Tag Archives: 492 Parlimant Street
Christopher Hume – Toronto Star
Parliament St. has been in a state of flux for almost 40 years. Halfway between Cabbagetown old and new, its offerings are a mixed bag. Dollar stores and specialty food shops rub shoulders here, especially on the section running north from Gerrard to Wellesley Sts.
The days when this was a no-go zone are long over, but yuppies don’t own everything yet. But let’s be honest, thanks to those urban pioneers, Cabbagetown and Don Vale are now among the most sought-after neighbourhoods in the city. And it’s not hard to figure out why; the 19th-century housing stock ranks among Toronto’s most elegant and well preserved.
Not only that, but there’s a consistency in scale and materials, though not style, that adds enormous appeal. Unlike, say, Rosedale, Cabbagetown is coherent and all-of-a-whole. It adds up to more than the sum of its parts.
West of Parliament, the neighbourhood loses the quiet, bucolic quality one finds on the east. With downtown lurking beyond, that’s no surprise. The looming presence of St. James Town to the north doesn’t help, but Cabbagetown is firmly entrenched in its new identity.
Despite a number of new residential projects in the general vicinity, it has managed to hang on its Victorian heritage. Cabbagetown also reminds us that city-building was something our 19th-century forbearers pulled off effortlessly. We would do well to follow their example.
Condo Critic – 492 Parlimant Street
This modernist brick-and-glass box certainly isn’t the most beautiful building to appear in this neck of the woods, but on the other hand, as an instance of contemporary infill housing, it works brilliantly.
Standing just four storeys tall, it has a single floor base above which all is masonry or glazing. The architects have made no effort to copy the styles of its earlier neighbours, but that’s okay. A main artery such as Parliament bears the results, sometimes the scars, of many generations. Besides, larger windows and less formal spaces make eminent sense in these more casual times.
With retail at grade, the building is already integrated into the street and, indeed, has achieved the kind of invisibility of a fabric building. They may not grab our attention, but they don’t have to; they are the stuff of which the city is made.
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