Ontario Independent

Thursday, June 30, 2022

The owner of a Toronto property was asked to remove the Ukrainian flag from the window

The owner of a Toronto condo was instructed to remove the Ukrainian flag from the window.

Key Takeaways:

  • The property management company in charge of the building’s operations asked her to take down a Ukrainian flag from her unit window.
  • She described calling Hreidin and explaining the situation before erasing the display as “one of the most horrifying things” she’d ever had to do.

According to a Toronto condo owner, the property management business that supervises operations at the building requested her to remove a Ukrainian flag from her unit window.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Anastasia Pioro, who is of Ukrainian ancestry and has family in Ukraine, said that the flag and other support signals for the war-torn nation have been hanging from her third-floor apartment window without issue.

However, she said she received a phone call from the building’s superintendent on Saturday, requesting her to take down the flag because of complaints from other tenants and the risk of vandalism.

She declined, and she was told she violated a construction bylaw. The property management firm informed Pioro that she would receive an official notice of violation.

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“So I asked him, ‘Who’s complaining and why?’ “I’m not sure what’s going on,” Pioro told CTV News Toronto. “How would you think if all the Russians in the building raised their flag?” he said.

“No window, seeable from the outside, shall have a window coating that is anything other than white or off-white,” according to a copy of the bylaw Pioro is accused of breaking, as seen by CTV News Toronto.

Pioro and her spouse, Mykyta Hreidin, a Ukrainian ex-pat presently working in Spain to register his mother and siblings as refugees, described the behavior as “disrespectful.”

Calling Hreidin as well as explaining the issue before deleting the display was “one of the most horrific things” she’d ever had to do, she said.

“It’s just folded and sitting on my chair right now,” Pioro explained. “I was compelled to remain silent.”

Pioro said her mother, who was born and raised in Soviet-era Ukraine, was particularly shaken by removing the flag.

“I’m 62 years old, and Russians have advised me to remain quiet my entire life,” she remarked. “I was advised that being Ukrainian should disgrace me,” Pioro said. “You are folding this flag is like asking this generation to remain silent,” she remarked.

The owner of a Toronto condo was instructed to remove the Ukrainian flag from the window.
The owner of a Toronto condo was instructed to remove the Ukrainian flag from the window. Image from Foreign Policy

EXPERTS SAY CONDO RULES AGAINST WINDOW DISPLAYS ARE ‘COMMON’

While the blue and yellow flag has been a rallying cry wherever Ukrainian origins can be located since Feb. 24, experts say it is typical for property management agencies to dictate what may and cannot be displayed in public-facing windows.

“It all depends on the condo corporation’s stated guidelines,” explained John Andrew, a private commercial real estate as well as urban planning consultant who also served as the director of Queen’s University’s Real Estate Roundtable.

“It’s typical to see rules against exhibiting objects on the outside of one’s apartment or in plain sight from the street. In most circumstances, this would include a flag. So it’s more likely to be about general rule than suppressing a political statement.”

Furthermore, according to Toronto real estate expert Bob Aaron, a property management company’s bylaws must be obeyed as part of the tenant or owner’s agreement to occupy the premises.

“It’s not a legal or unlawful issue.” “The question is whether the condo bylaws forbid attaching anything to the building’s exterior, which is usual,” Aaron explained.

According to Aaron, case law supports building management’s prohibition of specific products, and a tenant or owner must follow those laws or face further consequences.

Source: CTV news

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