You don’t have to go to New Orleans or Detroit to see urban decay. Weston has some appalling rot right on our main street.
Buildings need people like people need buildings: just as we die without housing, they die without inhabitants. Decay and mould soon ruin empty properties, so abandoned buildings show deep despair in a community—nobody would abandon a building that had a future.
But in Weston, there are several buildings that have been left empty and decaying for years. One building in particular, one of Canada’s oldest, has been abandoned for at least 10 years.
The Plank Road building at 2375 (or 2371) Weston Road was built in 1841, 25 years before Canada existed. Though it is beautiful and historic, it has been empty for at least ten years; photographs from the Ontario Heritage Properties Database show that it was certainly abandoned in June of 2000, and judging from its condition, it looks to have been abandoned years before that.
It’s not the only abandoned building on Weston Road, merely the oldest. An old liquor store has been abandoned since at least 2007, when I moved to Weston. It was likely abandoned before that. There is a bright side: behind the store, a very large parcel has returned to nature–it’s completely inaccessible and probably a lovely refuge for wildlife.
The most decrepit buildings are certainly two houses on the west side of the street. While the Plank house has had a new roof put on and the LCBO looks like it could be salvaged, these two houses are completely ruined. Nobody will live in them again, yet nobody will tear them down.
Finally, a burned-out Donut shop at 2562 Weston Rd has the highest visibility. It is right near the highway off-ramp and across from the gigantic grocery store. Its owner has not repaired the store since it was gutted by fire. It, too, has been in this state for many years.
All of these properties are on Weston Road, and all are within a kilometer. They exist because businesspeople, politicians, and residents feel our community is a dump. They would not stand anywhere else in Toronto.