It feels like news about our neighbourhood over the last few weeks has been dominated by the theme of demolition.
- Demolition parameter erected around the remaining Old Victoria Hospital campus
- Demolition of the London and District Crippled Children’s Treatment Centre (Growing Concerns Children’s Centre) has begun
- Announced demolition of the St. John Catholic French Immersion School
- Announced demolition of two other derelict buildings in the neighbourhood — 8 Henry Street and 271 William Street
Some of these projects ultimately link back to SoHo’s Community Improvement Plan and the Old Victoria Hospital Secondary Area Plan, while other buildings are going down in what feels like a perfect storm of random timing — as if someone mysteriously synchronized the wrecking balls across otherwise unrelated development initiatives. Perhaps it is this apparently random simultaneity that makes the present moment feel somewhat jarring.
Add discussions regarding the Thames Valley Corridor Improvements and the Civic Space: SoHo project at Colborne and South to the above, and you have a neighbourhood that is undergoing a significant number of changes.
This afternoon, Sean Irvine from CTV News asked me what the SoHo Neighbourhood Association collectively feels about this rather ‘sudden’ jolt of changes to the landscape of the community. His question reminded me how of just how diverse the ‘we’ of a neighbourhood is. Times of change, such as this moment, highlight a perennial feature of neighbourhoods: we are an intersection of very different people. We sometimes have wildly different ideas about the future, the importance of heritage and the past, the aesthetics of beauty, and the meaning and value of sustainability.
In times of change and uncertainty, little more is more important than listening to one another.