Toronto’s past and future are clashing at a downtown corner with the approaching demolition of Frank Gehry’s grandparents’ home.
It was in this modest mid-18th century home where Gehry watched carp swim in his grandmother’s bathtub and was fascinated by their glistening scales — a memory later attributed to his sleek metallic designs, including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
The home, described as “a façade and nothing else” in a city report, was owned by a Swiss family when BSAR Group of Companies bought it in 2008.
Tarek Sobhi, a principal of the company, said their goal is to build a funky condominium that would fit into the area. The Grange Park neighbourhood is home to some of Toronto’s most notable architectural designs, including Gehry’s redesign of the AGO.
The city did postpone the house’s demolition for a short period of time in order to search for the bathtub where the Kensington Market carp used to swim, said city Coun. Adam Vaughan.
“We were hoping to find it, coat it in titanium and put it in the neighbourhood.”
Instead, Sobhi says his firm will think of another way to pay tribute to Gehry’s grandparents’ home. This gesture may be seen as an olive branch to members of the community who have spoken out against the development.