Welcome to another exciting year for HCDs in Toronto!
We are now wrapping up the second half of the HCD study process for our five HCD Study areas:
Historic Yonge Street HCD Study:
• The consultants are preparing preliminary mapping of proposed Character areas within the Study area, and are examining a preliminary refined boundary. Mapping of themes and typologies is currently underway.
• The survey forms nearing completion, the quality assurance and the final review process is currently underway.
• Staff and the consultant team will be scheduling a community consultation meeting in the spring to discuss the draft HCD Study findings.
Queen Street East HCD Study
• With the help of dedicated volunteers, the Queen Street East HCD consultant team is nearing completion of the field surveys of over 100 properties in the proposed boundary area.
• On January 16, 2014 the consultant team met with some of the Riverdale Historical Society.
• The second of two Community Consultation Meetings for all interested in the HCD Study will be scheduled for late spring.
King-Spadina HCD Study
• The study team completed stakeholder consultations with resident’s and neighbourhood associations as well as the local BIA in September and November 2013.
• The study team is currently evaluating the 390 properties in the study area and making recommendations for HCD boundaries.
• The recommendations will be presented at the an upcoming community consultation meeting.
• Consultants have completed final field work and final recording during ‘leaf-off’ conditions, and have nearly completed the preparation of the detailed survey forms.
• The consultants will be continuing public outreach efforts by hosting a community workshop to get ideas from the community, as well as discuss preliminary findings.
• The second public consultation meeting to is proposed for early spring.
St. Lawrence HCD Study
• The consultants are currently reviewing and analyzing the built form and landscape survey data.
• They are also beginning to identify the neighbourhood’s unique historic themes and design typologies.
• The consultant team will present the HCD study draft at the second public consultation meeting, to be announced.
Please check back regularly for updates, and announcements regarding the upcoming community consultation meetings.
As we grow and change, the identity of our city is nurtured and cultivated by the choices we make. We recognize that some stories, and some of our built identity, adds value and tells us something about ourselves. We see this heritage as an asset; the future city needs to draw upon it to be authentic moving forward.
HCD’s are a policy tool designed to ensure we do just that. By managing growth to be in keeping with our heritage, not only do we reinforce a distinct sense of place in our city, but we also add economic value. The Brookings Institute states, “As a local economic development tool, heritage preservation has more than proven its value. While it is often more efficient and profitable to redevelop buildings, even more importantly, heritage preservation boosts land values.”
But in Toronto, hasn’t so much already been lost, that it’s hardly worth saving it at all? I often hear this refrain. And its true – we are late to the game and we do have some significant catching up to do when it comes to protecting our heritage.
I recall, however, a few years back, while working on the Queen Street West Heritage Conservation District, and in consultation with Anthony Tung (author of Preserving the World’s Great Cities), I learned that when New York City implemented some of its key districts in Tribeca in 1991 and Soho back in 1973, the same argument was made. Today, these Districts, as a result of clear regulation that has shaped growth over many decades are more unified, more distinct, and more desirable, than they were 50 years ago. In fact, these districts have been so successful that the Tribeca district was extended in 1992 and 2002, while the Soho Cast Iron District was extended in 2010.
Heritage Conservation District studies are such a useful tool precisely because they allow us to look at a cluster of heritage resources, and to put a policy framework in place that ensures new development builds upon distinct and valued characteristics over time. As districts evolve, the change that takes place enhances, rather than detracts from, the uniqueness that already exists.
So I am thrilled that you are reading this blog. It will be your one stop resource for information from City Staff and the consultants we are working with on the implementation of new HCD areas in the city.
We trust you will find it to be a valuable, interesting resource.
Chief Planner and Executive Director,
City Planning Division,
City of Toronto
Welcome to the HCDs in Toronto Blog!
This blog is maintained by Heritage Preservation Services within the City of Toronto Planning Division and is designed to share information and receive feedback from anyone who is interested in our Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Studies and Plans. The City is currently studying five potential HCDs comprising over 2000 properties to determine if they should be designated as HCDs. We invite you to look around and learn more about these exciting projects, and contact us if you want more information.
Last year, City Council directed us to start work on HCD Studies in King-Spadina, Historic Yonge Street, the Garden District, St. Lawrence and Queen Street East. We’ve worked hard to get these studies underway and have great consulting teams helping us lead the projects. You can find out more about our consultants here too. Each area will be subject to two phases of work – a HCD study followed by a HCD plan, prior to designation.
The purpose of the HCD study is to determine if the area warrants designation as a HCD and to develop a full understanding of what makes it significant and a valued part of the city. The plan phase develops and implements policies and guidelines for conserving the valued character and sense of place that exists within the district, and to welcome the type of new development that fits in and benefits a HCD. A plan is adopted by bylaw when a district is designated.
As we work through the process of studying and planning the HCDs you will see new posts and information. We’ll use this blog to share information on milestones, notices and ways to participate in the process. Most of all, this blog is a way for you to communicate with us too, so please post comments and ideas on our blog entries– we want to share the excitement with you!
Heritage Preservation Services,
City Planning Division,
City of Toronto
The HCD Study for King-Spadina was authorized at the October 2nd, 2012 meeting of City Council. King-Spadina was formerly the centre of the garment and textile manufacturing industries in Toronto. Many of the former industrial buildings of King-Spadina have since been adapted for use as entertainment venues, or as office space for cultural industries. The King-Spadina area also includes the commercial strip along King Street West known as ‘restaurant row’, characterized by early Second Empire style commercial terraced buildings.
King-Spadina HCD Study Timeline
|February, 2012||City Council directed staff to prepare a report to authorize the area for study.|
|April, 2012||“HCDs in Toronto: Procedures, Policies and Terms of Reference” adopted by Council.|
|October, 2012||The King-Spadina Area is identified as a high priority study area.|
|May, 2013||Taylor-Hazell Architects was retained by the City to complete the HCD Study.|
|June, 2013||Preliminary public consultation to introduce community to the HCD Study.|
King-Spadina History and Character
- King-Spadina is not characterized by a single architectural style or period of building. It contains a diverse collection of buildings with dates of construction ranging from the last quarter of the 19th century to the present.
- There are concentrations of late Victorian row housing and commercial blocks. Typical styles include Italianate, Romanesque Revival, Renaissance Revival, Gothic Revival, Second Empire and Queen Anne Revival.
- There are also examples of popular vernacular housing such as Toronto Bay-n-Gable. Typical of Toronto, these buildings are predominantly red brick with limestone or red sandstone trim.
- A number of large buildings associated with industry and trade appeared in the late 19th and early 20th century period. These are typically three or four storey red brick buildings with decorative brickwork such as corbelling and abstract patterns for friezes, piers and/or decorative panels.
- Other significant styles in the area include mid-rise commercial and warehouse buildings erected in the early 20th century as the study area evolved from a residential to a commercial district.
- Earlier examples are generally masonry construction with few stylistic details while later examples incorporate modern building techniques and materials such as steel and concrete framing. These buildings were outfitted with modern fire-proofing measures that included fire retardant materials, fire separations, and early sprinkler systems.
- Buildings constructed after 1920 incorporate Art Deco influences. These buildings are taller and streamlined in contrast to the highly ornamented and sculptural quality of earlier Beaux Arts and Edwardian buildings. Tall buildings from this period are typically 10-12 storeys tall with stepped silhouettes.
- Buildings from the Post-War period are typically either small scale infill, associated with Mid-Century Modernism, or very large scale mixed-use developments and high-rise buildings built from the late 1980s on. The latter type generally involved removal of existing small-scale building fabric and building heights are typically 12-20 storeys.
- These buildings typically combine masonry and glass cladding sometimes with Post-Modern references to historical building styles. They typically have ground floor commercial space. Upper floors are residential and projecting balconies and roof terraces are common features.
King-Spadina Study Area Boundary
- The King/Spadina study area boundary includes the area approximately defined as immediately south of the Queen Street West HCD, west of University Ave, along Simcoe Street, inclusive of the south side of King Street east of Spadina, Clarence Square, and the south side of Wellington west of Spadina, and bounded to the west by the east side of Bathurst Street.
- There may be multiple potential HCDs within the proposed study are and the final boundary of the HCD has yet to be determined. The consulting team are analyzing properties just outside of the boundary and community feedback to determine the final HCD boundary/ies. The subject area may include one or many HCD Plan areas.
Heritage Consultant Profile
Taylor Hazell Architects is pleased to be working with Archaeological Services Inc. and Urban Strategies on the King Spadina HCD Study. THA is providing project management and built heritage expertise, ASI is undertaking cultural landscape and archaeological assessments, and Urban Strategies is leading public engagement and policy review.
The King Spadina study area is BIG – it’s 40 hectares in size and home to over 7,500 residents and 26,000 employees. There are 390 individual properties ranging from 19th century residences, to mid-century industrial buildings, to modern high-rise condominiums. But it also has:
- 68 properties included on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Inventory
- 38 properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act
- 4 historic archaeological sites (Bishops Block, Toronto General Hospital, Lowry-Hannon, Bell)
- 2 parks (Clarence Square and Victoria Memorial Park)
- 1 cemetery (in Victoria Memorial Park)
- 1 National Historic Site (Royal Alexandra Theatre)
To date, the King Spadina team has completed field surveys of all 390 properties, traced the area’s historic evolution through maps and photographs, drafted an thematic history, identified listed and designated properties, developed an architectural styles guide, reviewed policy documents, talked to residents and business associations, and held a community consultation meeting.
Over the next few months, the team will be analyzing the field surveys and categorizing properties based on type, style, landscape features and streetscape. Then we will be able to identify the heritage value of the area and make recommendations for boundaries which align to the area’s significance. We look forward to presenting our draft findings at the next public which is scheduled for January 2014.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the King-Spadina Study, please don’t hesitate to contact us.