The Future of Yonge and Eglinton’s Canada Square: Supporting Midtown Residents’ Quality of Life
The 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 our local community, these lands represent a historic opportunity to improve the quality of life for Midtown residents. Designated as a Growth Centre by the Provincial government in 2006, the Yonge-Eglinton area has experienced rapid development and a corresponding increase in population over the past decade and a half. Unfortunately, the Province did not ensure that community services and infrastructure would keep up with the pace of growth. As a result, there is a recognized dearth of amenities in the neighbourhood such as parks, recreation space, child care, and more.
The majority of the development that has occurred in the Yonge-Eglinton area has been on private land that, due to provincial policy, limits the City’s ability to require complete projects that include green space and community services. Canada Square, however, is on leased public land and presents a greater opportunity for much needed neighbourhood amenities. In 2018, the City entered into a conditional agreement with Oxford Developments, which purchased the original Canada Square ground lease many years ago from another private company and had rights over the property until 2071. At that time I was able to ensure that Oxford would not be able to appeal a City decision to the LPAT (previously OMB).
Unfortunately, the proposal submitted by Oxford late last year, did not include nearly enough public space, amenities, or affordable housing for a site of this size and importance. That’s why, I’m pleased that Council supported my motion establishing a Working Group of community leaders to inform a Special Study Area report by City Planning be completed prior to finishing their evaluation of Oxford Development’s rezoning application. The Working Group composed of neighbouring Councillors, the local School Trustee, Residents’ Associations, Tenants’ Associations, Business Improvement Areas, community organizations, and other stakeholders to inform the Report.
If you would like to have your voice heard on this project, please contact the Senior City Planner for the project, Alex Teixeira, at 416-392-0459 or at Alex.Teixeira@toronto.ca
For more information, please see this article