A homecoming three years in the making is unfolding on the shores of Lake Ontario. It began January 9, 2012 with the first residents returning to 42 Hubbard Blvd., a three-storey building with a great beach-front view.
Residents moved out in December 2008 after contractors retained by Toronto Community Housing to refurbish kitchens and bathrooms in the circa-1928 building found it contained mould and required a number of substantial structural repairs and upgrades.
All of the 27-unit building's residents were relocated with the promise they could return home. Aside from the view, the only thing returning residents will recognize is the old brick facade. That's because, after considering all the options, Toronto Community Housing chose to reconstruct the interior within the existing walls. It was the best way to build a great living space at the lowest cost to taxpayers, with the added benefit of maintaining the character of the building.
"Essentially, it was a complete gut from the inside," explained Lizette Zuniga, Director of Development and Real Estate, pointing out a 20-foot opening in the south wall that was made so construction equipment and machinery could enter the building.
The reconstruction was made possible through $4.05 million Social Housing Renovation and Retrofit Program stimulus funding and the work of Lisgar Construction (construction manager), Van Elsander Carter Architects Inc., Brown & Co. Engineering Ltd. (structural) and Lam & Associates Ltd. (mechanical / electrical).
Plenty of features
Working within the existing walls made for some unique, yet still functional, unit layouts.
"The architects did a lovely job," Deborah Beaven told a community paper. Beaven, who saw her new one-bedroom unit for the first time last week, said she is pleased some of the original features were retained such as the stained glass windows and the original wooden roof joists, which were re-purposed in the new rooftop space.
There are plenty of other new features incorporated in the design, including: a new elevator, replacing the central staircase; a barrier-free entrance; a new common room, laundry room, green roof and rooftop patio with panoramic views of Lake Ontario; energy-efficient heating, air conditioning, and lighting; a fob access system and cameras to improve security; and rooftop solar panels to generate electricity.
Philip Jeung, Director of Smart Buildings and Energy Management, said the green elements incorporated into the redesign will lower the operating cost of the building. "There's a misconception that you need a wide open roof area with many solar arrays," he said. "But, in fact, even a small scale panel can generate significant savings."