IN 1994 STEPHEN OTTO CO-FOUNDED TORONTO’S ‘FRIENDS OF FORT YORK

<Photo – Stephen Otto, by Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail>. The ‘Friends’ were opposed to a massive condo development that was inappropriate for such an important historic site. Mr. Otto wanted to help save access to what he considered ‘The Birthplace of Toronto’. City council meanwhile was considering thousands of apartments to be built onto what’s known today as The Railway Lands. To the rescue came Stephen Otto and his Friends, who managed to bring forth breathing space for the Fort, allowing its garrison to be integrated socially and physically within the city. “What we like,” Mr. Otto told a reporter “is (giving) the Fort the visibility and dignity we think is appropriate. It’s a National Historic Site, and should be treated in more than a passing way.” As we can all see these days, the site has been saved and Fort York is very much at home here.

After a long battle with lymphoma Stephen Otto died at his Toronto home on April 22, 2018 at the age of 78. He was named to The Order of Canada. –  Written by John Lorinc – Special to the Globe and Mail, published April 28, 2018.

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