June 4 – Community meeting to discuss Workspace on Dufferin

This may sound like a snooze, but we think this is an important issue for the City and it’s residents.

440 Dufferin – affectionately known as ‘The Wood Studio’ on Dufferin street is up for an OMB hearing June 15th, 2015.
We think retaining AFFORDABLE workspace for ‘dirty, messy, smelly’ light industrial artisans and small businesses is important. 440 Dufferin building is zoned as Employment, something the City promised they would go to the mat for to protect. It looks like this isn’t happening for 440 Dufferin after all.

Councillor Bailao is holding a community meeting JUNE 04, 2015, 6:30 – 8pm. Alexander Muir Public School, 108 Gladstone Avenue.

If you want to voice your opinion, please come to this meeting.

• Area is North of Queen, up Dufferin. Many employment land sites are here.
• Active18 has been concerned about this area becoming another WQW triangle debacle – unplanned and over-developed with little open space and not enough affordable space
• Active18 organized and held a large community charrette inviting residents to imagine future use of this area
• Charrette findings were used by Master of Environmental Design students at York U to develop 4 Secondary Plans for this area. Delivered to City Planning department for consideration.
• Active18 has been asking the city for approx. 7 years to do a Secondary plan for this area to protect against conversion requests by developers.
• None has been done – we’re now experiencing a piece-meal, one site at a time, style of planning for this area. Exactly the same process as the area south of Queen at Abell and Lisgar – a disaster of planning.
• Every 5 years there is an Official Plan review where Employment areas and lands can ask to be converted. 146 sites have asked to be removed from this Zoning designation.
• 440 Dufferin is one of the first cases to go to the OMB around this.
• The developers of 440 Dufferin have offered 2 floors of affordable workspace (funded by Section 37) to get out of the Employment lands designation (approx. 16,000 sq feet of space). They do not think think that being released from the Zoning should require them to contribute more to affordable Employment space that this offer. They are proposing a row of 3 condos – 12, 10 and 8 storeys.
• The affordable workspace would come with a 10 year lease and convert to market-value after that point.
• No park has been designated for this area
• The land directly to the west and north will be affected by wall of 3 condos. It is Employment land at this point.

Background Information
There has been much discussion over the past few years regarding the potential for this site to convert to mixed use. Active 18 has always been concerned with such a conversion primarily due to the fact that our neighbourhood has become saturated with residential uses, generally of the small condominium variety in the Queen West Triangle south of Queen Street. This has been mitigated somewhat by the arts and culture uses integrated into some of the buildings resulting from Section 37 benefits. These include the new Theatre Centre, the Artscape Triangle Lofts, the Toronto Media Arts Cluster, and the like. However, the existing affordable employment space in the neighbourhood is now under significant threat, and the public transit system is overwhelmed by the number of new residents moving in. As such, the Active 18 Steering Committee, guided by our many citizen members, has been of the opinion that land in our neighbourhood should be preserved and used for affordable employment uses.

11 Peel comparison

We understand that 11 Peel has some physical characteristics that make it somewhat unlikely that the site will redevelop with new employment uses, per the Planning staff report. Given this, Active 18 request the following:

• That the development provides a minimum 2x coverage for ‘non-residential’ uses.
• That maximum Section 37 community benefits are provided and that these benefits be available for appropriate non-profit arts and cultural uses and/or affordable light industrial uses complementary to the neighborhood. This could be in partnership with local non-profit agencies.
• That the park space proposed along Dufferin Street should be the second priority for the application of Section 37 benefits, and that the City hold a design competition and engage the community to determine the uses, design and future management of the park and coordinate those uses where possible with non-residential programs in the surrounding buildings.

Although Active 18 is not in favour of a ±20 storey building so close to Queen Street due to the precedent it would set, we would not oppose the height if the above can be provided. We request that the recommendations of the Planning and Growth Management Committee be revised to accommodate the above items.

440 Dufferin Street

Similar to 11 Peel Street, Active 18 has always been concerned with the loss of employment lands on this site for the reasons stated above. We understand that the conversion of 440 and 450 Dufferin Street is not supported by City Planning staff due its location of a major arterial road and direct connections to surrounding employment lands which will remain. Active 18 have no objection to the City Planning staff position. However, if a recommendation to convert this site to Mixed Use is to be considered by the Planning and Growth Management Committee, then certain conditions should be attached to the change of use, as follows:

• That a proper “secondary” or “area” plan be prepared for the land west of Dufferin Street south of Florence, to include long-term park, transportation and built form planning for the area, prior to the consideration of any zoning amendment or site plan within the study area. The process to develop this plan should start immediately.
• That the development provides a minimum 2x coverage for ‘non-residential’ uses.
• That maximum Section 37 community benefits are provided and that these benefits be available for appropriate non-profit arts and cultural uses and/or affordable light industrial uses complementary to the neighborhood. This could be in partnership with local non-profit agencies.
• That the development provides for a high quality and distinctive design.

(images courtesy Sam Bietenholtz)

Map of all Employment lands up for Review at the request of the Property Owner/Developer for 2015.

Further reading
City of Toronto Official Plan Review (2015)


26 Storey tower proposed for Queen/Gladstone.

Important COMMUNITY CONSULTATION on a development proposal.
Come out, be heard, have a say… help shape your neighbourhood!

WHAT: 26 storey tower proposal for Queen street across from Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street West.

WHEN: December 11, 6:30pm at the Parkdale Library (1303 Queen West).

The meeting is an official City of Toronto meeting. The developers will be in attendance. Come and give your opinion on this proposal.

If you can’t make the meeting try contacting:
Contact City Planning: Sarah Phipps (sphipps1@toronto.ca) or 416.392-7622.
Contact your city Councillor: Ana Bailao 416.392.7012

2013 Steering Committee

Three new members were voted in to the Active 18 Steering Committee – right from the meeting floor!
Welcome, Patti, Terry and Andrew!

Active18 – 2013 Annual General Meeting

November 4th, Active 18 invited community members to join in on a discussion about recent local issues – focused heavily on Employment lands debates this year.

Please see the slide deck for the full wording of the 2013 mandate and quick reports on the Creative Hub update, Lisgar Square (Triangle Square), Area Study for Gladstone and new OP amendments, and more!

Smart Growth for Ossington

The folks at Smart Growth for Ossington made a presentation at the Active18 2012 AGM.

We’ll keep a link to their website in our Links categories.

Please note that there is a Community consultation coming up regarding 109OZ condo developments.

June 25th – 7 – 9 pm at Trinity Bellwoods Recreation Centre (155 Crawford).
Please come out and support the neighbourhood.

Mike Layton’s ward 19.

A18 Annual General Meeting (2012)

Interested in having an impact on your neighbourhood?

Care about city planning and urban design?  no really!  it’s fun and you meet your enthusiastic neighbours!

Come on… join Active18!

mark your calendar.

WHEN: June 4th,  7pm

WHERE : The Theatre Centre  – 1087 Queen street at Dovercourt.

PDF printable version

Active18 AGM 2012

Art Hub News

The new Art Hub which will be the future home of the Toronto Media Arts Cluster – was passed unanimously at City Council in May 2012.

See the full post here.

May 3 – 6:30 pm Peel Street condos

REMINDER: Planning Meeting regarding the ‘Samko Site’ at Peel Ave.
Where is the city’s overall plan for this neighbourhood?
What kind of employment space and how much space is being planned?

This proposal by Streetcar developments is the first public presentation of a huge development on the property running from Peel to Queen. Major issues of height and employment.  Condo sales have already begun.


When: May 3, 6:30 pm

May Meetings you should attend!

Neighbours in the West Queen West area.  There are a number of important Planning Meetings coming up.  All are welcome, your input is important!

1)   May 1

What: Townhouses at  29 – 51 Florence Ave.  Expensive town homes by Gulf and Western will dramatically impact the neighbourhood west of Dufferin.

Where: Alexandre Muir Public School

When: May 1, 6:30pm
2)   May 2

Lisgar Park Working Group meeting, regarding next stages of  Park Design.  A public meeting will  be held in the next number of weeks.
3)   May 3

What: Planning Meeting regarding the ‘Samko Site’  at 11 Peel Ave.  This proposal by Streetcar developments is the first public presentation of a huge development on the property running from Peel to Queen. Major issues of height and employment.

Where: Mary McCormick Community Centre.

When: May 3, 6:30 pm

4) Pending (Get involved!)

What: 1093 Queen – (Queen and Dovercourt (SW Corner).  The developers have asked to meet A18 to discuss their proposal for this site. We have met with them before. There are significant design and density issues. Anyone interested in joining the Steering Committee for this should contact Charlie Campbell at chascamp@sympatico.ca
What: Dufferin St – ‘Saw Tooth” building.  There is a major development proposal for this site with multiple high-rise buildings. It involves many of the same issues as 11 Peel. There is no Secondary Plan in place for precinct.

Party with your Neighbourhood – Grand Salon

West Queen West community group Active 18 Association is hosting a giant neighbourhood warming party.

Since 2005, Active 18 has been advocating on behalf of the WQW neighbourhood on issues of new development, public space, and retaining artistic and cultural industries to name a few of our initiatives.  As a community group we work with elected officials, city staff and the developers to ensure the neighbourhood is informed and engaged. All are welcome to participate.

On Thursday, March 29th, please join us for a unique opportunity to share a cool neighbourhood experience – socializing, eating, drinking, and dancing inside the rarely seen third floor ‘salon’ of the historic Great Hall from 7pm to 1am.

Before you get your dancing shoes on though…

We want everyone to get to know each other a little.

An informal early evening cocktail social will take place from 7 to 9pm.  Newcomers – come get engaged with your new neighbourhood.

Yes, this is supposed to be a party after all, and from 9pm to 1am, we are proud to have the vinyl slinging “Muscle and Heat”, one of Toronto’s finest DJ collectives, always packing dance floors with a smart set of genre defying soulful ‘party disco’!