The City Council verdict is in, Olympic gold medalist Tessa Virtue and her Toronto Maple Leaf husband Morgan Reilly are not allowed to paint their Rosedale heritage home with white limewash. The historical Edwardian era home must retain the traditional red brick exterior — a physical attribute that defines the home and the surrounding Heritage Conservation District of North Rosedale.

If Virtue and Reilly decide to appeal the decision the case will go to the Ontario Land Tribunal for a final hearing.

Thursday’s City Council decision comes after months of back and forth between the couple and Toronto’s Heritage Planning department over miscommunications on both sides that led to Virtue and Reilly painting their home without proper approvals issued, sort of…

Briefly, the couple submitted a building permit back in September 2023 that failed to communicate their desire to paint the house in its entirety, in order to improve “variations in colour, texture, and conditions resulting from mismatched bricks, repairs, and patches,” according to a report for action from the Acting Senior Manager of Heritage Planning. The couple’s architect only included a note requesting to paint the front facade.

This mistake was only noticed after the fact when Heritage Planning staff conducted a site visit and ordered them to cease painting, leaving a splotchy patch of white limewash on the home’s right side wall.

In the resulting report for action, is was conceded that Heritage Planning staff “were not aware of this note when they cleared the Building Permit,” but they still recommended that City Council refuse the alterations on the grounds that, “These alterations do not comply with the policies in the North Rosedale HCD Plan or the Parks Canada Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.”

At a June 11 Toronto and East York Community Council meeting, councillors failed to reach a decision, but on Thursday, this recommendation passed with a majority vote in a motion from Dianne Saxe, the councillor for Virtue and Reilly’s ward.