The Church-Wellesley Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) with PMA Landscape Architects is developing a new Streetscape Master Plan for Church Street from Gloucester Street to Wood Street.
You are invited to an online public consultation on Thursday, Sept. 9. As well, there will be information sessions held at Barbara Hall Park on Saturday, Sept 11 and Saturday, Sept. 18 from 11 am to 1 pm.
This is your opportunity to see the draft streetscape plan and to provide feedback. PMA’s project team, BIA staff and City staff will be on hand to answer questions.
Where: Online via Zoom
When: Thursday, September 9th 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Register: RSVP to email@example.com by Friday September 3rd.
After the pandemic hiatus of 2020, Music in the Park returns to Barbara Hall Park for Summer 2021. Join us for the first of a series of weekend concerts scheduled for the rest of the summer in the Village’s green community common. Free-to-attend concerts will run every weekend -- on Saturdays and Sundays from 5 pm through 7 pm--featuring a variety of genres.
- by Peter Small
Heated debate has broken out over calls by the Village’s BIA to remove the statue of 19th-Century magistrate and one-time gay icon Alexander Wood over his connection to a residential school.
The Church-Wellesley Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) has written to Toronto Mayor John Tory demanding the immediate removal of Wood’s 2.5-metre bronze statue, located at the northwest corner of Alexander and Church streets.
By Peter Small
Ontario’s planning appeal tribunal has rejected a large development with a 36-storey highrise tower at the heart of the Church St. Village.
“The proposed 36-storey height does not ‘fit’ well so close to low-rise Church St.,” ruled a two-member panel of the Ontario Land Tribunal in a decision released June 8, 2021.
ONE Properties applied for amendments to the Toronto’s Official Plan to allow for the development, originally proposed as a 43-storey tower right at Church and Wellesley.
The developer revised and resubmitted its proposal three times, but the city rejected the revisions, citing concerns about height, setbacks, scale and shadows.
ONE Properties appealed to the tribunal, which held an eight-day video hearing in December 2020 for the development at 64-66 Wellesley St. E. and 552-570 Church St.
“This height so close to Church Street itself does not respect and reinforce the general physical character, pattern, scale, massing, setbacks of the area,” ruled Gillian Burton and Doug Colbourn, vice-chairs of the Ontario Land Tribunal (formerly the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal / Ontario Municipal Board).
Ward 13 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who represents the area, said she is ecstatic about the decision. “This is a big win for our local planning efforts in the Church Wellesley Village and the City of Toronto,” she said in a statement posted on her web site.
She called the victory extremely rare because the “overwhelming majority of all the high-rise condo developments in the village have been approved” by the tribunal’s predecessors.
“My position that the Church Wellesley Village is a special character area has been supported by both city planning and the community,” she said. “This neighbourhood is home to Toronto’s diverse 2SLGBTQ+ community. I have always believed that any new development in the village must conform to the existing character, heritage adjacencies, the low-rise scale of existing buildings and promote independently owned 2SLGBTQ+ businesses and cultural spaces in order to protect its future vitality.”
Connie Langille, chair of the Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association, called the ruling “the best news we have had in years.”
She said she is “looking forward to real community engagement from ONE Properties to create a development that actually represents the Village and not the preconceived idea of a developer.”
Working within the planning guidelines will ultimately bring a about a more fitting proposal, Langille added. She said the original work done to pass Official Plan Amendment 183 -- which provides a planning framework for the area -– and by all those who persevered shows the value of community engagement in the process.
Neither ONE Properties nor its lawyer immediately responded to requests for comment.
In its latest development proposal, filed in September 2020, ONE Properties, (formerly WAM Montez C & W Inc.) called for a 36- storey, 111.25-metre high mixed-use tower. The complex would contain 2,015 square metres of retail space and 433 dwelling units. A heritage-designated apartment building at 64 Wellesley St. E. would be largely demolished, with its south and west facades incorporated into the development. The complex would have a five-storey base facing both Wellesley and Church. On Church, it would step back to become a nine-storey mid-rise.
The panel agreed with city planner Leontine Major that the official plan “requires care in siting new infill structures.”
The Official Plan designates "character areas" to guide development. ONE's proposal falls in two character areas, The Church Street Character Area, along Church Street; and the Wellesley Wood Character Area, just west of Church Street.
The panel found that the proposed five-and nine-storey structure within the Church Street Village Character Area does not significantly contravene any Official Plan policies. However, the panel added, the five-storey base is excessive in appearance considering its overall massing, with a width of 50.50 metres along Church St.
The Church St. portion still would be attached to and part of the 36-storey tower, even if it is in a separately designated area under the official plan, the quasi-judicial panel said.
The Church St. Character Area, with its low-rise main street character, allows only “sensitive low scale infill,” the panel noted.
“It is principally the height of the tower that is excessive, in both the existing and planned context. The tower does not ‘fit’ the planned context of this site, so close to Church Street, even though it might be very close in height to the existing structures further west,” the tribunal said.
The tower “would be acceptable to this panel only if shorter,” they wrote.
Further, design guidelines for the Wellesley Wood Character Area to the west of Church St., on which part of the complex would fall, state that developments should create a height transition from Yonge St. to the mid-rise buildings along Church St. “The tower height here does not provide this transition,” the panel said.
The tribunal found, however, that despite city arguments to the contrary, the development’s setbacks and stepbacks were satisfactory. The panel said that there is no incremental shadow impact on Barbara Hall Park from May 21 to July 21, although the city submitted otherwise.
It is now up to ONE Properties to work with the City to create a building that conforms to established planning guidelines and respects the Church Wellesley neighbourhood.
You can read the full decision here and a timeline of the development here.
Manulife Investment Management has appealed its proposal for a 59-storey rental building at the northeast corner of Church and Charles, where the Traders Building presently stands.
In December 2019, the developer submitted a development application for the tower. Manulife had held two community consultations in the preceeding months. At the second community consultation on October 2, Manulife polled community members as to whether they would choose to preserve the current building's facade or to have the building demolished in exchange for more green space.
Subsequent to that meeting, Manulife submitted its proposal to the City. The development would be a 59-storey mixed-use building, inclusive of a 6-storey podium which preserves the facade of the Traders Building. The building would l house commercial tenants on the lower levels, with 651 residential units in the tower.
On June 8 City Council is expected to designate the 1956 neo-Georgian building, designed by Marani & Morris, as a heritage property.
A case management conference is scheduled for June 8 at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. In all likelihood the developer and the City will engage in a mediation process aiming for a settlement agreement.
The fate of 2 Carlton Street, which was first proposed for re-development in 2016, has been determined in a settlement agreement between the developer and the City, after the developer appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.
The proposal calls for a tower with a maximum height of 251 metres (73 storeys), the same height the developer applied for. It will replace the heritage listed mid-century modern 18-storey office tower that currently stands there.
On January 4, 2021, the City received a settlement offer from the developer, which the City accepted on February 2. A decision issued by the LPAT on April 8, 2021 confirmed the details of the agreement.
The site of the former Catholic Children's Aid building on Maitland Street will see a tower of 41 storeys, the result of a negotiated settlement between the developer Plaza Corp. and the City, after the developer appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
PlazaCorp proposed a 45-storey condominium tower in October 2019. In March 2020, before the City had made a decision, PlazaCorp appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
The City's many objections to the proposal included inconsistencies with provincial planning policies, the Toronto Official Plan and area specific planning policies. The overall height and massing of the tower and the significant shadow it would cast on neighbouring areas were the major objections. City Councillor Wong-Tam made her concerns and objections clear throughout the process, and does not believe the development fits into the neighbourhood.
The negotiated settlement reduces the height of the tower by 16 metres or 4 storeys.
The settlement provides for almost $8 million in Section 37 community benefits:
A very small slice on the west side of the property will be dedicated to parkland, very likely to be incorporated into a much larger future park replacing the Wellesley Green P surface parking lot.
Had the City taken its objections to a full LPAT hearing, it is highly likely that the resulting LPAT ruling would have been less favourable. According to Tyler Johnson, Ward 13 Constituency Rep. for the Church Wellesley Village:
... in recent years, the City has negotiated settlements with developers at the OMB/LPAT so that they could at least secure some concessions on behalf of local residents as well as community benefits. Through experience, we have learned that when the City doesn't negotiate a settlement, we get developments that are even further out of context to the local neighbourhood than they would have otherwise been.
The single tower proposal came about after talks with Plazacorp for a more ambitious project led nowhere. According to Johnson:
Over the past 2+ years, the Councillor and City Planning have made numerous attempts to partner with Plazacorp to develop affordable housing as part of their condo development by expanding their development footprint to use part of the Green P Parking lot to the west and utilize the other portion of the parking lot for public parkland. Those negotiations deteriorated as Plazacorp wasn't interested in that model. So now, they are proceeding with their own application and the city will proceed with our own plans for the Green P lot.
The community will still have input on street level details through a Site Plan Working Group.
City Reports and Supporting Documents
City Council Decision on Settlement Offer (March 10, 2021)
LPAT Hearing Order (Oct. 28, 2020)
City Council Decision on Direction Report (Oct. 27, 2020)
Toronto Staff Request for Direction Report (Sept. 21, 2020)
Toronto Staff Preliminary Report (Dec. 11, 2019)
Development Application Information Centre
An online community consultation on Graywood Development's proposal for a 15-storey midrise at 506-516 Church Street (Crews / Tangos and the adjacent parking lot) has held on April 28.
In July 2020, Graywood submitted a development application to the City. City staff released a Preliminary Report regarding the application on Sept. 21. A community-based Working Group has met twice since then. The community consultation gave members of the public the chance to see how stakeholder feedback from these meetings had influenced the proposal, and an opportunity to raise their concerns.
For background information, including the developers revised proposal, see the Development Application Centre (click Supporting Documentation and sort by date) and the City Staff Preliminary Report.
By Peter Small
A 19th-century house on Maitland St. that was nominated for heritage designation has been torn down after being damaged by two recent fires.
“We have been working with both a structural engineering company and the City of Toronto to examine the damage and identify ways to secure the site,” said Colleen Krempulec, VP, brand marketing & corporate social responsibility for Hazelview Properties, formerly Timbercreek, which manages the site.
There will be a community consultation on Graywood Development's proposal for a 15-storey midrise at 506-516 Church Street (Crews / Tangos and the adjacent parking lot) on Wednesday, April 28 from 7 to 8:30 pm.
In July 2020, Graywood submitted a development application to the City. City staff released a Preliminary Report regarding the application on Sept. 21. A community-based Working Group has met twice since then. This public meeting will be a chance to see how stakeholder feedback from these meetings have influenced the proposal, and an opportunity to raise your concerns.
Registration for the Webex meeting is required. For background information, including the developers revised proposal, see the Development Application Centre (click Supporting Documentation and sort by date) and the City Staff Preliminary Report.