A busy stretch of Danforth Avenue -- one filled with small independently owned businesses -- is officially armed with a defence from demolitions and development. 

On Tuesday, the City of Toronto Preservation Board adopted a plan for 225 buildings to be added to the city’s Heritage Register to be protected against future development. While most of the buildings are located on Danforth Avenue, there are a handful on Broadview Avenue and a couple on other streets. 

All buildings meet the provincial criteria for heritage listing, says the City. 

“The properties are good examples of the Main Street Commercial Row, Main Street Commercial Block, Bank, Place of Worship and Theatre typologies that support the historic context of the Danforth Avenue study area,” said the City.

A May report to City Council highlighted the cultural heritage value of the buildings and why they were worthy of being added to the register and protected from hasty moves by condo developers. 

“The 225 properties that are recommended for inclusion on the Heritage Register in this report reflect building types that define, support, and maintain Danforth Avenue's historic main street character,” reads the report. 

“The collection of historic main street buildings along Danforth Avenue, the vast majority of which were constructed between 1910 and 1929, define an often continuous streetwall of low-rise buildings, articulated by a rhythm of narrow storefronts with recessed entrances, and punctuated by landmark banks, places of worship, and theatres. All of these building types were consistently identified throughout consultations as important to the history of Danforth Avenue, and important to its contemporary identity and sense of place. Within these building types all 225 properties are considered significant heritage resources.”

The City says the move "extends interim protection from demolition and provides an opportunity for City Council to determine whether the property warrants conservation through designation under the Ontario Heritage Act should a development or demolition application be submitted."

While the idea of preserving the storied Danforth strip is undoubtedly a welcome one by many, some social media and Reddit users were quick to highlight that we shouldn’t be restricting development given our current housing supply crisis

Of course, this is a tale as old as time. While the Danforth may now be protected, many long-time Toronto spots have disappeared in recent years to make way for shiny new developments.

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