Today's Toronto Star has an interesting article describing a very typical Toronto debate.
TheStar.com - The Beach's shifting landscape
For those who don't know, The Beach (or The Beaches) is by far and away Toronto's best neighbourhood. It has the most people friendly/accessible stretch of Lake Ontario in the city, and streets lined with mature trees. It's home to a wonderful eclectic mix of retail establishments along Queen St - many of which open well into the evening.
It's also home to friendly dogs who save the city from harm. It's a hop, skip, and jump to downtown. Oh - yes, and it's my home.
Of course, as much as we would like to keep the area a secret - this is not practical. People have been buying up lots with undersized properties and building larger homes on them. The debate is whether these new homes should be required to somehow mesh with the existing architectural style.
My take is that:
1. The new homes people are building are huge improvement over what they replaced.
2. The Beaches has no one style. Every street is different - reflecting that this a mature neighbourhood that has seen development and redevelopment over its history. This is yet another endearing aspect of the neighbourhood.
Let's leave the concept of architectural contextualism for the grand public spaces and buildings.