The demolition of the third Dickinson Tower from the original five towers in Regent Park Phase 3 of 5 15 year redevelopment is underway. Proposed Phase 3 will make way for market condos and rent-geared-to-income housing, as well as a brand new 2.8 acre sports athletic ground integrated as part of the 69 acre revitalization.
There were two opposing views as to whether one of the remaining apartment towers at 14 Blevins Place should be preserved or torn down when the City decided not to designate the buildings as part of the heritage inventory. The modernist highrise apartments were designed by Peter Dickinson in the 1950s, and won the Massey Medal for Architecture in 1961.
Each unit was self contained and extended two storeys with an internal staircase to the upper bedroom floor, and spanned with front and back view. Due to lack of maintenance resulting in the residents living under substandard conditions from leaky pipes, broken elevators and bed bugs, the buildings became too expensive to retrofit for adaptive re-use.
While I was at the site taking photos, a handful of people also came by to take a last look at where they once lived before the building is completely razed. A few of them turned out to be long time residents of the building for 12 years. One man shouted out from his car "Whoah! You can see right through my apartment." Another said, " I wish they would keep one of the buildings." The 69acre revitalization in the downtown core cannot be understated, and most of us see it being stemmed from a failed public housing project. When I stood watching, I realized this is not just another building making way for new development, it once housed peoples' lives and every deconstructed brick is preserved with collective memories.
Paintbox Condo and One Park Place Condo adjacent to the Dickinson Tower demolition for Phase 3 redevelopment.