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Twin towers for King and Dufferin

A few years ago, Lifetime Development asked Core Architects to do “a little design” for a property it owned at 1221 King Street West, at Dufferin. One of the key intersections in that part of town, the corner is now a mishmash, with fast food outlets in some unremarkable buildings, as well as a bank in a heritage building that Lifetime’s property wraps around.
 
But when Lifetime acquired 1182 King Street West, diagonally across from their first property, Core Architects had a unique opportunity to more dramatically reimagine the corner. The firm came up with a design for twin buildings, one 19 storeys, one 21 storeys, that will provide a unified look at the intersection. Each of the two modern high-rises will have two storeys of retail providing a base for a six-storey podium of classic brick anchoring a mostly glass tower. “There will be a generous retail height that will attract some good tenants, not these little ma and pa shops,” says Charles Gane, Core’s principal in charge of the project.
 
The trick has been avoiding making the two-property project too matchy-matchy.
 
“I still have to solve that,” says Gane. “The two faces will have to speak to each other, one looking on Dufferin, one looking on King, with the long balcony faces. There will be a formal vocabulary so people will know they were built at the same time. Right now I think the northern building is the most evolved building, so there will be an evolutionary change in the design for the southern building.”
 
The project will take advantage of economies of scale, with both buildings going up at roughly the same time. Gane says more detailed designs will be submitted in the next three months. That would mean rezoning and the accompanying community meetings taking place over the next six months to a year.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Charles Gane

New Downsview campus opens whole new world for Centennial College aerospace students

Centennial College’s new Downsview Park Aerospace Campus, slated to begin construction this fall, has big shoes to fill.
 
The campus will provide aerospace training for up to 900 students at a time in a 130,000-square-foot space that’s the former home of the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd., a storied company founded in 1929 that built planes for the Second World War. The massive building also hosted the Canadian Air and Space Museum from 1997 to 2011 and was slated for demolition just four years ago.
 
Instead, it will be renovated into a teaching facility and innovation hub that will be Centennial’s fifth campus, a project expected to cost $55.4 million and create new partnerships between Centennial, other academic institutions like the University of Toronto, and the private sector.
 
The design is by MJMA, the architecture firm behind the Regent Park Aquatics Centre and Centennial’s own Ashtonbee Campus Library and Student Hub. While most of the building’s exterior will be preserved, maintaining the ample natural light, the interior will accommodate larger aircraft than the original builders could have imagined. The area where 7,000 employees used to work at the main assembly line will become the main foyer.
 
“The spirit is intact and will remain the same,” says Andrew Petrou, director of strategic initiatives and external relations at Centennial and executive director of the Downsview Aerospace Cluster for Innovation and Research (DAIR). “The design pays homage to the history of what’s come out of that building.”
 
Adjacent to the Downsview Airport and close to Bombardier’s Downsview plant and Defence Research and Development Canada, students in the aviation program, currently based in Scarborough, will have unprecedented access to the aviation sector.
 
 “It’s a real game changer,” says Petrou. “Students can look at the latest technology in seconds.”
 
The college also has plans for outreach to the local community, and to build bridges between small and medium sized businesses and the academic community that will inhabit the campus. The result, Petrou hopes, will be a more vital aerospace ecosystem that will keep Canada at the top of its game.
 
“Canada’s currently fifth in the world, but other countries have their eye on our spot,” says Petrou.
 
The campus is slated to open by fall 2017.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Andrew Petrou

Finalizing the redesign of Riverdale Park East playground

Although the green space around the Don Valley can seem unlimited, the space landscape architects DTAH has had to work with was pretty tight.
 
The plan for the revitalization of Riverdale Park East’s north-east quadrant off Broadview, just south of the Danforth, called for an artificial ice rink, a playground that would provide physical activity for kids aged nine to 12 and a pleasure skating trail, all squeezed into a space bordered by the outdoor Riverdale Pool, an off-leash dog park and a steep slope.
 
Rather than dropping some of the proposed programming, DTAH came up with an elevated spine with the rink as a hub for activities. The elevation itself would provide some of the challenge for the kids would be going to the park for—hiking uphill for a long slide down. Raising the elevation of the playground also makes it more visible.
 
“One of the challenges was the piecemeal objects in the site,” says Bryce Miranda, a principal at DTAH. “The landscape spine will unify many of the elements.” Following a public survey this month, DTAH is coming up with a detailed design that can be put out for tender for construction this fall, hopefully with a summer 2016 completion.
 
Providing better accessibility was also a priority. Right now access is down steep stairs at Broadview and Montcrest Boulevard. Improving the roadway to the pool was one possibility. Instead, they decided to create a new entrance opposite Tennis Crescent, which is also at a TTC stop. Miranda says the additional entrance will improve the feeling of safety. “The more entrances to the park, the better.”
 
The fence around the pool is non-negotiable, but a buffer of trees along its west side, facing the new playground spine, should make it less forboding.
 
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Bryce Miranda

Ryerson City Building Institute launches database of civil society organizations

A new database of organizations devoted to city building across the GTA and Hamilton aims to build capacity and cooperation among groups working on civil society issues in the region.

Launched last week, along with the first annual report on The State of City Building in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton City Region, the initial database contains listings for about 150 organizations ranging from Artscape and the Diversity Institute to the Toronto Environment Alliance and the Ontario Health Coalition. Rather than service providers, developers or government agencies, the database includes organizations that focus on public policy.

“We were quite careful to think of where we fit. We didn’t want to build a substitute for the Yellow Pages or a professional services directory. Those have been done well enough by other places,” says Tanzeel Merchant, executive director of the Ryerson City Building Institute, which is spearheading the project. Organizations can input the own listing, wiki-style, which is then reviewed by the institute. Merchant expects the database to grow to about 300 or 400 listings within a year. Toronto listings tend to dominate now, so they’ll be reaching out to boost listings in cities across the GTA and in Hamilton.

The database won’t go as far as providing a platform for organizations to communicate with each other directly, but will allow the participants and other researchers to easily see who’s doing what so they can follow up on their own.

“One of the things that’s surprised me is the exponential increase over the last 20 years in the number of organizations involved in city building. What it shows is a very clear intervention by individuals, and sometimes government, to find ways other than big government to influence change,” says Merchant. “More and more of the policy conversations and the change-making conversations are happening in other fora besides the legislature and cabinet.”

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Tanzeel Merchant

Latest Curated Properties venture conjures the north... south of Queen

For its latest project, developer Curated Properties didn’t look to the city for ideas; it looked to the wilderness.

“What inspired me was—right now I’m in Muskoka at my cottage, and I wanted to bring a modern interpretation of Up North Canadiana to the city. Sometimes you see all these projects and they call them The London or the Malibu or The San Francisco. Nobody’s really praising what we have here in Canada, whether it’s wood, stone or metal or the work of Canadian artisans,” says Adam Ochshorn, one of the two principals behind the boutique home builder.

Modern cottage finishes aside, Cabin at 45 Dovercourt, a short hop from the West Queen West entertainment district, fits well into Curated’s portfolio of projects. With 25 two-storey units in a six-storey midrise, the target is home buyers who want a distinctive HQ that has a homier feel than a high rise. The company’s locations, often infill sites, are usually close to, but not on, main streets. “Our buyers don’t want to be right in the party.”

Cabin has what Ochshorn calls an “outdoor connection space” accessible to the home owners on the ground floor, landscaped with tall grasses and ferns, and good-sized decks for the other units. No space for tall pines, unfortunately.

“I think the timing is right. I haven’t seen any other projects in the city like this one,” says Ochshorn.

The project contributes to the densification of south Dovercourt. Right next door is the 13-storey Orenda building on the former site of Dufflet Pastries. The much-debated Queen West Triangle buildings are just up Sudbury.

Curated already has another nearby project, a 12-unit renovation/expansion at 455 Dovercourt. Did Ochshorn take lessons from 455 to 45?

“Yes and no. When you have a project that sells out, you want to take your successes with you, but you don’t want to repeat yourself either,” he says.

The sales centre opens October 15, with construction taking place in 2016.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Adam Ochshorn

ZAS takes a multi-use design vision for Canoe Landing facility

When the team at ZAS Architects saw what was needed at Canoe Landing, they must have had a feeling of déjà vu.

With a City Place population of about 20,000 and growing, the city needed a structure that would provide a home for a Toronto District School Board school, a Toronto Catholic District School Board school, a community centre and a daycare for the booming vertical community. Consultation with residents suggested there would eventually be more kids raised there than you’d suspect considering the small size of most of the high-rise condos there. With little available real estate, all the partner facilities would benefit from shared spaces.

Flashback to more than 20 years ago. ZAS won the contract for the Humberwood Centre in Etobicoke near Finch and the 427. That project called for a Catholic school, a public school, a public library, a day nursery centre and a community rec centre, a mix which still succeeds at Humberwoods today. That experience gave ZAS the edge in winning the Canoe Landing contract.

“These type of projects represent a great opportunity to show that the sum of the whole is greater than the parts,” says ZAS principal Peter Duckworth-Pilkington. “We’re able to do more on the facility side than each of the partners could do by themselves. At Humberwood, we’ve got gyms that can be shared between the community centres and the schools. We’ve got senior groups that do cooking as part of a day program, but the kitchen is available to the school. So there’s a great intergenerational connection that can happen when you have these groups working together.”

“In our approach to architecture, we’re almost like set designers. We create the stage and the actors come on and bring it to life.”

School design requires safety consideration, so it’s a matter of designing spaces that can be supervised and can readily separate school use from public use. Technology will play a part in that. Because open space is so limited downtown, Duckworth-Pilkington says the building should feel like it’s part of the park; a green roof across the building will help with that.

One of the ways to prevent conflict is to have an operations working group as well as a design working group so the partners can create a plan for, say, how the building will be cleaned that will reflected in the actual design.

After a period of consultation into community needs, ZAS has started “taking pen to paper” to come up with a design by the end of the year to submit for multiple approvals. Construction would start in 2017 with opening in 2019.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source Peter Duckworth-Pilkington

Site plan for Scarborough bus garage gets unveiled

After years of debate, the TTC has filed for site plan approval for its new McNicoll bus garage near Steeles and Kennedy in Scarborough.

The $181-million facility will operate 24/7 and will have room for 250 buses, a traffic office, two service lines, an employee parking lot, a repair bay, bus cleaning facilities, a washing area, a body shop and other offices. About 50 per cent of building’s footprint will have a green roof and its energy use, stormwater retention and reuse, and waste management would meet the city’s green standards.

But the project, encompassing about 323,000 square feet, has ruffled a few feathers in its history, dating back to when the TTC started searching for a site in 2003. Over the last year, especially, the TTC received a barrage of complaints about the process and concerns about possible noise, dirt and other traffic and environmental impacts the garage might bring to the neighbourhood. Although the property is designated as heavy-industry employment lands, it is adjacent to the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church, which launched a petition against the garage, and close to other more publicly oriented commercial properties.

Last winter, the TTC argued that the garage would improve transit service in the area, create jobs and provide a new customer base for local retailers and restaurants. It has also altered the design since its original proposal, improving the perimeter landscaping.

The deadline for comment on the Environmental Project Report (EPR) was last month and is now in the hands of the provincial Ministry of the Environment.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: TTC, City of Toronto legal documents

Pan Am architecture here today, gone tomorrow

While Toronto’s HOV traffic lanes have attracted the most attention (and ire), they’re not the only temporary infrastructure the Pan/Parapan American Games are bring to Toronto this summer.

There’s the Athlete’s Village, which isn’t all that temporary since those units will eventually be condos and student residences, and CIBC Pan Am Park, which will scatter tents and other structures across Exhibition Place. But other venues not directly related to the Games are also springing up all over the city.

The Aboriginal Pavillion at Fort York’s Garrison Common will feature an Indigenous music and arts festival hosted by the 14 member ALP (Aboriginal Leadership Partners). One of the largest footprints of any Pan Am arts festival, the pavillion will also host sports events and food vendors.

Meanwhile, up in The Village, PrideHouse’s activities at The 519 and Barbara Hall Park will overflow onto the street during two weekends of the Games, with space for sporting activities and drinking (nice combination!) on Church Street.

But the brashest and most playful temporary structure will likely be the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation’s Celebration Zone at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. Designed by Hariri Pontarini and built by Tektoniks, a UK company founded by a Canadian, the two huge white inflatable arches on Queen’s Quay will host 38 days of arts and cultural programming. The larger of the two structures, about 50 feet high, can hold 1,400 people, while the smaller one, open on the front and looking out over the waterfront, can hold about 300 people. They’re made of a recyclable PVC textile and filled with Ontario air.

“It’s really going to dominate the landscape,” says Ronald Holgerson, president and CEO of OTMPC. “We’re really excited about it. We knew we wanted to create something that was complementary to the 2015 Games and also showcase artists early in their careers.

Holgerson describes the space as “a sponsorship free zone,” though it will showcase different regions of Ontario hoping to attract Pan Am visitors this summer—and beyond.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Ronald Holgerson

City votes on major development of historic King & Portland site

This week, city council considers amending bylaws for a development between King and Adelaide streets on Portland that would demolish and replace rental housing.

Allied REIT and RioCan, which jointly purchased a number of properties on the block for a reported $22 million in 2012 are combining them into a single 61,608-square-foot development that would contain a mixed-use office, retail and residential complex with approximately 400,000 square feet of gross floor space.

Prior to granting the zoning requested by the developers, the city is requiring a conservation plan for 499 and 505 Adelaide Street West, 1 and 11 Adelaide Place and the Parisian Laundry Building at 602-604 King Street West; a heritage easement; and an agreement to improve infrastructure. Benefits under Section 37 would total $350,000 spread among community services and facilities, streetscape improvements along Portland Street, rental housing in the ward and contributions toward the Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) capital fund for repairs.

The developer is also expected to replace existing eight existing rental units in two townhouses, as well as two other rental units that will be lost during construction, providing rental housing for as much as 20 years, 10 years of that affordable for some units. Six other rental units will be retained. Tenants would be entitled to relocation assistance.

“Though the owner has stated an intention to initially provide the residential units in the new apartment building as market rental housing, they also intend to seek condominium registration for that building,” states the staff report on the issue. “As a result, the owner preferred to secure the eight rental units in the four existing house-form buildings being retained, and did not wish to provide for any of them in the new residential building.”

The developers are proposing a 16-storey residential building fronting on Adelaide Street West and a 14-storey office building fronting on King Street West with retail uses at street level. The residential portion would include 116 residential units, while the office office building would have a gross floor area 23,041 square metres.

“The fact that the site extends from Adelaide Street West through to King Street West creates an opportunity to provide mid-block pedestrian connections through the site,” states the community council staff report from May. “The application proposes that these at-grade pedestrian laneway connections might also be used as courtyards to enhance the use of this space by the public.”

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Toronto City Council; RioCan

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
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