Tessa Virtue and Morgan Rielly

Tessa Virtue and Morgan Rielly ordered to stop painting their Rosedale heritage home

Tessa Virtue and Morgan Rielly have hired a lobbyist for the couple to get permission to paint their brick home in Toronto’s Rosedale neighbourhood, according to a report by Matt Elliott for City Hall Watcher. The six-bedroom home, built in 1912 and purchased for $6.4 million in 2022, resides in the North Rosedale Heritage Conservation District, so any changes to the house (including painting) would require heritage permits.

Reilly, a defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Virtue, a former Olympic ice dancer, are requesting to use a limewash white paint on the masonry along both sides of their two-storey house to “address the unsightly discoloration” variations in the colour, texture, and conditions resulting from mismatched bricks, repairs, and patches. The couple believes this will also  “elevate the House’s curb appeal” according to an April 2024 report for action by Toronto’s Acting Senior Manager, Heritage Planning, Urban Design, City Planning.

The application states that coatings like limewash can serve an appropriate function ”in the preservation and maintenance of heritage structures, particularly when the unpainted or uncoated nature of brick is not a character defining element, as is the case with the House,” and that it “conceals defects such as cracks, chips, and discoloration, resulting in a smoother and more consistent finish.”

In May 2023, a building permit was issued to allow alterations to the Roxborough Dr. property, which included the construction of a single-storey rear addition and a detached garage in the rear yard. Months later, in September, a revised building permit was issued that showed new windows—the proposed front elevation included a note stating that the brick was to be painted.

According to the report for action, the painting of the masonry was only noted on the front elevation — Heritage Planning staff said they weren’t aware of this note when they cleared the building permit. The permit drawings also reportedly didn’t include any references to the painting of masonry on the side elevations.

“Following a site visit Heritage Planning staff noticed that the painting of the west façade of the house…had commenced. The owners were advised to cease this work and seek the required approvals under Section 42 of the Ontario Heritage Act,” the report for action stated. For this reason, the City Planning division is recommending that Council reject the application for alterations (including the painting) to the home.

City Hall Watcher reports that the couple is working with former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff Amir Remtulla to lobby on their behalf.

According to the City of Toronto lobbyist registry, Remtulla is seeking approvals or permissions for development plans related to the property, with a proposed timeline from May 13, 2024, to May 13, 2025. The registry shows that Remtulla has communicated with various staff or Council members from Councillor Dianne Saxe’s office through video calls, phone calls, and emails about the issue.

The issue will go before City Council later this month. If the application is refused, Virtue and Rielly can appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

But according to the report for action, if the couple appeals, the City Planning division is recommending  that “City Council direct the City Solicitor and the appropriate City staff to attend the Ontario Land Tribunal hearing to oppose the appeal.”

Rielly and Virtue recently made headlines recently after announcing their pregnancy in the cutest way ever.

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