Development vs. preservation: Street art on abandoned homes sparks debate

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Street art on a group of abandoned homes in Toronto has triggered an online controversy, pitting social media users who want to preserve the existing homes against those happy with plans to build condos at the site.

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The silhouettes of people who used to live in houses slated for demolition for another condo project at St. Clair Ave. and Bathurst St. were created by artists Steph Avery, Shari Kasman, Emmie Tsumura and the original X poster Martin Reis.

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The art includes what appears to be an older woman with a walker in one hand and a purse in the other. The others show a man carrying a child, another person holding a baby in the air, while a little girl holding a balloon rounds out the installation.

The homes on Raglan Ave. are due to be demolished and replaced by a 24-storey condominium that would boast 170 units, according to a sign posted in front of a set of houses by the City of Toronto.

Across the development notice were two handwritten notes: “Keep Toronto liveable” and “Sellouts!”

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Some commenters agreed, with one user writing, “Yet another condo project as if we’re not >1 million units short on building housing in this province lol.”

Another person who used to live in the area stated she “can already tell you the people living on this street don’t want another condo,” and added that the current infrastructure wouldn’t be able to handle the increased traffic.

However, the majority online argued that more residences is exactly what is needed in the city in today’s housing crisis.

“But it’s being replaced with 160 apartments — so this is a good thing,” one person commented.

Another chimed in, “This is a great thing, so many more happy people housed, and for much cheaper than $3 million SFH.”


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Others commented on how much the previous owners made selling to the condo developers.

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