Researchers believe Woodfield building from London's very beginnings

It just might be a case of history hiding in plain sight.

Researchers believe they have re-discovered a building from London's very beginnings.

It comes as a proposal to build a low-rise apartment building in Woodfield has neighours in a race against time to confirm their theory.

They believe a lost piece of the British barracks that once stood in Victoria Park may be hidden beneath vinyl siding.

Gill Warren is Heritage Chair of the Woodfield Community Association, “The British had hundreds of soldiers here, poured lots of money into building these buildings. It was an integral part of the defence strategy for Upper Canada.”

City records show the building arrived on the site in 1874.  A newspaper article from the time says the former barracks buildings were sold off that same year and moved to sites across the city.

Measurements show the footings of the jail building are about the same size as the front section of the duplex at 467-469 Dufferin Avenue, near Maitland Street.

Heritage advocates were alarmed to see a rezoning sign appear on the property this week.

The owner wants to build a three storey apartment building that would feature the city's first micro-suites, 12 compact living spaces of less than 450 square feet each.

City staff members say they are not drawing any conclusions about the site’s history yet.

Michael Tomazincic is a city planner, “The building probably predates 1874 and was moved to the site at that time, so that is a grave concern that we have to look at as a part of this overall application.”

Ultimately, they say, proving or disproving a link to the barracks requires a comparison to the jail building's original measurements.

In the meantime, the heritage community wants any discussion of rezoning the site put on hold.

It’s anticipated the rezoning application will be discussed at City Hall this fall.