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Marian Shrine: First Round Goes to Developers

TORONTO – In Business, there self interest is the order of the day. It may be an arcane adage in the field of accounting, but it still captures a fundamental reality that “love makes the world go ‘round, but money sends it spinning”. Greed invariably trumps religion and “kindness”.

On Sunday, the treasurer and secretary of the Basilian Fathers (Ukrainian Rite), Fr. Zachary, overseeing the dismantling of Shrine (in the pic below and in the video here), gave a demonstration of what Italians of another era defined as extreme “superbia” and “arroganza”. How dare people stand in the way of his legal requirement to proposed Purchasers (AvranceCorp. Developments and 1000331725 Ontario Inc) that he remove potential encumbrances to the transfer of ownership?

Fr. Zachary, Superior General of the Basilian Fathers (watch the video below this article)

After all, the buyer was offering circa $22 million for 13.5 acres of land, including 49,833 sq ft of space (a school building) and $475,905.15 of annual rent payable by the City of Toronto. The lease Agreement is set to expire November 30, 2024; but, according to a City of Toronto, Delegated Approval form, “The City has entered into negotiations with the proposed purchaser […] for an additional four years.” Who knows at what price.

At the very least, the purchaser would be guaranteed approximately 25% of carrying costs – at City expense – for a five-year period from the lease of the school facilities alone while waiting for development approvals. It does not appear that the Basilians looked to other potentially interested buyers who might consider the maintenance of the Shrine in the interim.

Here’s what the “legal team” at AvranceCorp et al responded via e-mail Saturday evening: “This property shall in fact become a private property starting from this week hence access shall be restricted to the Public moving forward. Any trespassers seen on the property shall be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” (Emphasis added).

Avrancecorp Developments and the CEO Samuel Babarinde

In fact, they proceeded accordingly before the sale was duly registered. Someone [who?] called police to bolster the heavy security already on site to assist in the removal of Shrine assets – on a Sunday of course, when the by-law enforcement office functions primarily as a call center.

There may be a couple of mitigating factors that may cause headaches for the purchasers going forward. One, the address is located on land under the Toronto Region Conservation Authority. Two, there is an outstanding application for Heritage Designation on the old Gardner Mansion/Monastery. It is apparently scheduled for deliberation at next month’s Council meetings.

Anthony Perruzza and Tom Rakocevic

Local Councillor Anthony Perruzza, who along with MPP Tom Rakocevic, was present at Sunday’s community demonstration, attempted to reason with Superior General Zachary (essentially to wait until the “Ts were crossed”) to no avail.

They may have another chance at success.

The video below is from the Marian Shrine, Sunday 20 August: other previous videos are on Corriere Canadese’s YouTube channel.

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