The large Green P parking lot that sits across from the Wellesley subway station has been promised, in Toronto's Official City Plan, as parkland for many years.
In the recently released, "TOCore Implementation Strategy: Downtown Parks and Public Realm Plan," 15 Wellesley East is listed as one of the “New Parks Secured through Development and Acquisitions.”
According to Tyler Johnson, of Councillor Wong-Tam's office, the final allocation of the parking lot is not yet determined. "Green P is amenable to giving it to the city but it hasn’t been decided if it’s going to be fully parkland or partially parkland and partially affordable housing,” he wrote.
The CWNA will continue to lobby for more parkland for our growing neighbourhood.
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. They hosted an online public consultation on Sept. 9 and drop-in information sessions at Barbara Hall Park on Sept. 11 and 18. A pdf of the plan is posted online.
The Master Plan envisions many changes that will result in a significant improvement to Church Street. Enhancing the visual identity of the street, adding plantings and coordinated furnishings, and reimagining the laneways are just some of the planned changes.
At meetings and consultations during the planning process, CWNA Board members have advocated strongly for pedestrian priority to be the foundation for the Streetscape Master Plan.
The Business Improvement Area aims to present the final plan to its members by the end of the year. It will then be submitted to the City for approval.
See someone in distress while out In the neighbourhood? Witness an interaction or behaviour that makes you concerned a situation might rise to a violent conflict? Call Here to Help (H2H).
The H2H team is a collaborative, community-based, mobile team that responds to immediate concerns in the community to help with situations that may give rise to conflict. The response team’s goal is to de-escalate situations, mitigate crisis and perform activities including wellness checks, crisis counselling, at-risk to self or other assessments, and nonviolent conflict resolution.
The H2H team is focussed specifically on the Moss Park and Church and Wellesley neighbourhoods. The hours of operation are 2 pm to 10 pm, Tuesday to Saturday - 416-915-4200.
Community members can give the H2H team a call and the mobile team will be dispatched as soon as possible to attend (response times can vary depending on if the team is already engaged in a visit). They have a range of expertise on the team including: Harm Reduction Workers, Peer Workers, Crisis Intervention Workers, Nursing, a Community Support Worker and a Transitional Short Term Case Manager.
Partner agencies involved in the project include Seeds of Hope, The Gerstein Centre, Dixon Hall, Homes First, The Neighbourhood Group and the Inner-City Family Health Team.
Here to Help is a pilot project and may be expanded to other Toronto neighbourhoods in the future.
In late September, KingSett Capital submitted a new development application for 475 Yonge Street, replacing the Courtyard Marriot Hotel, between Wood and Alexander Streets, with two towers of 78 and 75 storeys.
KingSett first acquired the property in 2015. In December 2017, City Council approved a development application in which KingSett proposed to build two towers of 58 and 48 storeys on the site.
If built as proposed the two new towers would be the seventh and tenth tallest buildings in Toronto -- looming over City Park Co-op and adding significant shadow as far east as Queen's Park Crescent; as far north as Wellesley Street; and as far west as Mutual Street.
In pre-application documents, KingSett emphasized that the new application will provide more public parkland and privately-owned publicly accessible space than the 2017 application.
KingSett Capital is a multi-billion dollar private equity real estate investment firm with a portfolio that includes much of downtown Yonge Street. The corporation has also assembled lands at the northeast corner of Church and Wellesley; and the northeast corner of Church and Maitland (see map).
The decision to apply for 20 storeys more than was approved in 2017 is likely related to nearby approvals and applications for other very tall buildings on Yonge Street, including a 73 storey building immediately to the south, between Carlton and Wood, that was approved through a settlement agreement in April of this year.
The application, including architectural plans and the shadow study can be found online at the City's Development Application Centre.
A community consultation meeting date has not yet been announced, but you can make written comments now and request to be notified of the community consultation by following the Public Consultation link on the proposal's Development Application Centre page.
Video by Koops65 shows aerial view of the proposed 78 and 75 storey towers. The approved 73 storey tower at 2 Carlton is to the south; the recently completed tower to the north is 52 storeys.
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.