Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

Downtown

Trefann Court

History of Trefann Court

Trefann Court began as a working class neighbourhood in the mid 1800's. Its future was threatened in 1966, when Toronto city planners recommended that Trefann Court's deteriorated housing stock be demolished and the entire neighbourhood be rebuilt from scratch.

The city's plans were vigorously opposed by Trefann Court residents who were led by a young lawyer named John Sewell - who later became Mayor of Toronto. In response to Toronto city planners, Trefann Court residents created their own blueprint to save their neighbourhood. The residents' plan advocated restoring the existing housing stock wherever possible, and replacing dilapidated houses with new houses that would be in keeping with the neighbourhood. This plan was adopted by city council in 1972.

The battle over Trefann Court was historically significant in that it brought forth new urban planning ideas that advocated greater community involvement, less government interference and an enlightened interest in rehabilitating and preserving Toronto's historic neighbourhoods.

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