a peek inside the fishbowl

24 Jan, 2012

Another one down

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Westboro|Yaktivism

We have always called this place The House Without Eyes:

The house with no eyes

This 100-year old clapboard house is the latest victim in the infill game. I predict that the wide lot (not pictured) will result in yet another super sized duplex that will look down on the neighbours on each side.

Most days I love living in Westboro, and other days I dread what this community will look like 5, 10, 20 years from now. A small part of me wants to give up on Westboro, turn tail and run because the thoughtless expansion is just so depressing, but then I can’t think of a place where I would rather live.

How much infill development is too much? How many condos along Richmond Road is too many? It seems there is no end in sight.

13 Responses to "Another one down"

1 | Javamom

January 24th, 2012 at 10:02 am


Those icicles are mighty pretty but boy are those bad for one’s house..:(

It’s sad, isn’t it. It is happening in my West End Toronto neighbourhood too.

2 | Yael

January 24th, 2012 at 10:22 am


such seems to be the price of living in an interesting neighbourhood. and with our city expanding, population-wise….

my husband and i are looking to buy a home on the outskirts of town (munster/richmond/carp/etc), but it’s really only a matter of time until even those places will become overrun with condos and duplexes.

3 | binki

January 24th, 2012 at 10:40 am


It’s the end of the hood as we know it, and I feel sad.

4 | glggal

January 24th, 2012 at 10:48 am


It is too much. I hate the huge development. Most are ugly, and too big. The traffic is insane. And yet, I can’t think of anywhere else to live either. So, I stay. I can’t help but feel defeated somehow.

5 | Hilary

January 24th, 2012 at 1:03 pm


Yes that’s what we’ve always thought of it as, too. Such a strange house!

While the lack of eyes make it not-very-attractive, this is really sad news. Every time I come back I go for a walk round the ‘hood, and every time there are more of those duplex, rectangular “box” houses, which will look awful and dated not so many years from now.

As my mother likes to say, “we live in an 800K teardown”. It seems to be going that way.

6 | Brenda A.

January 24th, 2012 at 1:55 pm


I think there is a balance that needs to be achieved. I cannot come up with HOW to make the balance, but I know I support infill in existing neighbourhoods. The infrastructure is established. The many, many, MANY new developments further and further out are causing a lot of problems that won’t fit in a blog comment!

7 | fern

January 24th, 2012 at 3:32 pm


I find it interesting who wants to live in the neighborhood and what sort of resources they must have if they can afford to buy large lots, tear down houses and rebuild new ones. I guess I’m more of an downtown Ottawa girl and to me a large new house screams suburbs! To me, I think of houses in the core as being older ones that have been rennovated with additions, etc. The main thing I don’t understand is when the building take up the full lot. I know this often happens to maximize return on the value of the lang but I have to say, that I place a lot of importance on the value of out door living space, the yard and “curb appeal”.

8 | Ken

January 24th, 2012 at 5:45 pm


If you want an idea of what it might look like in ten or fifteen years look at west fourth in Vancouver. Pretty much all the single family homes are gone, replaced with low to mid-rise apartments.

Its not better or worse, but most definately different.

The ironic part is that quite a few people on west fourth are complaining because their pedestrian friendly low rise apartments are being replaced with higher density mid rise, mixed use and high rise apartments.
There goes the neighbourhood.

Cities are evolving things.

The next neighbourhood to be “gentrified” is Hintonburg.

9 | Cindy W

January 24th, 2012 at 8:06 pm


We live in the ‘hood too and are amazed at how much has changed in the short while we’ve been here – 8 years. What’s sad is that the infrastructure isn’t keeping up with the development and I’m wondering what will happen with the single family homes and the sense of neighbourhood that they create. I know that evolution is inevitable but how can it happen responsibly?!

10 | James

January 25th, 2012 at 9:16 am


Run where, though? Infill isn’t restricted to urban communities. Someone is currently building a massive, lot-filling house on a site in the older part of Manotick, replacing a century-old house that was there. Manotick is surrounded by mega-mansions, so why tear down and plop one on a smaller lot? Because they can, I guess. It’s endemic everywhere.

11 | fern

January 25th, 2012 at 1:33 pm


Yes, it’s endemic, people want everything new. We’re influenced by all the HGTV shows and I’m no exception. We want our granite counter tops, stainless steal appliances, spa inspired ensuite bathrooms, “man caves”, large garages for our muliple cars, etc. – this is the age of post-consumerism. No more of the Henry Ford days of “Any color you like so long as it’s black.” Maybe I have been in the same place for too long and need to move around more so that I am not constantly reminded of all the change I don’t necessarily care for. Of course lots of change is good, it’s just that in higher density situations, people seem to say they don’t know their neighbours and they don’t necessarily care to and it makes me think that it’s just so hard to maintain a sense of community. Many children are growing up without this and then it’s so hard to instill this in them as adults …

12 | andrea

January 26th, 2012 at 9:29 am


It is endemic.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

My feelings:

– I support infill where appropriate, because I don’t think it’s smart that new developments are eating up farmland on the outskirts of Ottawa
– A good place to build in/near Westboro would be along Scott Street. We should be building taller structures along that route.
– Tearing down a small house in a residential area and replacing it with one monster home (which is what’s happening the most often around here) isn’t rectifying anything or fulfilling any of the City’s infill-related goals. The whole point of infill is to get more people into the city’s core.
– Don’t even get me started on the Twin Towers going in at the end of Roosevelt Ave. :(
– how is the city addressing the increasing lack of green space? The overtaxed recreation centre? The fact that many streets have ditches instead of sewers?

What a mess eh?

13 | Eleanor

January 30th, 2012 at 5:53 am


Hi Andrea, I’m a sporadic reader of your blog and a Westboro native (though I live in the UK now). I’m pretty sure Hilary (comment 5) above is my big sister – our mum does love to say that!

So funny that I visited today and came across this – I’m actually writing a post right now for Apartment Therapy on the public streetscape and its demise in places like Westboro, contrasting the issue with the almost too-stringent building laws here in the UK. You might be interested when it’s posted in a couple weeks.

I’m an interior designer, and I used to dream of moving home someday and starting a business which helps homeowners gently update those older homes, making them appropriate for modern living while saving them from being knocked down. It looks like by the time that’s an option for me, there might be nothing left to save :(

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