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12 Church Street East Coming Down

A demolition permit has been issued for the building at 12 Church Street East. The demolition will make way for the Willow Landing condominium project which will eventually see eleven three-story townhouses on the 0.8 acre site. The property was originally acquired by John Boyd Mackenzie in 1900 and the Mackenzie Lumber Company had a prominent place in the community until it shut its doors in 1992.

The building itself, constructed of brick and concrete blocks, has seen many incarnations. It was built in 1945 as a showroom for the lumber and hardware business. In later years it was rented by the Hide House and specifically retailed “western wear” for the brand. Not long afterward it became Blue Springs Funeral Home. More recently, it functioned as the TDI dance studio. The group behind the new project, D and M Developers, acquired the property in 2016.

Jake Mackenzie, whose grandfather started the business, started working in the yard when he was 15. “For many years it was Mackenzie Coal and Lumber, but the coal kind of disappeared in the 1960s,” he said. “My uncle Sam had stores in Acton and Georgetown. They were also contractors and at the peak they built schools. They didn't make as much money contracting but the work was steady.”

Jake has mixed feelings about the demolition. “It lasted three generations and that's about the most you can get out of a business,” he said. “I mostly worked as a yard man. It was a busy place in the 50s and 60s with all the building going on. At one time we sold the most cement because we had the tannery for a customer. I remember the employees used to get tickets to the Leafs games and those were good seats. It was a big deal for a worker to get Leaf tickets and go into Toronto for a night out.”

The building is set to be tore down Tomorrow, June 12, 2020.


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