On November 28 the Ford government passed Bill 23, the “More Homes Built Faster Act,” which ignores most of the recommendations of the government’s own task force on housing affordability. The law’s provisions have been well covered in the media over the past months; among some of the more controversial measures, the law:
Even though the law is now on the books, most provisions have not yet taken effect and there is a chance that some of the more controversial measures will not come into force. The comment period on many of the provisions has been extended, so you can still make your opinion known. Here’s a useful chart with links to the comments forms.
The CWNA will continue to work hard to make our neighbourhood a great place to live in this ever more challenging environment.
The original proposal for the redevelopment of The Beer Store property at 572 Church Street called for a 16 storey building. In August of 2019 the project was reduced to 12 storeys, according to a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Settlement.
The building was to have a 44 degree angular plane rising from Church Street, so that it better relates to the low-rise buildings that characterize the Village, and contain 96 units.
There has been no sign of construction on the site, leading to the conclusion that the project has been put on hold and that it is highly possible the owner may submit a new development proposal.
Kingsett Capital has applied to develop a 76-storey residential tower at 645 Yonge Street. The tower would include 678 residential units, on nine assembled lots from 639 to 653 Yonge Street, north of Isabella.
The block context document included in the application illustrates that other active development applications for towers nearby call for 50 to 57 stories and one tower currently under construction is 34 storeys.
The City has not yet released a Preliminary Report on the proposal.
For more information:
Development Application Information Centre:
Carlyle Communities has applied to build a 49-storey condominium tower at 33 to 37 Maitland Street. The proposal would demolish the existing rental building at 33 Maitland Street, while keeping some parts of the existing building at 37 Maitland Street, incorporating it into the base of the tower. The development application is here.
The red-brick Georgian style building at 37 Maitland Street is on the City's heritage register. It was built sometime between 1853 and 1868 and was once the residence of William Galbraith, a flour and grain merchant. It is currently used as law offices.
The Biltmore Apartments at 33 Maitland Street was designed by architect Herbert Charles Roberts, who designed several buildings in the immediate area in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The building currently has no heritage status, though local heritage advocate Adam Wynne nominated it for heritage protection in June 2022.
The properties were put up for sale earlier this year, at which time Colliers International published an "investment summary" detailing the rationale for a 38-storey tower. The current development proposal is 11 storeys higher.
Details about the proposal can be found at the City's Development Application Information Centre (Supporting Documentation tab). The Community Consultation was held on March 23. The City has not yet released a Preliminary Report.
In October 2022 the Church Wellesley Village BIA released the final version of the Church Street Master Plan. Implementation is dependent on a number of factors and no further action is scheduled at this time. There will still be opportunity for further input. You can view the Master Plan here.
Last November, Colliers Strategy and Consulting (on behalf of YI Developments Limited) submitted an application for a 57 storey tower at the southeast corner of Yonge and Isabella Streets (619-637 Yonge; 7-9 Isabella) that would bring 606 residential units to the site.
The Yonge Street frontage would be retail space, with the residential entrance on Isabella Street, and servicing, parking and loading accessed via Gloucester Lane.
The site is within the Yonge Street Heritage Conservation District, which the City of Toronto designated in 2016 under the Ontario Heritage Act. However, a group of developers, including YI Developments, has appealed The Heritage Conservation District Plan to the Ontario Land Tribunal. The current development proposal calls for the demolition of the existing buildings.
City staff released a Preliminary Report with recommendations in January 2022.
In July 2022, the Toronto Preservation Board recommended that City Council designate the existing buildings as heritage properties.
The report recommends that City Council state its intention to designate the property at 625 Yonge Street (including 621, 627, 629, 631, 633, 635, and 637 Yonge Street, and 1, 3, and 5 Isabella Street) under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act for its cultural heritage value.
According to the report, the buildings:
...constitute a representative example of Edwardian Classicist-style commercial main street buildings. Part of Yonge Street's historic commercial streetscape since the early 20th century, the property maintained a long association with the automotive industry, beginning with its original use for Thomas Crow's carriage business. It then housed the Dominion Automobile Company's showroom, the second store location of Canadian Tire, and other automobile companies. From the late 1970s through the late 1990s, the property housed a series of clubs that served the LGBTQ2S+ community, notably including the Domino Club and Komrads."
On August 18, the City issued a Notice of Intention to designate the buildings as heritage properties.
The developer is expected to revise the application to take into account the heritage attributes of the current buildings fronting Yonge Street.
Notice of a community consultation meeting held by the City will be sent to property owners within 120 metres of the property. You can be notified of the consultation by clicking the "Community Consultation" tab on the Development Application Information page for the proposal.
[Update: the developer appealed this application to the Ontario Land Tribunal in May 2022]
For more information:
Development Application Information Centre:
33 and 37 Maitland Street are for sale as a potential development site. Colliers International has compiled an "investment summary" document, which details the rationale for a 38-storey tower.
33 Maitland is a 3-storey apartment building with 37 units. 37 Maitland is a 2-storey office building that is listed as a heritage property, built in 1853. They are located between the Village Green rental complex and the Cosmopolitan condominiums.
According to the document, given the height of other buildings in the area, an argument can be made for a 38-storey tower. "The proposed height is based on a hypothetical angular plane between the proposed 15-storey mixed-use building located at 506 Church Street and the recently built 52-storey condominium building at 501 Yonge Street." (506 Church Street has since been approved at 14 storeys).
There will be no opportunity for community consultation until a developer purchases the properties and submits a development proposal.
Originate Developments has submitted a proposal for a 58-storey, 690 unit condo tower at 102-120 Earl Place and 561 Jarvis Street.
The new building would replace a block of ten three-storey condominium townhomes on Earl Street as well as the three-storey rental apartment block at 561 Jarvis Street.
City staff have not yet released a Preliminary Report.
The City will host a virtual information session regarding the future of the Upper Jarvis neighbourhoods on March 1, 2023.
For more information, see the project page on the City's Development Application Information Centre.
City Council has approved the development application for 506 Church Street (Crews / Tangos). The City Staff final report regarding the 14-storey, 165-unit mixed-use condo building is here.
Some extracts from the Report:
The current proposal incorporates numerous revisions from the original application as summarized below:
- reduced building height from 15-storeys to 14 storeys;
- reduced density from 8.08 to 7.47 times the area of the lot;
- refined streetwall height and massing to respond to the low-rise context of the Church Street Village;
- introduction of a step back from the north property line above the 10th storey to improve massing;
- reduced unit count from 173 to 165 units, and maintained proportion of two bedroom units at 38% and three bedroom units at 10% of the total units;
- increased amenity space from 3.8 to 4.63 square metres per unit;
- reduced parking count from 40 to 32 parking spaces;
- refined the layout of the non-residential space at the ground floor to accommodate desired entertainment uses.
The developer will pay Section 37 benefits of $1,700,000 to go toward local streetscape and laneway improvements.
Throughout the application process, local residents and stakeholders have emphasized the importance of preserving this part of Church Street as a place for 2SLGBTQ+ people to come together.
According to the developer, the ground floor non-residential space has been configured in cooperation with the current operator of Crews and Tangos to permit a potential return to the site following construction of the new building. In addition, City staff in Economic Development and Culture are developing a Cultural Districts Program to support cultural districts across the city, including the Church-Wellesley Village.
In August, City Council issued a notice under the Ontario Heritage Act, designating the building housing Crews and Tangos as heritage properties in order to assure its protection during and after construction.
More background and details can be read in the Staff Report.
By Peter Small
A first of two fires that struck a 19th-Century house on Maitland St. over a year ago was deliberately set, according to a newly released report.
The Confidential Fire Investigation Report by the Ontario Fire Marshal lists the cause of the fire as “Incendiary – Arson – intentional.” The report was released to the Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association last week after it was requested more than a year ago under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
The 150-year-old house at 34 Maitland St. was set alight in the late afternoon of Oct. 8, 2020, five months after it had been nominated for heritage designation.
Toronto police at 51 Division are still investigating the arson and there are as yet no suspects. said Const. Edward Parks.
Hazelview Properties, which manages the site for the owners -- listed on tax records as TC Core GP Inc. and TCR 208 Equities Inc. – did not respond to requests for comment.
This fire was followed three months later -- in the early hours of Jan. 16, 2021 -- by a second fire. Soon after the second fire, engineers and the city of Toronto deemed the three-storey building structurally unsafe, Hazelview Properties said at the time. The owners tore it down in April, 2021.
The first fire broke out just two days after the Architecture Conservancy of Ontario featured research stating that the Second Empire house was at risk. The vacant property had been subject at times to city work orders.
“There are two separate and simultaneously burning fires associated with this incident,” according to the Fire Marshal’s report, conducted by investigator James Gillespie.
The fire was intentionally set by matches or a lighter in two separate rooms, one on the first floor and the other on the second floor, according to the report.
The main floor blaze was set in a room that was empty of furniture except for an upright piano, the report says.
“The ignition sequence was the intentional application of an open flame to a combustible material intentionally introduced into the room,” the investigator wrote.
On the second floor, someone set fire to clothing piled, along with paper, in a corner, the report says.
Adam Wynne, a local historian who nominated the house for heritage designation, said he is both concerned and disheartened by the fact that the fire was deliberately set. This makes him all the more curious about the cause of the second fire, he said.
Police say they are not investigating the second blaze. The Toronto fire department, which looked into it, could not determine a cause.
“I hope that we don’t see more acts of arson in the Church-Wellesley Village or elsewhere in Toronto,” Wynne said.
The arson is one of several blazes in historic houses in downtown Toronto in recent years. The building, constructed in either 1867 or 1870, is one of the first properties built on the north side of Maitland, according to Wynne’s research.
It is the former residence of George Smith Holmested (1841-1928) -- a prominent barrister and member of the administration of Osgoode Hall -- in addition to being the home of several other notables, Wynne found.
It has been “vacant for several years and is under increased and/or imminent risk of demolition due to an increasing number of intensive redevelopment projects in the surrounding area,” Wynne wrote in his nomination.
However, city staff rejected the building for heritage designation.
According to city documents, Timbercreek Asset Management, now Hazelview Properties, which had charge of the house, declared as early as 2016 that the property “is not, nor will it be, occupied and is being considered for demolition.”
The Fire Investigation Report can be downloaded here.