Margaret Atwood is really mad about some condos being built near her house

Margaret Atwood is really mad about some condos being built near her house

A rendering of the proposed condo building at 321 Davenport

Alterra Developments wants to build an eight-storey, 16-unit condo mid-rise on Davenport Road, on the northern edge of the Annex. It’s normal for neighbours to be perturbed by new buildings in their backyards, but in this case the issue is a bit more complex: one of the neighbours happens to be Margaret Atwood, and she is pissed.

Atwood and her husband, Graeme Gibson, both wrote strongly worded letters to the city objecting to the development proposal on the grounds that it would disrupt the neighbourhood and kill trees. So did Loblaw CEO Galen Weston, who owns a home nearby with his wife, Alexandra. Retail heiress Cleophee Eaton, who also lives in the area, chimed in as well. Of all these high-powered condo opponents, though, only Atwood has an active social media presence. Last night, she became the target of a Twitter pile-on, as people accused her of being out of touch with Toronto’s new housing reality, where condos are the norm and Annex houses are reserved for the elite few. Here’s how it all went down.

Atwood didn’t respond well to being called an oppressor:

Nor was she going to let anyone accuse her of being a wealthy fat cat. (The target of this tweet had a pretty good comeback.)

For all her conviction, Atwood didn’t seem to be that well versed in the planning process. The city amends its zoning bylaws constantly. Virtually every new development taller than a few storeys requires some form of zoning review. And the city’s report says the building on Davenport will only impact six privately owned trees:

She suggested her feelings on the matter might have been different if the development proposal had included some low-cost housing:

It’s debatable whether anyone who owns land in the Annex could be considered “un-rich” at this point, but Atwood isn’t having it:

Things got emotional:

And then they got dramatic:

And then they got generational:

And make what you will of this: