Finding the historic Ossington Fire Hall clocktower
Preserving our City's heritage, and finding creative ways to enhance our public space, are both of critical importance as we continue to build our City and our communities for future generations. In so many of our downtown communities, we continue our work to find creative ways to both preserve the past, while creatively building for the future.
Located on the west side of Ossington Avenue, in the first block north of Queen Street, the building at 16 Ossington Avenue was constructed in 1878 as a fire hall. Originally known as Fire Hall No. 9, the City of Toronto commissioned new fire halls in tandem with the expansion of the City, numbering the facilities in order of their appearance. Fire Hall No. 9 was decommissioned in the late 1960s, and it is the oldest intact fire hall in the former City of Toronto. The building is now leased to the University Health Network, and provides critical support for community members, and the City as a whole. Archival photographs of the building depict a clock on top of the hose-drying tower, but it is not known what year the clock was removed.
At the same time, the Toronto Parking Authority operates a small Green P parking lot directly adjacent at 18 Ossington Avenue. With significant constraints on available space in this area of the City, and a growing residential and business community along Ossington, finding creative ways to expand and revitalize public space has become an increasing priority for stakeholders across the community.
An important neighbourhood landmark, local neighbours and the local Business Improvement Association, have come together with the goal of restoring the original clock tower at 16 Ossington Avenue, and working together to expand the public realm in the immediate area. Unfortunately, community efforts to locate the original clock have not yet been successful. At City Council this week I moved a motion directing staff to explore all possible avenues to locate the clock, as we continue to move forward to revitalize this historic site.