Residents of 650 Parliament start moving back into their units this week

After more than a year and a half, tenants at 650 Parliament will start moving back into their units this week after being displaced due to a fire in August 2018.

Nearly 1,500 residents were displaced in August 2018 when flames tore through the building

Some tenants finally moved back into their rental units at 650 Parliament St. on Monday, more than a year after a fire at the building forced them and hundreds of others out. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

The tenants of 650 Parliament Street have been waiting for this day for a long time.

Starting Monday, residents will begin moving back into two floors of the high-rise after being displaced for more than a year and a half. 

Nearly 1,500 residents had to vacate the building back in August 2018 when a major electrical failure caused a fire that ripped through the building. Their move-in date has been pushed back before, but a spokesperson for Wellesley Parliament Square — the company that owns the building — says it's officially safe for re-occupancy. 

The area's city councillor, Kristyn Wong-Tam, says there's a feeling of excitement from many of the tenants she's spoken with, but there's also uncertainty about what their units will look like.

Dozens of Toronto firefighters were called to the Parliament Street high-rise on August 21, 2018. The fire destroyed the building's electrical, mechanical, plumbing and life safety systems. (Robert Krbavac/CBC)

"The tenants I've spoken to are quite concerned because all their contents had to be physically removed from the apartment while it was under renovation," she said.

"It's been a long time coming; many of them have been living outside of their suitcases and travel bags just waiting to go home," Wong-Tam told CBC Toronto.

"I know for many they've incurred debt just by way of not being home."

Firefighters say the fire was one of the biggest and most complex the city has seen in years. Flames ripped through every single floor of the 22-storey apartment building.

The building's property management company said back in January the high-rise has been rebuilt  from the inside out, costing more than $60 million.  

Danny Roth, spokesperson for Wellesley Parliament Square, says management has worked hard to ensure the process is be safe and orderly.

"We have permits that are required, every indication is that we are fully ready to reoccupy with all the approvals necessary," he said.

"There's still some work ongoing in the lower floors, which is part of the reason why it's a staged re-occupancy but certainly the penthouse and 22nd floor reoccupying [this week] will come back to complete units."

Roth says tenants have been booking their preferred move-in slots through the management's response centre throughout the week.

"We have set up a protocol that will see the building move in two floors at a time over approximately 10 weeks."


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