Public Notices & Bylaws

Intention to Designate - 421 Roncesvalles Avenue

R.S.O. 1990 CHAPTER 0.18 AND



Take notice that Toronto City Council intends to designate the lands and buildings known municipally as 421 Roncesvalles Avenue under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Reasons for Designation

The property at 421 Roncesvalles Avenue (including the address at 61 Howard Park Avenue) is worthy of designation under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act for its cultural heritage value, and meets Ontario Regulation 9/06, the provincial criteria prescribed for municipal designation under all three categories of design, associative and contextual values. 


Located on the southeast corner of Roncesvalles Avenue and Howard Park Avenue, the property at 421 Roncesvalles Avenue contains at the west end of the site a two-storey building that was completed in 1914 as a branch of the Dominion Bank (forerunner to the Toronto-Dominion Bank) according to the designs of Toronto architect John M. Lyle, with a parking lot currently occupying the east end. 

Statement of Significance

The property at 421 Roncesvalles Avenue has design value as a well-crafted example of an early-20th century bank building with Edwardian Classical detailing inspired by Beaux-Arts principles that is part of a collection of surviving branch banks by Toronto architect, John M. Lyle.  The custom design is distinguished by the classical detailing, including the main (west) entrance, as well as the extended cornice inscribed “The Dominion Bank” on the west and north elevations facing Roncesvalles and Howard Park avenues.

The association of the Dominion Bank Branch with the famed Toronto architect, John M. Lyle reflects the historical value of the property. The training that Lyle received at the Ḗcole des Beaux Arts in France and in New York City influenced his subsequent portfolio in Toronto, including the Royal Alexandra Theatre (his first project in the city) and Union Station (in collaboration with other architects). Lyle was noted in particular for his work for major Canadian banks, where his firm designed nearly two dozen branches in Toronto for the Dominion Bank, including the subject building at 421 Roncesvalles Avenue. 

Contextually, the property at 421 Roncesvalles Avenue supports and maintains the character of the street, which extends from Queen to Dundas streets and developed in the pre-World War I era as a major thoroughfare that marked the boundary between the formerly independent Town of Parkdale (east) and the established residential neighbourhood  adjoining High Park (west).  Highlighted with local landmarks, including the Revue Theatre (1912) and the Church of St. Vincent de Paul (1915-25) that are recognized on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register, Roncesvalles Avenue is characterized by the blocks of residential properties along the west side of the street, opposite the mainly commercial buildings on the east side.  The Dominion Bank Branch contributes to the character of the Roncesvalles Avenue with its corner location, positioned near the north end of the street, adjoining an important intersection and anchoring a block of commercial buildings that share its vintage, setback and scale.

The Dominion Bank Branch at 421 Roncesvalles Avenue is also visually and historically linked to its setting where it anchors the southeast corner of Howard Park Avenue, an important local street that provides a direct connection from Dundas Street West to High Park.

Heritage Attributes

The heritage attributes of the Dominion Bank Branch at 421 Roncesvalles Avenue are:

  • The setback, placement and orientation of the building on the southeast corner of Roncesvalles Avenue and Howard Park Avenue
  • The scale, form and massing of the building that rises two stories above the stone base
  • The materials, with the red brick cladding and the brick and stone detailing
  • The flat roofline, with the stone coping
  • On the west elevation on Roncesvalles Avenue, the symmetrical organization with the central entrance, which is placed in the incised stone surround with the bracketed entablature and the sculpted frieze
  • On the west and north elevations, the stone cornice dividing the first and second stories, the flat-headed window openings with the large single openings in the first floor, the small paired openings in the second floor, and the brick flat arches with the stone corner blocks
  • The secondary entrance on the north elevation on Howard Park Avenue, with the flat-headed surround and the brick and stone detailing
  • The classical detailing, with the stone quoins and, extending across the west and north elevations, the large stone cornice inscribed “The Dominion Bank”

There are no distinguishing features on the rear (east) elevation that is viewed from the current parking lot and Howard Park Avenue, and the south elevation is concealed by the adjacent building.          

A notice of an objection to the proposed designation may be served on the City Clerk, Attention: Ellen Devlin, Administrator, Toronto and East York Community Council, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, 2nd Floor, West, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2N2,  within thirty days of February 10, 2017, which is March 13, 2017.  The notice must set out the reason(s) for the objection, and all relevant facts.

Dated at Toronto this 10th day of February, 2017.

Ulli S. Watkiss
City Clerk