The federal government is moving to save a historically designated, derelict Don Mills mansion that the Toronto Catholic District School Board had wanted to demolish.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced a $2.1 million grant to restore the 1932-vintage former country home, which had been donated to the board by the late Senator Frank O’Connor, founder of Laura Secord chocolates and a leading Toronto philanthropist.

The home on Avonwick Gate has been sitting vacant and deteriorating since the board deemed it too costly to incorporate into its $25 million Senator O’Connor high school next door, which opened in 2005.

“This is a really fantastic step forward, when just last year the Catholic school board came to the North York community council applying for a demolition permit,” said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong.

The federal money will preserve the structure while community groups raise funds to complete a full $4 million renovation, said Minnan-Wong, who attended the high school, northwest of Lawrence Ave. and Victoria Park Ave.

“This doesn’t cover the entire restoration, but what it will do is save the building,” he said.

“You’ll be able to fix the exterior, fix the roof, to protect it from the elements.”

Latest From ...