Modest condo content to be part of streetscape

It may not be obvious, but Bayview Avenue has had an interesting history.

Until shortly after World War II, cows grazed along the street north of Eglinton Avenue.

In the 1920s, the east side became a favourite site for local millionaires to build their villas.


Back then, it represented the suburban ideal, a chance to live in the country but close to the city.

Now, of course, everything has changed and with it the dream of suburbia, which has long become the recurring nightmare of our times.

The mall at Bayview and Eglinton arrived in the 1950s, and more recently, the stretch south of Eglinton has become an attractive — or at least a vital — shopping area that serves the residents of Leaside and beyond.

In this neighbourhood is a modest condo, at 1387 Bayview Ave., which was designed to serve seniors who want to continue living independently in their neighbourhood. Called SAHIL (Stay At Home In Leaside), the building serves its purpose with a minimum of fuss or fanfare, while managing a certain dignity.

It sits on the southeast corner of Bayview and McRae Drive, a mixed area typical of a city that has tried to be different things at different times.

Standing just four storeys, this is a building content to form part of the fabric of the streetscape. It could have been more architecturally interesting and constructed of better materials, but perhaps that would have been unnecessary. It deliberately occupies its corner site unobtrusively.

The main entrance, on McRae Drive, is clearly marked and the facades enlivened by large windows arranged vertically. The lowest level, which functions as a base, has not been handled with noticeable adeptness; here are the doors, the garage entrances and the inevitable stuff that goes with such a building. But it presents an image of quiet solidity that one associates with an established neighbourhood such as Leaside. It doesn’t need to be more than it is, but in this instance one feels the restraint is a product of confidence rather than cheapness.

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