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Waterfront Toronto presents feedback on Queens Quay revitalization

Since the grand reopening of Queens Quay back in June, Waterfront Toronto has been fine-tuning the transformed space to help people navigate it better. At a community meeting on October 14, they’ll give an update on what’s been happening and share a report on the substantial public feedback they’ve received so far.
The most common reaction has been that people really like the revitalization between Bay Street and HT0 Park which has bigger, nicer sidewalks, new trees and a designated space for the Martin Goodman Trail, which used to disappear as it passed south of downtown, leaving cyclists to fend their way on the means streets of Queens Quay.
Still, there have been some unpleasant encounters between pedestrians and cyclists using the new mixed-use lane, which runs at grade along and amidst the pedestrian spaces. The need for an educational YouTube video and a do’s and don’t’s slideshow also suggest that Torontonians and visitors face a learning curve when it comes to all the painted lines, lights, signs and signals spelling out who goes where and when on Queens Quay. As well as listening to feedback, Waterfront Toronto has been doing intersection-by-intersection audits on how people are behaving on the street.
“This is really a new kind of space in Toronto. What we’ve been doing is just adjusting some of the regulatory systems and signals, the visual cues for the people on the street,” says Mira Shenker, communications manager at Waterfront Toronto. Over the last few months, trail speed limit signs have been posted, as well as “Watch for cyclists and pedestrians” and “Slow, watch for turning vehicles” signs.
Blue boxes painted on the Martin Goodman Trail, intended as a space for cyclists to stop at lighted intersections, turned out to be too subtle (and a different colour from the city’s green bicycle boxes; the revitalization plan was finalized before there was a standard bike-box colour, says Shenker). Since the opening, the blue boxes have had the words “Stop here on Red,” painted on them.
“That was a direct response to the very measured and constructive feedback we received from people simply wanting to know the purpose of the blue boxes,” says Shenker.
At this month’s meeting, there won’t be answers to concerns about the bottleneck at the bottom of Dan Leckie Way, where there’s a 60-metre gap in the Martin Goodman Trail, so signs tell cyclists to dismount when they find themselves on the sidewalk. That area was beyond the official boundaries of the revitalization project. A pedestrian WaveDeck is ultimately planned for that stretch of the route, which would free up the sidewalk for mixed use, but the project is currently unfunded.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Mira Shenker

Vacant Sherbourne lot gets art, tender loving care in advance of new apartment building

When rental apartment developer Oben Flats filed its application to redevelop the property at 307 Sherbourne, kitty-corner from Allan Gardens, the site had been vacant for more than a decade after its last occupant, a gas station, closed up shop.
So a couple of years for city approval and construction of a 13-storey residential rental apartment building with 94 dwelling units didn’t seem so long to wait. Yet Oben Flats decided it would animate the site in the meantime in order to forge connections with their future neighbours. Last week, working the PATCH public art project, the developer unveiled a mural that signals that the space will soon be put to better use. Danny Brown, an urban planner at Urban Strategies and a local resident, helped spearheaded the initiative after an earlier guerilla beautification of the site.
“We think of ourselves as a different developer. We didn’t want to just leave it empty like that,” says Max Koerner, project coordinator at Oben Flats. Partnering with the David Suzuki Foundation and Sustainable TO, the company is planning to have host facilities and activities as varied as a skating rink, pollinator garden or temporary market. Following feedback from the community, Koerner expects that a Halloween gathering and other small events could take place over the fall and winter before the space is greened up in the spring.
In condo-obsessed Toronto, new downtown rental buildings have been few and far between. Many high-rises apartment buildings built in the 1960s and ’70s are often seen as outdated and rundown. Oben Flats, which originated in Germany in 2007, is launching into the Toronto market with three rental projects, the first of which, in Leslieville, will open in 2016. (The company has already built six for-sale townhouses on Harbord Street.) The company has focused on eye-catching design and the demands of young Torontonians who may not be able to afford to buy, but still want modern digs.
“These so-called Millennials appear to be more interested in design and style,” says Koerner.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Max Koerner

Greenland Group starts construction on theatre district complex

When Mansoor Kazerouni began working on 355 King Street West, David Mirvish had applied to have the site, currently home to the historic Canadian Westinghouse Building, rezoned for redevelopment. When Mirvish sold the property, the executive vice president at Page + Steele/IBI Group Architects worked with Easton’s Group of Hotels and Remington Group to come up with an elegant design that integrated two towers (one 48 floors, the other 44) into a street-level podium that included the preservation of the six-storey heritage façade.

Then a year ago, the King Blue project was sold to Shanghai-based Greenland Group, the Chinese government company’s first foray into the Toronto market, which added “by Greenland” to the development’s name. The transition did not affect the original concept in any serious way. Theatre Museum Canada, promised by Mirvish back in 2012, is still there, as is the street level retail, shared courtyard, luxury condo (now with 910 units) and mid-sized hotel, though the hotel will now be run not by Easton’s but by Greenland’s hotel offshoot, Primus. With construction starting last week, the complex is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2018.

“If you were to stand back, squint your eyes and look at it, nothing has changed,” says Kazerouni.  

Still, the design has subtly evolved and the floor plans of the condo units in the north power have been redesigned. “The south building was largely sold when Greenland acquired the project. There wasn’t much that could be altered. For the north tower, we redesigned all the unit layouts based on their requirements,” he says. For the hotel, seven storeys with 122 rooms, Greenland brought in B+H Chil Architects, who Page + Steele will be collaborating with.

With about an acre to work with—a lot of which is now parking lot—it’s a tight construction site, especially considering the six-storey Westinghouse façade, particularly tall for a historic building in Toronto, which must be held in place to be maintained.

What’s Kazerouni most proud about with the project? The building’s contribution to the public realm, which includes the publically accessible courtyard which creates a pedestrian passageway between King and Mercer. “It’s about city building more than individual towers. I think this project will enhance the urban experience.”

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Mansoor Kazerouni


Sharon, Lois and Bram Playground getting an elephant and other improvements

One elephant will have to wait until spring to come out to play on a spider’s web, as work gets underway to make a Davisville playground worthy of its musical namesakes.
The space in June Rowlands Park at Davisville and Mount Pleasant was named the Sharon, Lois and Bram Playground last year in honour of the musical trio. Now a $300,000 revitalization will see new equipment, playful new names for amenities, a performance stage and an elephant sculpture (a nod to the group’s The Elephant Show from the 1980s) installed to create a more tangible connection to Sharon, Lois and Bram’s sensibility and music.
“We were deliberate about starting construction a week after Labour Day, because we didn’t want to interfere with the height of the season,” says Josh Matlow, councillor for Ward 22, St. Paul’s. The first phase of the project is new wayfinding signs, including renaming the natural ice rink the Skinnamarink after Sharon, Lois and Bram’s most ubiquitous earworm. Upcoming community consultations will determine what kind of new playground equipment the park will get, with installation expected to be completed by spring.
“What was originally proposed by staff just didn’t fit into the earthy character of the playground,” says Matlow.
Though group member Lois Lilienstein passed away last spring (a playground concert was her last performance), Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison have continued to be very involved in planning the park, which will have a stage where children can perform music. “They’ve attended every meeting,” says Matlow. A father himself, Matlow confesses that his own childhood was full of the trio’s music.
In other musical park news, Matlow is also hosting consultations this month on playground improvements at Glenn Gould Park, named after the famed Canadian pianist. “I expect there will be a musical component on the table for that project too,” he says.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Josh Matlow

Adi Development's Link2 brings an urban vibe to suburban Burlington

Burlington is not the first city—or perhaps even the 100th—that comes to mind when you think of contemporary design or urban density. That’s been changing slowly. Long seen as a bedroom community of housing loops sprawling between Oakville and Hamilton, Burlington is considered to be built out as far as it should go, especially considering how closely the city rubs against Ontario’s protected Greenbelt. But, in the last few years, the city has been working to urbanize its downtown core and increase residential density to make Burlington more walkable and amenable to transit.
This means that the timing’s been right for Burlington-based Adi Development Group to make a splash. When the group  launched in 2007, it brought a far more urban sensibility than the city was used to. But in 2015, Burlington is quickly catching up.
“The market has finally departed from the old sloped-roof, siding and brick stuff and is looking for new design-driven development,” says CEO Tariq Adi, who runs the business with brother Saud, who is COO.
With 143 units, their new Link2 Condominiums and Lofts project at Dundas West and Sutton breaks ground with a neighbourhood party this week. Named for the bridges that connect a series of six-storey buildings, the links allow the amenities to be centralized and also hide some of the driveways from view.
But more interesting is the way the project, designed by Toronto’s RAW Design, reimagines a pretty banal suburban corner as something of a hub. Though it’s next door to a cookie-cutter subdivision of single-family homes, Link2 makes a virtue of not only being close to Highway 407, but walking distance to a school, shopping (it will have its own commercial space at street level) and Bronte Creek Provincial Park. The three-acre property backs onto the protected green space, which required special consideration in design and construction.
“We had to create a buffer because it’s an environmentally protected zone,” says Adi. “We had to be careful with our lighting not to disturb the natural habitat that’s currently in the creek—birds, insects or even plant life. We had to work with conservation to create that point of demarcation.”
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Tariq Adi

Another Church Street parking lot slated for development

With Church Street’s parking lots heading toward extinction, it looks like Pride Toronto is going to have to find new places to party.
This month Church/Wood Residences Limited Partnership filed for a zoning by-law amendment for a 45-storey mixed use building at 411 Church, at the south-east corner of Church and Wood. The half-acre site is currently a parking lot that’s provided a home to Pride’s South stage for more than a decade. The building as proposed would have a seven-storey base, about the same height as Maple Leaf Gardens across the street, and 583 residential units in a point tower.
“The north and south faces of the building are lined with balconies while the east and west faces are devoid of any balcony expression,” states the planning report filed with the city. “The balconies have a saw tooth profile that alternates from floor to floor creating a honeycomb pattern on the north and south faces. Due to the shifting planes of the balcony faces, the dividers are sloped as they connect between two levels and help complete the architectural expression.”
Pride has two other parking lots where it holds festival events: The parking lot at 15 Wellesley Street East, which is also being considered for redevelopment, and the parking lot at 514 Church Street, which came under new management this summer.
Further south, the parking lot at 412 Church Street, next to what used to be The Barn nightclub, now the Marquis of Granby, is slated for a 32-storey, privately run, student residence building with retail at grade. That building would have a five-storey base with commercial property, with a 27-storey tower with 119 units providing housing for 532 students. In May, City Council voted to oppose this project, which is now before the Ontario Municipal Board. The motion stated the proposal doesn’t conform to the Planning Act or the City of Toronto Official Plan and “represents over-development of the site.”
Construction of a 45-storey condo at 70 and 72 Carlton will eliminate the small private parking lot adjacent to 411 Church, while construction is underway at 365 Church Street as the former parking lot there is turned into a 31-storey condo with 360 residential units.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source, Mark Chlon, Senior Planner

Rental replacements for Kingsway condo project could be located just down the street

The developer behind a luxury condo and townhouse development on The Kingsway may be allowed to build the replacement rental units it’s required to provide in another location.
North Drive Investments Inc. has proposed an eight-storey building with 30 condos and five street-level townhouses on a triangular piece of property at 2800 Bloor St. W., marketing the project as 4 The Kingsway (though that address currently doesn’t exist). The building, designed by architect Richard Wengle, would require the demolition of an existing building that has 10 rental units, all currently vacant.
“We want to be sure we replace the units that are being demolished,” says city planner Greg Hobson-Garcia.
Typically, the city would require those rental units to be built on the same site where they were lost. But heading into an October hearing at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), the city adopted a motion that would permit North Drive to provide those rental units further east, in another residential and commercial project North Drive has proposed for 2114 Bloor St. W. This kind of arrangement is unusual because it creates uncertainty around whether the rental units actually get built and are in the vicinity of the lost units. To set the city’s mind at ease, North Drive has submitted a Letter of Credit worth $1.5 million to secure the provision of the rental replacement units.
The development at 2114 Bloor St. W. is further dependant on the developer acquiring a small triangular piece of city land. City Council voted to support that deal and direct “that arrangements satisfactory to the City” are made for the owner to acquire the property. That 2114 Bloor St. W. proposal, for a 10-storey mixed-use building comprised of 110 residential dwelling units and street-level commercial property, has attracted the ire of some local residents.
The city also voted that the developer make Section 37 contributions of $200,000 and meet other design requirements in order for the 2800 Bloor St. W. project to proceed.
To speed things up, the OMB agreed in a July 29 decision to administer the two properties together during the hearing process.
Further complicating matters is that back in 2010, the city had passed a bylaw to let the previous property owner build an upscale seniors home on the site. That bylaw, which still dictates what can be done with the property, required that only three replacement rental units be built, though the city has argued that option was tied specifically to the seniors home proposal.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Greg Hobson-Garcia

Robertson Davies Park to get facelift from new next door neighbour

Robertson Davies Park, named after the internationally known author of Fifth Business, will get a revitalization as part of a new condo project from Brandy Lane Homes.
Described by The Globe and Mail as “non-descript expanse of grass bordered by train tracks” when it was named after the novelist in 2007, the park is right around the corner from the Oakland condo where Davies lived for 15 years. About a year ago, when Brandy Lane got involved with the project, at Avenue and Cottingham, president and CEO David Hirsh knew he wanted there to be a strong relationship between the nine-storey building and the park.
“With urban life having such a lack of green space, we thought that doing some park improvements would be very helpful to the neighbourhood and our residents. That’s part of our development agreement with the city,” says Hirsh. “Having the building ground itself in green we thought would be a beautiful thing.” The plan includes more trees, walkways and benches for the park. An earlier (and taller) proposal for the site, which went before the city back in 2011, upset some neighbours who feared they’d lose trees during construction.
The building itself, named The Davies after the park, will have 36 residences and eight penthouses. Designed by Daniel Cowling at SMV Architects, the building is intended to be iconic, yet fit comfortably into an established neighbourhood. A stone façade tracing undulating balconies, which have wood-grain on the undersides, is intended to conjure the tony style of Forest Hill and nearby Upper Canada College.
“It was really important for it to have a real sense of presence, place and a sense of arrival. We didn’t go for the typical glass building which has become a bit too prevalent in the city as far as I’m concerned,” says Hirsch.
The sales office opened early this summer, with construction expected to begin this time next year.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: David Hirsh

RAW Designís whimsical Parapan sculptures deliver time-limited fun

Not every structure has to last forever to provide citizens with delight.
In January, Toronto’s RAW Design hosted a competition (which we wrote about in February) to transform five lifeguard stations in Beaches Park into playful temporary shelters from the winter wind and cold, luring out Torontonians who would have otherwise stayed inside waiting for spring to come. The project was inspired by Winnipeg’s annual Warming Huts competition, and caught the attention of Yvonne Koscielak, the City of Mississauga’s public art coordinator, who was looking for a project to celebrate the Parapan Am Games.
The resulting collaboration, a temporary public art installation called Art of Sport: Fitness Follies, opened last week on the Mississauga waterfront and will close—likely—in just six weeks. The three brightly coloured pieces, called Synchronicity, Velocity and Colosseum, are “designed to engage the body in a different way, provoking participants to test their balance, agility and perception.” In Colosseum, for example, kids can weave around or climb on a circular field of wooden poles of different heights. A platform in the middle is meant to evoke a medal ceremony podium.
“It’s a fun thing to design because it’s ephemeral, not weighty. You don’t have to worry about it hanging around for a long time, which is not to say we don’t take it seriously,” says Roland Rom Colthoff, founder of RAW. “It takes us five years to do a building. This took us five months. The immediate impact and the pleasure of creation and seeing people use it right away is great for us.”
Although the location in Lakeside Park, at the bottom of Southdown Road on Mississauga’s waterfront trail, seems remote, it can be a busy, well-used recreational space.
“At the opening we saw people using it exactly how we thought they would be, climbing all over the telephone poles, sliding and running up and down Velocity and hopping from post to post on Colosseum,” says  Rom Colthoff.
At least two of the pieces are tough enough to find a permanent home somewhere, he says, when the six weeks are up.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Roland Rom Colthoff

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

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
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