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Historic trees at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall given ‘temporary reprieve’ by Metrolinx

Click to play video: 'Metrolinx planning to chop down 5 historic Osgoode Hall trees in Toronto'
Metrolinx planning to chop down 5 historic Osgoode Hall trees in Toronto
RELATED (Nov. 22): Despite saying it would wait for the results of an independent review of controversial plans to build a subway station on the edge of a historic Toronto property, Metrolinx has announced it plans to chop down five centuries-old trees. The move faces fierce opposition. Matthew Bingley reports – Nov 22, 2022

Five historic trees growing in downtown Toronto will not be immediately torn down to construct a new subway station.

Trees on the grounds of Osgoode Hall, in the University Avenue and Queen Street area, were due to be removed by Metrolinx as part of its plans to construct the Ontario Line.

To allow for a station at the intersection, the provincial transit agency had said it would need to cut down the five historic trees.

After pushback from many, including Toronto Mayor John Tory, Metrolinx had agreed to have a third party weigh in on its plans. But then, expectedly, it reversed that decision around Nov. 22 and said plans would proceed to chop down the trees.

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Now, both the Law Society of Ontario — located at Osgoode Hall — and the provincial transit agency say the trees will be allowed to remain, at least temporarily.

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“Metrolinx has now agreed that this removal is not necessary to facilitate an archaeological assessment for the Ontario Line station Metrolinx proposes for the site,” the Law Society of Ontario said in a statement Tuesday.

In a statement sent to Global News, Metrolinx said it had found “an alternative method” to continue with construction.

How long the reprieve will last is unclear.

The law society said the future of its green space “remains uncertain,” describing the relief as “temporary.”

In its statement, Metrolinx also implied the latest development may not be permanent. It said it could “begin the archaeological work at the site for the future Osgoode Station before removing any trees.”

The transport agency did not respond to a question about the long-term future of the trees.

The Law Society of Ontario said it “will continue discussions to pursue all reasonable options to lessen or eliminate the impacts of Ontario Line development on Osgoode Hall and its grounds, while balancing the complex needs of Toronto and the region.”

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