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Fate of historic Osgoode Hall trees in Toronto set to be determined

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The Ontario Superior Court of Justice is set to determine if the historic trees at Osgoode Hall in Toronto will live beyond this week.

The court granted the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) an interim injunction on Sunday that prevented Metrolinx from chopping down the mature trees for Ontario Line subway station construction.

But on Friday, the interim injunction will expire at midnight, unless the order is extended.

A virtual hearing is taking place on Thursday afternoon in the hope of extending the current temporary pause on tree removal until Toronto City Council can consider an Ontario Heritage Act application.

“Heritage is a holistic public good that cannot be understood in a piecemeal way: what Metrolinx does in its parcel of the Osgoode Hall site affects the integrity, aesthetics, and heritage character of the entire site,” LSO’s application reads.

The court is considering extending the hearing into Friday morning with a decision unlikely to be reached on Thursday, leaving mere hours before the midnight deadline. 

The transit agency began cutting down trees on Saturday morning before a judge could hear the injunction application launched to prevent their clearing. The following day, the temporary injunction was granted.

The transit agency has argued that they have met with impacted communities to discuss the project over a two year time period, which included 17 meetings with the LSO before their work began.

Metrolinx is planning to build the Ontario Line's Osgoode Station at University Avenue and Queen Street West. It will be one of the 15 stops in the planned 15.6-kilometre subway line, which will run from Exhibition Place to the Ontario Science Centre. 

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