November 2017

by John Q. Duffy

Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers celebrated completion of its newly rejuvenated building façade at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Thursday October 19th.

The new awning and façade project took more than a year to complete and cost over $100,000.

As part of the City’s Façade Improvement Program, the company received the City’s maximum allowable grant of $12,500 through the Riverside Business Improvement Area.

The company replaced windows, awnings, lighting and an art deco entranceway.

The company insures about one third of taxi drivers in the city, Baird Senior Vice President Jay Hare said.

As a major part of its commitment to serving this client base, the company has a street level dedicated office staffed by seven people who have 20-30 years experience with taxis, led by Nelson Castillo.

With convenient street parking right outside the dedicated office doors, the aim is to serve taxi clients within five to 15 minutes.

Hare said Baird believes it is the “only group where the drivers can deal directly with the insurance broker.”

Also as a part of the company commitment to reducing taxi-related accidents and injuries, it offers the voluntary DriveWise defensive driving course to taxi drivers who want to improve their driving performance and potentially reduce their insurance costs.

Baird MacGregor President and CEO Philomena Comerford enthused, “Make sure to check it out at night time when you are in the area to see the building aglow with our new accent lights. We hope you see us as a ‘bright spot’ in the community.”

Comerford said the 20,000 square foot two story brick and beam building at 825 Queen St was built in 1915 and features a 1950’s décor diner and a gym for staff use.

Previous businesses on the site included Superior Homes in the early 1920’s, Wear Right Textile Company form 1923 to 1925, Slazingers Sports Equipment form 1925 to 1943, Fairway Construction form 1978 to 1980 and Agincourt Productions (a VHS production company) from1983 to 1988 when Baird MacGregor bought the building.

Baird Macgregor was established in 1979, affiliated with Hargraft (established in 1874) providing a wide range of insurance products and services.

It is based, Comerford said, on “innovation, education and collaboration. We have become trusted advisors to the clients we serve.”

Comerford said “We are excited about making this investment in our building, and appreciate the contribution that the City of Toronto has made through its Façade Improvement Program. These grants are only provided to businesses which are part of a Business Improvement Area.”

Area City Councillor Paula Fletcher said “The City of Toronto is pleased to partner with our BIAs and local businesses through the Façade Improvement Program. This is another welcome change on vibrant, bustling Queen Street East.”


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Standing in front of the newly rejuvenated awning and façade installed by Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers and Hargraft Schofield LP for their building on Queen St. East are Toronto City Councillor Paula Fletcher (left), Baird MacGregor President and CEO Philomena Comerford and Mitch Korman, Chair of the Riverside Business Improvement Area.