| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Development News

846 Articles | Page: | Show All

City seeks input for Complete Streets guidelines

If streets aren’t just for motorists, then who are they for? Pedestrians? Cyclists? Dog walkers? People in wheelchairs? Kids? Seniors? People hanging out on summer nights?
 
This month the city is currently seeking public input as it draws up its new Complete Streets guidelines, which would provide a more thoughtful process about how Toronto’s streets should look and feel. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, “complete streets” consider the many ways each street is used before making decisions on things like bike lanes, sidewalk cafés, street furniture, street trees, utilities, and stormwater management. More than 700 jurisdictions in Canada and the United States are adopting a complete streets approach.
 
“We’re trying to get feedback on the draft guiding principles and we’re trying to get an understanding from the public and stakeholders about what different types of streets Toronto has,” says Adam Popper, Complete Streets project manager. “The goal is to make streets safe and accessible for people of all ages and abilities, and to give people a range of transportation choices.”
 
Street types could range from arterial roads, where the main goal may be to move traffic efficiently, to neighbourhood streets where a variety of uses, including children playing, might need to be accommodated. “You’ll treat a street differently if it’s in an employment area versus a park versus a residential area versus downtown versus centres in other parts of the city,” says Popper.
 
The city has 10 drafted guiding principles divided under the categories streets for people, streets as places, streets for prosperity. “We want to check in with the broader public to see if we’re on the right track with those because they’ll be used to guide street decision-making.”
 
A June 18 open house will be followed by June 20 events in North York and Etobicoke and then an online survey. The guidelines are expected to be ready by the end of 2015.
 
Toronto has about 5,600 kilometres of streets, covering almost one quarter of Toronto’s total land area.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Adam Popper

Community hub proposal in the works for Bloor-Dufferin school lands

Last week city council voted to develop a proposal that would transform the school lands near the intersection of Bloor and Dufferin Streets into a community hub.
 
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) declared the lands surplus in 2013 and moved to sell off 7.3 acres of the 10.4 acre parcel of land, including Kent Senior Public School, Bloor Collegiate Institute, Alpha II Alternative School and assorted green spaces.
 
Last spring, the city expressed an interest in buying part of the land, but the Toronto Lands Corporation, which handles property no longer required by the TDSB, only wanted to sell the full 7.3-acre parcel. Things have changes since then. The provincial government has made the creation of community hubs a priority and the TDSB has expressed a new interest in exploring hub possibilities rather than selling the property outright.
 
“There would be significant benefits of moving forward with a community hub model on the Bloor-Dufferin School Lands site as there already have been discussions and interest on the part of the City, the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, the community and social service agencies,” states a motion by Councillor Ana Bailão, who represents Ward 18, where the property is located.
 
City council supported Bailão’s motion unanimously. The hub proposal is expected to go to council’s executive committee on September 21.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: City Council

New industrial incubator slated for Dufferin development

Toronto City Council has accepted a compromise from Markham-based SiteLine Group that would provide light industrial space in proposed condo development to make up for the demolition of a Dufferin Street building where more than 150 people currently work.
 
As Yonge Street wrote earlier this month, SiteLine plans to erect a large mixed-use complex at 390-444 Dufferin Street, where a low-rise industrial space now provides a home to small enterprises like the Akin Collective, the Brockton Collective, Canadian Salvage Timer and Design Republic. The city had originally rejected the proposal because it turns designated employment lands into mostly residential lands.
 
Facing an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing this week, SiteLine offered a compromise that would dedicate about 18,000 square feet of the development to light industrial uses, with a separate loading dock, elevators and HVAC in the north section of the complex. That’s roughly equivalent to the amount of employment space in the existing building. A portion of that space would be part of a city-run small-business incubator providing below-market rents, a new concept from the city’s Economic Development department. The original incubator offer was for 10 years. The remainder of the proposed two-building, three-tower development would be comprised of 369 residential units.
 
That offer raised the ire of some attendees at a community meeting earlier this month. Residents said they were losing more than they were gaining, and worried that just 10 years of an incubator would not be enough to jumpstart businesses in the area. So the city continued to negotiate with SiteLine. Late last week the two parties struck a deal that would increase the lifespan of the incubator to 25 years.
 
“We’re not happy about how it’s ended, but there is a bit of a consolation prize in this incubator and that the city’s Economic Development department is keen to proceed with that,” says Charles Campbell, a member of the Active 18 Community Association, which was granted party status at the OMB hearings.
 
Active 18 had wanted SiteLine to at least double the amount of space dedicated to industrial employment because it was changing the official designation of the property, and because many of the existing tenants may not survive the transition.
 
“It’s not going to be as affordable as the old warehouse space and it’s going to be of a different sort,” says Campbell. “It’s not going to be dirty, messy, smelly kinds of work. It’ll be for more high-tech kinds of things. We’re losing jobs that we liked, but you have to figure into that that the city has no real ability to stop the developer from tearing down the existing building.”
 
SiteLine Group president Josh Silber said good compromises leave everyone a little unhappy, but is generally pleased with the outcome.

"We're excited to be partnering with the city to pioneer an incubator space that will help startups in Toronto," says Silber.

The company is now looking at options that will help take the project to market. Silber says it's too early to say when demolition and construction will begin. "We've got a lot of work we need to get done."
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Charles Campbell, Josh Silber

Dufferin development challenges city to maintain employment lands

City council must decide this week whether it will demand more of a developer that wants to tear down a light industrial building on Dufferin Street to erect three mostly residential towers.
 
The development application for 430-444 Dufferin Street has been in play since 2011 and would see a high-rise complex built on Dufferin between the railway tracks and Alma Street. The current proposal from Markham’s SiteLine Group, for two eight-storey towers and one 12-storey tower providing a total of 369 residential units, is slated to go to the Ontario Municipal Board on June 15.
 
At issue is whether SiteLine’s promise to include about 60,000 square feet of light industrial space over multiple floors of the north tower adequately makes up for the loss of an equivalent amount of light industrial space in the existing single-storey building. More than 150 people currently work there at enterprises such as the Akin Collective, the Brockton Collective, Canadian Salvage Timer and Design Republic. The property is zoned as employment lands and the city has opposed the application so far because it worries that losing real estate zoned for light industry will hurt the city’s long-term prosperity.
 
As a compromise, SiteLine put forward a proposal this month that would dedicate about half of the north tower to light industrial uses, providing a separate elevator, loading dock and HVAC system to separate the workshop spaces from the residential spaces. But at a community meeting last week, tenants of the existing building expressed concerns that they’d be able to afford the space in the new building and whether they’d be able to wait out the construction period, which could be years.
 
The city has persuaded SiteLine to dedicate a percentage of the industrial space to a business incubator. It’s a new concept for Toronto—and perhaps even for Canada—that would provide below-market space and other supports to nurture small-scale manufacturers, artisans and artists in the building.
 
“We want residents to be able to create in their own neighbourhood,” said Nirvana Champion, economic development officer at the City of Toronto, who presented the incubator concept to the community.
 
But attendees at the meeting were skeptical about the level of commitment—and the length of commitment—the developer was prepared to make to the incubator.
 
“This needs to be in perpetuity or for a long time,” said Ward 18 Councillor Ana Bailão, who called the community meeting. “If we make this building successful, there might be a better chance of another building [in the same employment lands area] doing the same thing.”
 
Council will vote this week on whether to accept SiteLine’s current proposal, which includes the incubator. If it votes yes, the project is expected to move ahead as proposed. If council votes against the proposal that’s on the table, the OMB will grapple with the case. “Honestly, it could go either way,” says Bailão, “but I think the community really needs to benefit from this.”
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Sources: Ana Bailão, Nirvana Champion and Sarah Phipps

Has the city buried an underground solution for the Gardiner?

This week council considers two possible fates for the Gardiner Expressway east of Jarvis: removal at the long-term cost of $461 million or a so-called hybrid rebuild of the elevated roadway at a long-term cost of $919 million.
 
How did it come down to these two options? Toronto has debated what to do with the Gardiner since before it was built between 1955 and 1964. Back in the 1990s, it was the western section that was under more scrutiny and in 2000, the city seriously considered burying the section of the Gardiner between the Canadian National Exhibition grounds and Yonge Street. In 2006, it was estimated that it would have cost $1.5 billion to bury the whole thing—a bargain compared to the options council is now contemplating.
 
Michael Meschino, principal of Entuitive engineering firm, holds out hope that the city will eventually come around to the idea that going underground is the best option. In the last few weeks, he’s been trying to drum up support for a concept, a collaboration with Chicago-based architects Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, that came out of a 2010 design competition by Waterfront Toronto.
 
“We’re talking about what to do with the Gardiner east of Jarvis, but the Gardiner runs across the entire city and everything east of Dufferin Street is elevated, so when you make a decision east of Jarvis, you’re going to affect what you can do west of Jarvis, which runs right through the city core,” says Meschino.
 
Entuitive’s proposal would put the Gardiner into an underground tunnel east of Jarvis. Traffic would come out of the tunnel east of Cherry Street and onto a bridge across the Don River to connect with the Don Valley Parkway. Lakeshore Boulevard would be moved north, up against the rail lands. The benefits, as Meschino sees it, are clearing a large amount of new space for new waterfront development, as well as maintaining a direct connection between the Gardiner and the DVP.
 
If you keep an elevated Gardiner, Meschino says, “you’re going to develop parcels of land but you’re not really going to develop a community. What we want to do is push all that northward and push Lakeshore Boulevard northward to make one community.”
 
The plan works best on the assumption that the downtown section of the Gardiner would eventually be moved underground. Critics don’t like the fact that the Gardiner is elevated downtown, goes into a tunnel for just two kilometres and is then elevated again to cross the Don, which is one of the reasons the idea was rejected. The price tag, estimated in 2010 to be about $1.6 billion, also makes it a harder sell, though Meschino says the freeing up of a large amount of quality development land could be used to offset the cost.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Michael Meschino

Revitalized Queens Quay gets final touches

With two-way traffic on Queens Quay finally opened this week, the downtown section of Waterfront Toronto’s pet project is about to be unveiled.
 
The ground broke on the revitalization of Queens Quay back in 2012, creating a mess of construction and detours along the waterfront for the last couple of summers. But the dust is about to clear to reveal new streetcar tracks and relocated roadways, as well as new bike lanes and snazzy pedestrian walkways. On June 19, the city will celebrate the official reopening of the stretch of Queens Quay between Bay Street and Spadina Avenue.
 
“We did a site walk with one of the [stakeholder] committees last week and it was overwhelming positive, people are excited about getting this street opened up and seeing this vision materialize,” says Mira Shenker, communications manager at Waterfront Toronto.
 
A few small fixes won’t be complete until after the Pan/Parapan Am Games. Toronto Hydro still has to install power cables into underground ducts. Until then, about 20 of the new 56 signature streetlights on Queens Quay will be temporarily replaced by aluminum poles and overhead powerlines, and six event power stations for the use by the Waterfront Business Improvement Area for events will be temporarily covered with boxes. Additional trees will get planted when Toronto Hydro is finished its work.
 
There’s even more good news for cyclists. The Martin Goodman Trail from Yo-Yo Ma’s Toronto Music Garden to Stadium Road, where cyclists can continue onto the existing trail through Coronation Park, will be open by the end of June.

Going east from Bay Street, Shenker says the Martin Goodman Trail along Queens Quay to Parliament should be open by early July, connecting to the existing trail that continues eastward.
 
“We just want to make sure that all the work at all the intersections is complete before we open the trail to traffic,” she says. “We’re addressing the lack of signage and potentially even fencing to indicate that the MGT is closed (for safety reasons) between Lower Sherbourne and Parliament until then.”
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Mira Shenker

Traffic and density concerns at site of former World's Biggest Bookstore

At the community meeting over the redevelopment of the former home of the World’s Biggest Bookstore, locals expressed concern about more than the density and design of the proposed 35-storey building.
 
Lifetime Developments has applied to turn the prime location at 20 Edward Street, between Bay and Yonge, into a mixed-use building with a three-storey commercial base and one-storey mezzanine. The proposal, which includes 629 residential units, would require changes to height restrictions for the flight path for Sick Kids Hospital helipad. There are five loading spaces proposed with direct access from the laneway to the north, a laneway, says Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, that’s already in heavy use.
 
“There’s also concern about what kind of retail they will be attractive, whether it will be sensitive to the environment on Yonge Street,” says Wong-Tam.
 
Ward 27 has been hit with an avalanche of development applications over the past few years, particularly along the Yonge Street corridor. While much of the public debate has focused on building height and what the exteriors look like—sheer glass towers versus playful post-modern articulation—Wong-Tam worries that there hasn’t been enough focus on what the buildings are doing at street level, the impact on transportation and the impact of years of construction on neighbourhoods.
 
“The residents and business owners know that development is part of downtown life but they’re asking for better consideration of traffic movement, for complete streets and for opportunities to improve the public realm and urban conditions, including open spaces like parks and civic squares. That constantly comes up,” says Wong-Tam. “They’re also asking for more affordable housing. How is it we can add more and more density in the downtown core and not consider issues such as housing?”
 
Wong-Tam says the developers alone are not responsible for these frustrations. She says the planning process often doesn’t ask the right questions.

The site plan approval for 20 Edward Street is still under review.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Kristyn Wong-Tam

Matador Ballroom headed for potential heritage designation

As the owner of the Matador Ballroom on Dovercourt Road renovates the legendary location, Toronto City Council has adopted a couple of motions that throw wrinkles into what might happen at the property.
 
Last year owner Paul McCaughey told media he was planning to turn the former music venue, which he had bought in 2012, into a high-end event space. The property was built in 1915 and for decades was used as an assembly hall with residential space on the second floor. As the Matador Club starting in 1964, the venue hosted the likes of Johnny Cash, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. By the time the Matador closed in 2007, it was known as an after-hours club.
 
This spring city council voted to advise the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario that issuing a liquor licence for the Matador, “is not in the public interest having regard to the needs and wishes of the residents, and that the registrar should issue a Proposal to Review the liquor licence application,” reads the backgrounder on the motion brought forward by Ward 18 Councillor Ana Bailão. “Neighbouring residents and the local councillor’s office are concerned that the operation of a licenced entertainment facility, including, but not limited to a concert hall and special event facility with a capacity of 804 patrons will negatively impact neighbouring residents.”
 
Meanwhile, Bailão also successfully got a motion adopted to have the city move to designate the property as a heritage building.
 
“The building features a beautiful interior that was recently discovered as part of renovation work by the current owner,” states the backgrounder. “The local community is aware of these unique heritage characteristics and would like to ensure that the historical richness of this property is protected, regardless of future change of use and/or development,” states the motion.
 
The Director of Urban Design will evaluate the property for potential inclusion in the city’s Heritage Registrar and report back to the Preservation Board and Toronto and East York Community Council.
 
At one point, just after the Matador closed, the city considered expropriating the property, demolishing it and turning it into a parking lot.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: City Council

Construction set to begin at Kingston&Co

With demolition almost complete, construction is expected to start soon on the Kingston&Co condos in Scarborough.
 
The eight-storey, 160-unit development from TAS is designed by Teeple Architects, the firm behind the Sherbourne Common Pavilion, Pachter House and the new GO Pedestrian Bridge in Pickering.  With the city calling for more mid-rise developments on Toronto’s main avenues, the condo would add a modern mid-rise touch to an otherwise mixed bag of buildings along Kingston Road in the Upper Beaches. A 2010 report identified the area as a particularly tricky place to turn into a comfy neighbourhood.
 
“The current retail function is not in the form of main-street type retail but rather in the form of plazas, malls and freestanding buildings, which are primarily vehicle dependent,” states the report. “This is the most difficult Avenue portion to plan for with particular concern regarding phasing of the developments and the ability for the mixed-use developments to support retail.”
 
Kingston&Co, which recently won a BILD Award for best suite design, takes over the site of the former Alpine Hotel, which closed in 2011. Unlike so many new downtown project, the building also aims to be family friendly, with larger unit sizes.
 
“There’s a shift in sensibility where people are choosing to live in multi-unit style neighbourhoods,” Mazyar Mortazavi, President and CEO of TAS, told participants at a BILD experts symposium at University of Toronto’s Innis College earlier this month. “People want to live in a village and at the heart of it is a community.”
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: TAS, City of Toronto

Tippett Road regeneration plan steams ahead

The city is moving ahead with plans to reinvigorate an underloved neighbourhood close to the Wilson subway station.
 
The Tippett Road area, which runs from Allan Road to Wilson Heights Boulevard north of Wilson Avenue and from the Allan to Champlain Boulevard south of Wilson, is one of seven designated regeneration areas in the city. The plans would convert the area, about 12.6 hectares, from primarily employment lands to mixed use, including residential.
 
“Maybe it makes sense to make this little pocket, right at a subway station, a mixed-use area rather than employment, because there aren’t employment uses there right now,” says senior planner Cathy Ferguson.
 
The effort was in part triggered by two development applications to build several high-rise residential developments on Tippett Road. Several new residential buildings have already gone up or are under construction in the area. Last week City Council voted to direct staff to begin discussions with landowners about the impact of new development in time to report back for the June 18 Growth Management Committee meeting. Planning staff are also meeting with Affordable Housing staff to develop a program to deliver as many as 200 affordable rental and ownership homes to the community as part of any regeneration.
 
If Tippett Road becomes more residential, it would call for a layout for new streets, parks and open spaces, a transportation strategy, planning to ensure an appropriate mix of uses and appropriate density. Height limits are also a concern because of the proximity to Downsview Airport.
 
Build Toronto, which owns the TTC commuter parking lots on the west side of Tippett, would also be a player in the regeneration.
 
After staff report back from their flurry of meetings, the city will hold a public hearing on the proposals. Ferguson says the regeneration may take 15 to 25 years to come to fruition.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Cathie Ferguson

OMB hears settlement offer between city and Liberty Village developer

This week the Ontario Municipal Board will hear the details of a proposed settlement in a dispute over the development of a Liberty Village property that the city wants to designate as having special heritage value.
 
Kevric Real Estate Corporation wants to build a new eight-storey office building on Atlantic Avenue with retail and service commercial uses at grade. The existing five-storey office building (which spans addresses on Atlantic Avenue, Liberty Avenue, Hanna Avenue and Snooker Street) would be renovated for office uses, with retail and service commercial at the lower levels, while the existing boiler house on Liberty Street would be turned into a restaurant. Kevric originally proposed a new two-storey retail building at the corner of Hanna and Liberty, but has since offered to replace it with a POPS (Privately Owned Publicly-Accessible Spaces) as part of a compromise with the city.
 
The city says the development application includes a significant retail and restaurant component that does not conform to the Official Plan and has put forward an offer of settlement that would give the city a better say in how the property is redeveloped. Last month the city also filed notice to recognize the property at 40 Hanna as historically significant.
 
“The Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company Complex (1905, with additions in 1907, 1912 and 1913) is an early 20th century industrial complex comprised of three attached factory buildings and a separate boiler house with a smokestack… valued as an important example of early 20th century industrial architecture in Toronto that is particularly distinguished by its scale, the vintage painted signage, and the landmark brick smokestack on the boiler house,” states the notice. “The associative value of the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Factory is linked to its designers, particularly Henry Simpson, the versatile Toronto architect who received the commissions for the original factory (1905), the complementary addition (1907) and the detached boiler house and smokestack (1912) while completing other significant projects in the industrial area adjoining King and Dufferin (now Liberty Village).  The site is also associated with local architect J. L. Havill, who designed the large 1913 addition to the factory prior to his recruitment as the Imperial Oil Company's head designer.”
 
The property is already listed on the City of Toronto's Inventory of Heritage Properties, adopted by City Council on June 16, 2005. Kevric has already agreed to maintain the entire boiler house building with a glazed connection on two sides to the new eight-storey building, allowing for the boiler house to be viewed as a whole building.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: City Clerk’s Office

City rolling out cycling survey, new cycling routes

Slowly but surely, the city is making some progress on intensifying its cycling infrastructure.
 
This month city staff are expected to recommend that the separated cycle tracks on Richmond and Adelaide streets, installed last year, should be extended to Parliament, connecting them with the Sherbourne track that’s the main north-south route in the city’s downtown eastside. The Richmond and Adelaide tracks, still pilot projects, are two of the city’s most visible new routes, though they peter out when they hit the Financial District.
 
Further west, the Environmental Study Report for the extension of the West Toronto Railpath is expected soon, looking at how the path should be extended beyond its current southern terminus at Dundas West terminus to Queen and King streets. On the waterfront, the Queens Quay reconstruction will connect the Waterfront Trail across Toronto’s central waterfront area between Bathurst and Parliament streets.
 
Meanwhile, the city has launched a survey to help develop a new 10-year plan for Toronto’s cycling network.
 
“The survey lets Toronto residents provide input on the objectives and criteria for selecting the routes that will form the cycling network,” stated Councillor Jaye Robinson (Ward 25 Don Valley West), chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, in a news release this week.
 
The plan aims to connect gaps in the existing cycling network, expand the cycling network into new parts of the city and improve the quality of existing networks. The survey asks residents to rank priorities: create new routes or improve existing routes? Build bikeways that support practical trips like work commutes or build bikeways that support recreational cycling?
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Jaye Robinson

Temporary North St. Lawrence Market building nearing completion

The temporary North St. Lawrence Market will be open soon… south of the South St. Lawrence Market.
 
This month, workers are busy erecting a pre-fabricated steel-and-fabric building in the parking lot at 125 The Esplanade, that will be home to merchants and shoppers while the old market building is demolished and replaced.
 
Built in 1968 to replace a 1904 building, the existing single-storey building is no great beauty. The new $91-million building, designed by Adamson Associates Architects and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, will be five storeys at 120,000 square feet, and include provincial courts as well as a much fancier incarnation of the existing farmer’s market.
 
But that building is not expected to be complete until 2016. As well, an archeological dig will take place at the site between demolition and construction and may throw off the timeline.
 
Meanwhile, the temporary structure will be just 11,700 square feet and will include only the basics: an indoor water supply, washrooms, electricity, heating and air conditioning. Natasha Hinds Fitzsimmins, communications consultant with the City of Toronto says both the farmer’s and antiques market will move into the temporary building. The 40 participants of the market’s cart program, who sold jewelry and crafts, are not so lucky; the program is suspended until the new permanent building open.
 
The hours of operation will remain the same: Saturdays from 5am to 3pm and Sundays from 5am to 5pm. During the weekdays, the space will be available to rent for other functions.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Natasha Hinds Fitzsimmins

Province surveying land slated for new downtown courthouse

Last month’s Ontario budget contained another promise to build a new downtown courthouse that would consolidate as many as five locations into a single facility.
 
“The new facility will enable more effective and responsive delivery of justice services and increase access to social justice programs in the city,” states the budget document.
 
Brendan Crawley with the communications branch of the Ministry of the Attorney General told Yonge Street Media that the ministry and Infrastructure Ontario have “begun working with a consultant to conduct surveys, environmental assessments and soil testing on the site. At this point, decisions about which specific court locations will be included in the courthouse have not been made.”
 
The province is using Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) for the project which may give the contract to design, build, finance and maintain (DBFM) to a private firm, with the request for qualifications happening in summer 2016, followed by the selection of short-list bidders and a request for proposals. “While it’s too soon to give precise timelines, other similar Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) courthouses have taken five to seven years to build and become fully operational,” says Crawley.
 
One thing that’s pretty much certain is the location—a government-owned, 1.63-acre site bounded by Chestnut Street, Dundas Street West, Centre Avenue and Armoury Street. Currently a parking lot, it’s directly north of the Superior Court of Justice at 361 University Avenue. The judges, lawyers and other courthouse staff there will hardly have to adjust their commutes.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Brendan Crawley

John Street gets pedestrian-friendly summer facelift

John Street’s pedestrian zone opened for the summer this week.
 
Planters and seating areas will take up a lane of traffic on the east side of John between Queen and Adelaide streets until October 19, allowing passersby and the neighbourhood resto-bar patrons to hang out more comfortably along the strip. The one big difference from last year’s pilot project is that the zone now stops short of the corners of Richmond and Queen.
 
“One observation we had last year was to make it easier for cars to make the turn,” says Janice Solomon, executive director of the Entertainment District BIA, which is operating the zone at a cost of about $80,000.
 
Two students from OCAD University will work art magic on two Muskoka chairs, which will eventually be available for sitting on, while a third student will make art on the street’s surface. Although the main goal is to make for a pleasant pedestrian passage, the BIA is open to the idea of hosting events in the space. “We’d welcome conversations with cultural organizations that are interested in doing something, but we wouldn’t want people to feel squeezed,” says Solomon.
 
The temporary zone also warms people up for the long-term plan for John Street as a cultural corridor linking institutions like the Art Gallery of Ontario, north of Grange Park, TIFF Bell Lightbox on King and the Rogers Centre south of Wellington. The street would eventually get widened sidewalks and boulevards, a gentler curb from the sidewalk to the street, more greenery and more public art. One of the reasons the summer closure covers the two blocks it does, says Solomon, is that the sidewalk is particularly narrow there.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Janice Solomon
846 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts