Sterling Rd Lofts (old munitions factory)

"They live and work in an old munitions factory in the west end, on Sterling Rd. The units are perfect as studios and, because of the high ceilings, they are also perfect for flying through the air with the greatest of ease."


Ramon Perez went to the Landlord and Tenant Board the other day. He came in the company of his neighbours, many of whom are trapeze performers. They have a battle on their hands.

They live and work in an old munitions factory in the west end, on Sterling Rd. The units are perfect as studios and, because of the high ceilings, they are also perfect for flying through the air with the greatest of ease.

For some years now, Ramon and the others have enjoyed live-work status in the building; they achieved that status with the help of their former landlord.

But the new landlord has begun offering the tenants commercial leases on what seems to be a sign-or-move-out basis. Tenants fear the worst; they have the scent of redevelopment in their nostrils and commercial leases do not offer them much protection. There are reports of units being padlocked.

Ramon refused to sign his new lease; he continues to pay rent, although he said the landlord has not yet cashed his last cheque. There is a lot riding on the outcome. It is no stretch to say that a tiny corner of the soul of the city is at stake.

I spent some time with Ramon and his neighbours last week. One of the aerialists said if they lose their right to live in the building, they might have to move to Hamilton, where there is plenty of cheap industrial space for artists. Toronto will be poorer if that happens.

The chief virtue of the Landlord and Tenant Board is that participants are urged, nudged, coaxed, cajoled and asked politely if they might reach some sort of, um, accommodation prior to a ruling.

Ramon was represented by Parkdale Legal, and the landlord was represented by a suave lawyer in a sharp suit. The lawyers huddled, but there was no agreement reached, and it took a couple of hours to reach that conclusion, and you know how it is with lawyers' schedules; the hearing was deferred until later in the summer.

The good news? Until Ramon's case is heard, no doors will be padlocked.

During a quiet moment in the hallway, I asked the landlord's lawyer why Ramon and the others were being offered commercial leases when they enjoy legal and official live-work status. The lawyer said I should make sure to get my facts straight. I am an easygoing fellow. I asked which were the facts I should get straight. The lawyer said he could not comment on what the landlord was legally doing, nor could he say why the landlord was legally doing it. He stressed that word, "legal." He was right to do so. And the sword of justice is sharp along both its edges.

A community worker for Parkdale Legal, Elinor Mahoney – she had been working on the file, and came to the hearing even though she was supposed to be on vacation – said that tenants like Ramon have been protected by residential zoning for some years now.

You'd think that would be trumps, but I am neither a lawyer nor a landlord and would rather see than be one.

You know that stuff about making lemonade when life hands you lemons? There are several dozen tenants in that old building; they want nothing more than to live cheaply, develop photos, paint pictures, and dangle upside-down in mid-air while clinging to aerial silks. In a perfect world, a landlord would recognize this as a legitimate source of income. In an imperfect world, a tenant has to fight for the rights he already enjoys. And in a hard, cold world, our artists move to Hamilton.

Stay tuned.

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Sterling lofts in the news again

....this time for a landlord-tenant dispute that lead to the tenant being locked out, with her dogs trapped inside. Article is here:

sterling road demolition

The neighbourhood would be a lot better off without the Sterling Lofts. For many years the lofts brought a wealth of culture and knowledge to the neighbourhood. Unfortunately this has been slowly ebbing away. Now we are left with an impromptu booze can at the weekend and a building that through total neglect is a complete eyesore.

I got no notice!

I live a stone throw away from their property (ie South Perth). This is the first time hearing about this. Last time I heard anything was in 2008, in the article posted above from the Star.

How serious is this developer about keeping the community involved, when they pull off dirt bag maneuvers on us like this. Although reading the original article I can see the developer isn't very cooperative - especially with the treatment of tenants.

Meeting notice

I think the meeting notice was sent only to the residents of the affected building. Since the developer hasn't actually submitted a development application yet, and even their demo permit was denied, there's not too much to discuss yet, I guess.

Sounds like the main purpose of this meeting is for the city to meet with the residents of the lofts to figure out how many residential units are in there, and figure out how to proceed from there.

"The purpose of the meeting is to determine the nature of the tenancies at 221, 225 & 227 Sterling Road. The City is looking for information on how many residential tenants live in the building. This information on the number of residential rental units will assist the City when determining how any redevelopment of the property should proceed. The owner has approached the City with a proposal to demolish the building and replace a portion of the residential rental units; however no application to redevelop the property has been made to date."

Sterling Studio Lofts to be torn down - meeting tonight


I live in the town homes on Merchant Lane and just received something in my mailbox last night. It was a flyer that read as follows:

"Proposal to demolish the sterling lofts and build two, twently story structures on the site!
If you wish to oppose these plans please attend the meeting at:
The Ukrainian Cultural Centre
1604 Bloor Street West
Date: February 17th, 2010
Time: 7:00pm"

I would love to go to see what is going on but my husband works tonight and I have a little one that has to be in bed by then. If anyone is going I would love some notes on what was discussed. I am very interested in this.
Although I would love for those lofts to be cleaned up. I think the demolition and construction phases would be just awful.

Any thoughts on the topic?

Over Dense

My main concern should the Sterling Lofts property owners push their plans through for two twenty story structures, is how much more population density can Sterling Road and south Perth be able to handle, considering that Castlepoint plans more townhomes and condo lofts to built.

Any other thoughts?

Sterling meeting info posted

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for posting. I received more details about this meeting from Councillor Giambrone's office and posted it here.