Now a former Governor General is complaining about the frats in this neighbourhood

Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson is one of many Annex residents who is unhappy with the noise that comes from frats in her neighbourhood, and she is wondering why the city won’t regulate these types of houses.

“The frat houses in our neighbourhood, particularly the Delta Kappa Epsilon at the corner of Lowther and St. George, are filthy and a noise nuisance,” Clarkson and her husband, John Ralston Saul, wrote in a letter that was submitted to a meeting of city council’s planning and housing committee in January.

The letter states that their house on Admiral Road backs onto the Delta Kappa Epsilon site, and their guest room faces west to it.

“A house guest, who recently stayed with us on a Saturday night, confessed that he had not slept because of the noise: shouting, loud music and clanging of metallic objects…This is simply unacceptable behaviour in a residential area. We don’t understand why we cannot regulate these types of houses. This has been going on much too long and residents have been extremely patient. Please let’s do something about it right away!”

Clarkson’s letter was submitted in support of Councillor Dianne Saxe’s request that fraternities and sororities be regulated under Toronto’s multi-tenant bylaw—a motion that Saxe proposed in January after she received multiple complaints from her constituents about noise from fraternities in her ward.

“Almost all of Toronto’s fraternity and sorority residences are located in Ward 11,” Saxe’s Jan. 15 letter stated, adding that residents advised that the fraternities and sororities in their ward continue to have a pattern of conflict with their neighbours and limited compliance with city bylaws.

“The mere fact that fraternities and sororities were not previously regulated does not immunize them from becoming regulated now. Nor have we seen any evidence that regulation under the Multi-tenant House Licensing By-law would prevent fraternities and sororities from providing affordable student housing in Ward 11.”

Saxe said that the requirements of the Multi-tenant House Licensing By-law are modest and reasonable and that those who live in dwelling rooms in fraternities or sororities deserve the same legal protections as those who live in other dwelling rooms.

Her motion “to protect students and their neighbours” by regulating fraternity and sorority residences under the Multi-tenant House Licensing By-law, presented to the planning and housing committee meeting earlier this year, was unsuccessful, although council did allocate $750,000 to hire more bylaw officers.

Toronto residents are encouraged to call 311 for noise complaints, but it still seems to be an issue pertaining to fraternities in this ward.

Last week, we reported on residents complaining about loud parties at frats in the Annex neighbourhood. One resident even went as far as posting noise notices in the U of T area, stating that the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity at Madison Avenue has shown “total disrespect” toward their neighbours in their “once quiet neighbourhood”.

In 2021, we reported on similar noise complaints directed at Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. For decades, fraternities in the Annex area  have disturbed neighbours with late-night parties, but nothing has really been done about it.  Rita Bilerman, who was, at that time, the chair of the Annex Residents’ Association, noted then that city police “have bigger fish to fry,” and that these houses “get free rein and … unless there is a violent situation happening, [police] won’t come”.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO