One of the two tenants still renting a suite in the city-owned homes on Wineva Avenue and Hubbard Boulevard says they should have the right to stay put.
On Jan. 15, city councillors voted to sever the seven Toronto Community Housing properties so they can be sold on the private market.
Built in 1926, the cottage-style homes are heritage buildings and some of the few residential properties on Toronto’s lakefront, with an expected total value of $10 million. TCH officials say that money is badly needed for a repair backlog across its properties that is $751-million and growing.
“I have been dealing with this sale since 1998,” said a resident in one of the homes, who asked that her name be withheld given a threatening letter that was dropped at her door by people who want her to move.
“I do feel that the two of us that are left should have some right to remain because of what we’ve gone through.”
When she moved in 20 years ago, the resident said all the TCH suites were rented. Most of the suites around hers have been vacant for 10 to 14 years.
She has always paid a market rent for her suite, and covered the cost of her own utilities.
According to the Toronto Star, in 1999, tenants in six suites on Hubbard and three on Wineva were offered the chance to buy their homes for $360,000. Two took up the offer. A third sold privately for $523,000.
The resident said she tried to buy her suite then, but was unable to because there was an elderly couple in the attached suite. The city would not divide the upstairs and downstairs suites for sale.
She offered to buy both suites herself and rent to the couple as long as they lived there, but the city refused the offer, she said.
Two years ago, the resident dug up her entire garden and gave it away “because the threat of sale was imminent.”
“And I’m still here,” she said. “So the last two years I’ve been replanting.”
Recently, the resident came home to find a sign announcing the pending severance of her home posted on the front lawn.
“The sign went up on the lawn before we even got a letter,” she said.
“I thought that was disgusting.”
Over the years, the resident said she has made several deputations to city hall about the issue, and been in the “fishbowl” of national media.
Asked how she felt about the whole 16-year saga, the resident at first called it “draining.”
But after thinking about it, she said she had a better word for all the back-and-forth about her home: “bereft.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the resident received multiple letters suggesting she move. In fact, there was only one such letter.