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Downsview, dismissed: Old military homes soon to be demolished

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Homes slated for demolition on Robert Woodland Crescent in the former Downsview, Toronto army base. Canadian Forces Housing Authority, which has managed the Toronto neighbourhood near Keele and Sheppard since 1996, began divesting itself of Toronto properties in 2009. Now, with ownership recently transferred to Canada Lands Co. the area is being redeveloped.

Dave LeBlanc

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A 1980-vintage brick split bungalow. Inside, these homes are not the kinds of places “decay fetishists” swoon over. Peeling paint is minimal and graffiti, thankfully, is non-existent. They’re empty, yes, but they’re mostly bright, in surprisingly good repair (the vinyl windows are fairly new, and Canada Lands is talking to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores about recycling some of them). They still feel like warm and inviting spaces to live.

Dave LeBlanc

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The family room in one of the split bungalows. The kitchen is behind the fireplace.

Dave LeBlanc

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A big 1980’s-era house on ‘Generals Row’.

Dave LeBlanc

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Blinds gone awry inside the big 1980 house on 'Generals Row'.

Dave LeBlanc

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An interior balcony overlooks the living room from the master bedroon inside the big 1980 house on 'Generals Row.’

Dave LeBlanc

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Semis on John Drury Blvd. They and the other little semis and big brick split-levels in William Baker Park – two winding streets attached to the base by asphalt umbilical cords – will face the wrecking ball early next year. The majority of the more than 80 houses were built in 1953, with eight more constructed in 1971, five in 1980, and one in 1981. They have been vacant since October 2012, when the last family moved away.

Dave LeBlanc

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49 John Drury Blvd.

Dave LeBlanc

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Dave LeBlanc

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Most of the homes, though abandoned, are in good shape. The holes in the walls of this house were caused by CLC staff testing for lead paint and asbestos.

Dave LeBlanc

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The view from 51 John Drury Blvd.

Dave LeBlanc

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The original CMHC plan for the home at 51 John Drury Blvd.

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