I especially love the professionalism evident in the last photo, don't you? I hope he was wearing sunscreen - the UV ratings have been pretty high this summer.
I think the number one lesson to be learned from 754 Indian Road is, if you don't want this to happen in your neighbourhood, you need to watch the built heritage in your area like a hawk. If a "For Sale" sign appears in front of an old church or a school or an interesting house, get on it - or delegate a heritage-freak librarian (like me!) to get on it for you. Find out what's going on. Find out if the building has heritage value and if you can get it designated, by the city and/or the province.
The Indian Road Baptist Church was designed by a Junction architect, James A Ellis, in the early 20th century. The firm of Ellis & Connery designed many notable Junction buildings, including the synagogue on Maria St (it is still used for worship - it's the oldest such synagogue in Toronto) and the building that currently houses the Runneymede health centre, at Runneymede and St John's Road, which is, surprise! slated for demolition. It absolutely disgusts me that built heritage that has such a strong local component can and will be destroyed. As we say in the online world, WTF? This is completely unacceptable.
Let's face it, Toronto is not a pretty city. It was designed by accountants, not artists (yes, I know that's not strictly true but you know what I'm saying). I'm no expert, but I have several years' experience as an urbanite behind me, and, quite frankly, Toronto leaves much to be desired. But the older buildings, like this church, are something that Toronto does right. They anchor neighbourhoods, they're landmarks. They give streets character. Our built heritage is a tangible connection to the past. I think that's important. Our buildings have stories to tell: stories about the people who settled in an area and how the neighbourhood evolved. They can teach us about architectural styles, the influences of different architectural movements and schools of thought, and even about things like local (and not so local) building materials that were popular at the time of their construction. As we like to say in the LIS world, they're information-rich. But if they're torn down, they're lost forever. All that information, all those stories, that anchor - gone. Bye bye. And 99% of the time, what goes up in their place is architecturally insensitive (i.e. doesn't fit in the neighbourhood), or bland, or just plain ugly. And not rich. And sure, it tells a story - it tells a story about a city that doesn't value its heritage and doesn't respect the wishes of its residents and allows developers to destroy buildings designed by local architects who lived and worked with the people in the area, and put up ugly, unimaginative, dime-a-dozen, cookie-cutter buildings that have nothing to do with the neighbourhood in the place of buildings that did.