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Ownership (Property) Rights
and Leasehold rights: 3100 Weston Rd.

TORONTO – Today, the Etobicoke Community Council will debate the merits of including the Marian Shrine of Gratitude among the Leasehold Rights transferred in the sale of 3100 Weston Rd.

On Monday, October 16, at 9:30 AM, as per the October 12, 2023 meeting, the Report of the Toronto Preservation Board (TPB), unanimously approved, will now be presented to Etobicoke Community Council (see here  https://secure.toronto.ca/council/#/committees/2464/23254) for acceptance, debate and approval. The public is invited to make submissions.

It is the next step for the inclusion of the Marian Shrine of Gratitude on the Heritage Registry. The site, also commonly known as 3100 Weston Rd., and Rivermede, was already on the List of properties of cultural or historical interest in the former township of North York.

The decision of the TPB last Tuesday formally updated the property as including the gardens now publicly described as The Marian Shrine of Gratitude. No development can obtain the approval of City Council without weighing the “heritage” value of the property beforehand. If the decision today is also positive, it may result in the inclusion of the property on the Heritage Registry, thus severely limiting the size and scope of any future potential development on the site.

The “stakes are high”. The “ownership and property rights” of what may have been legally transferred from the previous to current owner on title will be impacted. Geological factors inherent in the description of the site (it sits on a flood plain) and any improvements made over time, including those cultural, and architectural, will be brought to bear on the debate.

So will the unencumbered “leasehold rights” of any current tenant. That would be the City of Toronto on any property and rentable space contained in the lease agreement it signed with the previous owner.

In reaching the decision, the TPB notes that it received (i) an online petition signed by over 19,000 individuals, (ii) over 200 emails and (iii) ten in-person supporting inclusion of the Marian Shrine of Gratitude in the updated list that arguably covers the benefits of “ownership” available to the public. Only two expressed opinions in-person and one other via email.

For reasons that escape most people of sound mind, the “current owners” are insistent on pressing the point that their interpretation of those rights supersedes “historical” and legal rights of others despite “evidence to the contrary”.

Councilor Perruzza, who would have had to be consulted prior to sign-off on by City Officials on [any] Lease covering the above (transfer documents show that he was) advised the TPB Committee that, indeed, the purchaser may be surprised to learn that he/they acquired some “very, very public property”.

Corriere Canadese attempted to connect with legal counsel of the purchaser by phone but as at writing, she had not responded.

The Purchaser has resorted to tactics that can only be objectively described as manipulative, and intimidatory – including physical obstruction and threats of legal action.

Friday evening, its Security Detail, from Flexpoint Security, attempted to prevent the faithful (some 300 of them) from their appointed prayer time at 8:00PM. That had been an arrangement negotiated between the Police, the Basilians, Flexpoint (on behalf of the Purchaser), Councilor Perruzza and MPP Rakocevic on August 19, 2023.

The latter two, apparently called the local police to enforce the agreement. Ten responded to ensure the peaceful prayer exercise.

The upshot may be that “ownership” of the property and/or enjoyment may have to be “cleared up”. Until it is, the most important question may not be “what is the highest and best [economic] use” of 3100 Weston Rd., but who are the legitimate owners?

In the pics above: the security, Police and the faithfuls on the site of the Marian Shrine (photo Corriere Canadese)

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