘(revived) English vernacular’ as well as ‘English classical and colonial models (often referred to as Georgian)’ and some Arts and Crafts style houses,” says a report for action from the Acting Senior Manager, Heritage Planning, Urban Design, City Planning.

The fate of the historic home’s facade was up for debate at Council today because of what Councillor Dianne Saxe aptly called a “comedy of errors.” The debacle stemmed from the failure of Virtue and Reilly’s architect to include a notice that the couple planned to paint the entire house in a September 7, 2023, revised building permit. Instead, the note only included reference to the painting of the front facade alone.

On this matter, Virtue and Reilly’s lawyer, Rodney Gill, said: “The intention throughout was to paint the entirety of the home, but as a gesture of good faith, my clients decided not to paint further so that we could go through this process and get permission.”

The second error was carried out on the side of Heritage Planning Toronto, who admitted during the council meeting that they mistakenly approved any painting of the home. “Staff did not have delegated authority to clear that. It was an error on our part,” confirmed a member of staff from Heritage Planning.

The result was that Virtue and Reilly thought they had a right to begin painting, leaving Heritage Planning staff, who were on a site visit, very shocked to find painting had begun (thinking they hadn’t given permission).

After much discussion between councillors, and input from the couple’s lawyer and Heritage Planning staff, the decision was made to forward the issue to City Council since, “[Heritage Planning] staff don’t have the authority to breach the conservation plan, only [City] Council does,” said Councillor Saxe.

In addition, a second motion was passed to direct the City Solicitor to report to the City Council meeting on what steps the City can take to correct the permit and remove the incorrect permission, given by Heritage Planning back in September of 2023.