Category Archives: Community Consultation

* Mirvish Village Redevelopment wins Planning Award

“The jury was impressed with the holistic design approach to this urban infill project. It strives to achieve a balance between heritage conservation, transit-supportive density, respectful integration and preservation of the uniqueness of the site with existing neighbourhood contexts, a high quality urban public realm and green development, including local district energy systems. It also engaged with the City and the neighbourhoods through an innovative and iterative approach to site planning. “

The Canadian Institute of Planners’ annual Awards

*Park Design – Summer 2018 – Gleaner

The Gleaner * August 12th, 2018 ·

Plan is to make Markham Street an extension of the green space

By Ellie Hayden

Local residents had their first opportunity to contribute to the development of a new local green space at a public meeting on July 8. Part of Westbank Projects Corp.’s redevelopment of Honest Ed’s and Markham Street, the park meets bylaws that require new builds to include a green space. It will be paid for by the developer and, once built, maintained by the City of Toronto’s parks department.

Janet Rosenberg and Studio, the project’s landscape architect, will design the park, so it will share cohesive design elements with the development while remaining distinctly public. It will serve existing Annex-area residents, roughly 2,000 new residents in the development, and the thousands of shoppers who are expected to patronize the development’s 300,000 square feet of new retail.

“We want to make sure that the park offers something for all of those individuals to enjoy and that [the] elements can stand the test of time,” said Jonah Letovsky, a Westbank development manager.

With over a year of planning to go, Mike Layton (Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina) explained that “this was really just the first meeting to come up with the basic principles for how the community would like the park to function.”

Approximately 30 people including developers, landscape architects, city officials, residents, and other stakeholders attended the preliminary meeting, including Sue Dexter, who represents the Harbord Village Residents’ Association on the Mirvish Village Task Force.

After visiting several parks throughout the city, Dexter says the task force identified “a need for calming. The park should not be so much of an event space as it is a space for refuge.

“There will be a huge amount of busyness in the development as well as along Bloor Street, and the park tucked away from Bloor Street frames an opportunity to have more of a contemplative space.”

With activity and people bustling about, she envisioned the space as a sanctuary for residents and visitors to enjoy a cup of coffee or maybe people-watch. She was among many residents at the meeting who expressed an interest in extensive greenery, including plenty of trees to provide canopy and a peaceful water feature. The park will also include a mural on Markham House and other forms of public art.

One of the unique attributes of the park is its shape. The site, abutting Markham Street and overlooking the new shops, will wrap around the newly located Markham House and then continue along the Palmerston laneway.

At just over 1,200 square metres, several residents suggested that the park is too small.

“The biggest concern or anxiety is that the park is not large enough to do everything for everyone really well and so tradeoffs and choices are going to be made,” said Roy Sawyer of the Palmerston Area Residents’ Association.

Sawyer explained that the park is positioned within the neighbourhood to optimize sunlight throughout the day. To expand the limits of the park, more heritage buildings would have to be torn down, which both the city and the community have been adamant about preserving.

“Markham Street will be pedestrian first with lots of trees, greenery, public seating, etc. If Markham Street is successful, it will feel like an extension of the park,” said Letovsky.

Dexter characterized the meeting as promising.

“There was such a consistency in views. I think we’re on the same page and we understand the site very well now,” she said.

The park is projected to be finished within two years of the development’s completion.

Westbank will continue to consult with the landscape architect to make sure the design fits its plan for the entire site, and then the final designs will be sent to the city for approval.

The public will then have a chance to provide input through a series of public meetings as part of the review process.

“We’re really excited because hopefully this will achieve integration into the site as well as into the city’s network of parks,” said Layton.

Added Sawyer, “there’s a great opportunity to create a real jewel of a park here,” despite its small footprint.

To read more about neighbourhood green spaces click here:

*MVTG comments regarding design of new park

To: Mike Layton, Graig Uens, Jonah Letovsky (Westbank)

From: Mirvish Village Task Group

Re: Design for Mirvish Village Park ​​​​​

Date: June 26, 2018.

In anticipation of the public meeting on July 9, members of the Mirvish Village Task Group met to discuss our vision for the Mirvish Village Park. We offer these comments to the park designers and city planners as part of the public input. We are very grateful to have this dedicated park space in the Mirvish Village. It is a wonderful opportunity for creating something special on the site. We also recognize that the space presents many design challenges.

We have come to the view that the space can best be conceived as a small, green sanctuary from the busyness of the Mirvish Village market and retail, from the comings and goings within the site, and from the activity of Bloor St in general. Given this busyness and activity, we expect the site will be enjoyed and valued by many different people, at most times of the day and evening, and by all ages.

We researched online and found one New York Park of about the same dimension that had many attributes we found delightful. Greenacres is a similar size to the main space of the Mirvish site park, with dimensions of 120 x 60 feet approximately. It has some of the sanctuary feel that we think the site could profit from. An oasis, it could be a place for people to sit and eat the food or drink from the market, or the cafes that could flank the space. Paley Park, again in New York, is another ‘pocket park’ with attractive elements that could be learned from. We note that both these parks have waterfalls, and we highly recommend trying to incorporate something similar into our project. (For more information and photographs of these two parks see: and

The site could be conceived as two main rooms: Markham to the lane, 100 x 60 framed by buildings north and south; the second, a child friendly area 40 x 50 running south along Palmerston Lane.


Elements that would be desirable could include:

1. Paved permeable surface (granite sets?) with plantings and large trees—little leaf lindens, perhaps a copse of trees including a specimen tree—a beech or copper beech.

This promotes the contemplative feeling, sheltered from the sun. Dappled shade.

2. Water fall along the south wall, creates visual interest in winter and dampens street sounds in summer, again promoting sanctuary.
3. Seating areas, well designed tables and chairs. Not rustic.Tailored, distinctive and comfortable.
4. Stone seating around trees, if desirable. Near the water fall.
5. West wall along Palmerston Lane – a decorative, designed, metal screening with plantings. Perhaps poplars along the screening? Several points of entry and exit in the screen.
6. No provision for amplified sound or concerts. This is a lovely sanctuary where folks will want to sit, talk or just be quiet.
7. North wall framed by cafes.


We expect that the outdoor area of the daycare will be available for public use by younger children when the daycare is not in operation. Therefore we would not wish to have typical playground equipment as part of the park; however, we would welcome provision of a child friendly installation in the south ‘room’ laneway spur – a unique architectural feature that invitesexploration and play. The materials could emphasize wood to connect with the surrounding trees, and the structure could have an improvisational character. The area would need woodchipsfor safety. Perhaps include large stones to sit or crawl on.

The park area would be easy to keep clean. Maintenance would be reasonable.

There are other issues to consider such as the relation to the streetscape of Markham and an inviting access through Palmerston Lane so that there are no dead or unsafe spaces.


We hope these suggestions are helpful, and we look forward to the future discussions on the design of this important park in the Mirvish Village site.

Yours sincerely,

Paul MacLean (on behalf of the Mirvish Village Task Group)



*Build a Better Bloor!

Further to the west along Bloor Street another residents’ group is hoping to shape another large, mixed-use development…

“Building a Better Bloordale is an independent community network invested in making the Bloor-Dufferin Development the best possible for Bloordale, Bloorcourt and Toronto.  

We are a group of volunteers—residents, businesses, parents—who care about and are vocal in the planning and design process and decisions regarding the new development of a condo and rental development, a redeveloped school site and a cultural and social community hub, as well as other amenities on a 9-acre site on the south-west corner of Bloor and Dufferin Streets.”

What’s all the fuss about? The Toronto District School Board has sold the 7.3 acre parcel of land at Bloor & Dufferin where Bloor Collegiate and the former Kent school now stands. There is a provision in the sale agreement for the provision of a 30,000 Sq. ft. space for a Community Hub.

Key issues are: What will happen to the school?  How will the money be used by the TDSB? Will the amount of greenspace decrease? What will the Community Hub look like (physically and figuratively)? Who will run it? How will it be funded?

Here’s the link to the Building a Better Bloordale website

Here’s a link to a Globe and Mail article (April 6, 2018) about the proposed development at Bloor and Dufferin

And a link to a Toronto Star article, April 19, 2018, about the developments along Bloor

*Is Toronto growing in the right places?


From the Toronto Star

Cherise Burda, executive director of Ryerson University’s City Building Institute, believes the city, developers, and neighbourhood associations all have a role to play in coming to the table at the front end of development applications to negotiate and brainstorm what’s best for proposed developments.
“That’s how you end up with a planned complete community like Mirvish Village, instead of “piecemeal” planning by the OMB (or the threat of it).”

to see the full article click here:


* Traffic ? – MVTG letter to Councillors Layton and Cressy regarding community concerns

Update: April 4, 2018. Request submitted by councillors to TEYCC directing city staff for a traffic and public realm study in and around Mirvish Village :



25 February 2018

Mike Layton, City Councillor, Ward 19,

Joe Cressy, City Councillor, Ward 20,

Dear Mike and Joe

Subject:  Urban Design and Transportation Study for integration of New Mirvish Village Development with the Neighbourhoods


This letter is to follow-up with you after MVTG’s meeting with City Planning, Transportation Services, Westbank, and your Executive Assistants on January 30th, 2018.  This meeting was the third time that MVTG had met with City Planning and Transportation Planning or Services to discuss our concerns and provide community input on transportation-related issues around the Mirvish Village Project. The first meeting occurred as part of Graig Uens’ Discussion Group at CSI, which both of you attended. The second meeting took place at City Hall with a smaller group which included Mike. Prior to the January 30th meeting, MVTG reasserted our Guiding Principles and Focus Areas in a one page document (attached for your quick reference).  To date we feel it has been largely ignored.

Our view continues to be that community concerns are not being addressed by city staff. We have repeatedly stressed the importance of understanding how the traffic created by the new development will fit into the existing neighbourhoods. Despite our efforts, city staff appear to have limited their scope of work narrowly on Mirvish Village, specifically Markham between Lennox and Bloor, the Bloor and Lennox intersections, and Lennox from Markham to Bathurst. There is no plan – or even a “plan to get to a plan” – to address how the larger geographic area will be affected. The functional design issues of managing the increased traffic created by the new development in order to minimize the impact on the neighbourhoods remain unexplored and undiscussed. We find this unacceptable.

However, we were very pleased when Stephanie Nakitsas and Lia Brewer agreed during the January 30th meeting that the City undertake an Urban Design / Transportation Study of the area.

The following are our initial suggestions on the scope of the study.

Geographic Scope:

  • The area bounded by and including Bloor Street West to Harbord Street and Manning Avenue to Borden Street, including all streets and alleys within that area
  • Bathurst Street from London Street to Ulster Avenue

Project Scope and Objectives:

  • Lay out all possible vehicle routes into and out of Mirvish Village Parking Garage
  • Lay out PUDO along Markham Street including the daycare, the new east-west laneway between Markham and Bathurst, Honest Ed’s laneway, and along Lennox Street including the Randolph Academy
  • Develop a framework to evaluate which routes are expected to carry the most incremental volume through the neighbourhoods
  • Develop options to address the most problematic routes with the goal of protecting the neighbourhoods from excess traffic penetration and disruption, and identifying pros and cons of each option.
  • Develop an integrated plan to extend the functional design and public realm across Lennox Street, as part of the south end of Mirvish Village
  • Facilitate choices which balance the needs of both new and existing neighbourhoods

This study would ensure a smooth transition and sympathetic fit between the new and existing neighbourhoods so that impacts created by the new development will not overwhelm or degrade the existing historic neighbourhood.

Community Consultation:

  • MVTG will fully engage with this study; options for broader community input could be considered

We look forward to meeting with you as soon as possible to further define the scope, objectives and timeline for the study.  We would like to see a motion brought to Council as soon as possible so that significant progress can be made before the summer with a working plan in place by September 2018.

The Mirvish Village Task Group believe this to be an absolutely urgent undertaking to address growing community concern. The community engagement process during planning of the Mirvish Village redevelopment has been seen as a model of progressive and imaginative city-building. We believe the credibility of this process is now at risk.  More broadly, as Toronto proceeds with redevelopment along Bloor Street and other major corridors, we believe that creating a successful, co-operative example of integrating a new, large development within an existing neighbourhood could provide a model process that would be to everyone’s benefit.


Mirvish Village Task Group




Mirvish Village Task Group – Transportation Work Stream

4 November 2017

Document Purpose:

Section 37 of the OPA secured a consultation process with the four Resident’s Associations during the Site Plan process and prior to Site Plan approval.

This document outlines MVTG’s guiding principles for ongoing consultation of Westbank and City Transportation’s integrated transportation plan.   MVTG also identifies a number of discussion focus areas for the consultation process.

Guiding Principles for evaluating Transportation related proposal(s):

  • Traffic impact from Mirvish Village on the surrounding stable neighbourhoods’ streets should be minimal
  • Vehicle access going to and from the Mirvish Village Parking Garage is to be exclusively via the Bathurst and Lennox intersection
  • Internal vehicle circulation within the site should facilitate access to Mirvish Village businesses and services. PUDO design should consider the needs of small children, the elderly, and the disabled
  • Safety of pedestrians and bicyclists in and around Mirvish Village is a priority; potential zones of vehicle conflict should be addressed proactively

Discussion Focus Areas during the consultation process:

  • Optimizing performance of the Bathurst and Lennox Intersection
  • Plans to physically isolate Lennox Street west of the Parking Garage and the Markham Street Laneway from Parking Garage traffic
  • Mirvish Village Parking Garage design as it enables efficient vehicle flow, efficient entry and exit from entrance on Lennox, and options for technology enablement
  • Delivery vehicle allowed routes and times
  • Treatment of the Palmerston Laneway
  • Integration of Transportation related plans with other Site Plan work streams such as Landscape, Public Realm, etc.



To view the supporting documentation about traffic and transportation click hereviewSupportingDoc (30)

To view U of T Engineering students’ study click here:


residents of Palmerston Blvd win a ruling at OMB to restrict restaurants on the west side of Markham

 The attached video is an editorial  from TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin.  Is there NIMBYism in Residents’ Associations or is there merit to citizens’ concerns? The Agenda speaks to Toronto’s outgoing chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, who is a champion of densification, about the opposition to development. The development in question is an 8 storey building in the Annex but the discussion also references the Mirvish Village Task Group.
click here to view :