Tessa Virtue and Morgan Rielly

Tessa Virtue and Morgan Rielly still aren’t allowed to paint their Rosedale home

An application for Tessa Virtue and Morgan Rielly to paint their Rosedale Heritage home was considered by the Toronto and East York Community Council Tuesday afternoon, but council members ultimately decided to forward the item to City Council to be debated at the end of the month.

Rielly, a defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Virtue, a former Olympic ice dancer, have been in headlines in recent weeks after requesting to use a limewash white paint on the masonry along both sides of their two-storey Edwardian-era house on Roxborough Drive, in effort to “address the unsightly discoloration” variations in the colour, texture, and conditions resulting from mismatched bricks, repairs, and patches. In their application, the couple also stated that this would “elevate the House’s curb appeal”.

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.

In May 2023, a building permit was issued to allow alterations to the property, which included the construction of a single-storey rear addition and a detached garage in the rear yard. However, in September 2023, 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 an April 2024 report for action by Toronto’s Acting Senior Manager, Heritage Planning, Urban Design, City Planning, 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 Building Permit drawings did not include any references to the painting of masonry on the side elevations,” the report states. “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”.

According to reports, Rodney Gill, who is acting as Virtue and Rielly’s lawyer, noted that “the intention throughout was to paint the entirety of the home,” but as a gesture of good faith, Virtue and Rielly decided not to paint further so that they could go through this process and get permission.

Last week, City Hall Watcher reported 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.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, a staff member from Heritage Planning Toronto admitted that they mistakenly approved any painting of the home and that staff did not have “delegated authority” to clear that.

The item was forwarded to City Council without recommendations, and will be considered by City Council on June 26.

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