TORONTO (Diya TV) — In an affluent midtown Toronto neighborhood, a couple is pushing to remove the heritage designation from their century-old home, alleging that the original owner held racist views.

Dr. Arnold Mahesan, a fertility specialist originally from Sri Lanka, and his wife, Roxanne Earle, a former Real Housewives of Toronto actor whose family originates from Pakistan, bought the 9,000-square-foot house in 2022 for $5 million. The house, located in the Yonge and St. Clair area, was built in 1906 for Stapleton Pitt Caldecott, a former president of the Toronto Board of Trade known for his anti-immigration stance.

The couple claims they were unaware of the home’s heritage designation until last year when they sought permission to modify its steep stairway. They argue that the designation, approved hastily in 2018, failed to consider Caldecott’s controversial views.

Despite their objections, the Toronto Preservation Board rejected their request, prompting the couple to escalate the matter to city council, where a final decision is expected by the end of May.

While city staff maintain that the designation is primarily due to the home’s architectural significance, the couple insists that celebrating the legacy of a figure with racist beliefs is unacceptable.

The controversy has sparked broader discussions about how Toronto commemorates its history and whether associations with individuals holding objectionable views should influence heritage designations.