What's in a Name? The Leslieville Lofts Saga

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my views on names, which is that they matter.  The big names behind the Leslieville Lofts project, Lamb Development Corp and Hyde Park Homes, recently learned the lesson in a rather expensive way.

After losing a zoning battle with the city, the National Post reports that Brad Lamb intends to replace the scrapped lofts project (which was 50% pre-sold) with a townhouse project to fit 'neighbourhood' zoning requirements which permit low-rise buildings only.  The new project will not bear the name 'Leslieville,' in response to the spirited protest made by residents of Riverdale, the actual neighbourhood in which the Leslieville Lofts project was to be located.  (Locals in South Riverdale are engaged in their own re-branding of the area as 'Riverside'.)

Was the fuss warranted?  Shakespeare famously suggested that a rose's essential characteristics transcend its nomenclature.  Surely the envied lights of Riverdale can't be dimmed by association with her less established cousin? 

But regardless of where we live, we are often irritated by sloppy, lazy or dishonest labeling.  As George Orwell powerfully illustrated, the manipulation of the English language results in more than never-ending threads in the  grammarian's chat room.  Mislabeling, double speak and euphemisms obscure history, acquired knowledge and other facts we rely on to make sound decisions.  In the real estate industry, it adds to consumer discomfort and distrust.

Blurring boundaries has resulted in a costly lesson for these Toronto developers.  Insiders estimate that Lamb and his associates have lost up to one million in the Leslieville Lofts misadventure.

Urmi Desai is the editor of the Move Smartly blog.

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