The former Bus Barns site on the Canada Square lands have sat as a derelict eyesore for almost two decades, serving as a staging ground for construction of the Eglinton Crosstown. However, the site (bounded by Eglinton to the north, Yonge to the east, Berwick to the south, and Duplex to the west) will become one of the most important transit hubs in Toronto when the project is completed. Importantly to the local community, these lands represent a historic opportunity to improve our quality of life and a destination site of city-wide significance.
Designated as a Growth Centre by the Provincial government in 2006, the Yonge-Eglinton area has experienced a rapid increase in population over the past decade and a half. Unfortunately, the Province did not ensure a mix of development types or that community services and infrastructure would keep up with the pace of growth. As a result, there is a recognized dearth of commercial and institutional space, along with amenities in our neighbourhoods such as parks, school capacity, recreation space, child care, and so much more.
The majority of the development that has occurred in the Yonge-Eglinton area has been on private land, and due to provincial policy, has limited the City’s ability to require complete projects that include green space, sufficient infrastructure and community services. Canada Square, however, is on leased public land and presents an exciting opportunity to focus on our neighbourhoods’ priorities.
In 2018, I successfully moved a motion in Council that ensured that any development on this site would be unappealable to the OMB (now the Ontario Lands Tribunal), and would have a significant public square and park.
Unfortunately, the proposal submitted to redevelop the site by Oxford Developments (the leaseholder on the site till 2070) late last year, did not include nearly enough public space, amenities, institutional and commercial uses, or affordable housing for a site of this size and importance. That’s why Council supported my motion to establish a Working Group that included Residents’ Associations, community organizations, and other stakeholders to inform a Special Study Area report.
The Group put forward a vision for the site that would help transform the Yonge-Eglinton area into a complete community, including:
• A large public park
• A new elementary school
• Public square on the corner
• Affordable housing
• Post-secondary institution
• Significantly increased office space for innovative companies and community organizations
• Cultural facilities such as a theatre space for the performing arts
The Working Group’s vision was NOT supported by Planning & Housing Committee on Monday June 28, 2021. That’s why we need your voice to tell the Mayor and Councillors to vote in favour of a livable Yonge & Eglinton before the issue is debated on July 14th, 2021 at City Council. Please click here to email email@example.com to let the Mayor and Councillors know that you support the Midtown Working Group’s vision for a complete community at Yonge and Eglinton.
As your city councillor and your neighbour, thank you for your support and advocacy!