Historic Yonge Street HCD Study: Background

The Historic Yonge Street area was nominated by the Bay Cloverhill Community Association (BCCA) and the Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association (CWNA), through the nomination process described by City HCD policy.  The HCD Study for Historic Yonge Street was authorized at the August 16, 2012 meeting of City Council. The Historic Yonge Street HCD study area is currently subject to the North Downtown Yonge Street Planning Framework study.

Historic Yonge

HCD Study Authorization Report

HCD Prioritization Report

Public Consultation #1 Community Presentation

Public Consultation #1 Panels

Historic Photos

Historic Yonge Street HCD Study Timeline

April, 2012 “HCDs in Toronto: Procedures, Policies and Terms of Reference” adopted by Council.
June, 2012 Bay Cloverhill Community Association (BCCA) and the Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association (CWNA) Nominate the Historic Yonge Street Area.
October, 2012 Historic Yonge Street is authorized for study and identified as a high priority study area.
May, 2012 DIALOG was retained by the City to complete the HCD Study.
Summer, 2013 Community Volunteers participate in the Built Form and Landscape Survey.
September, 2013 Preliminary public consultation to introduce community to the HCD Study.

Historic Yonge Street History and Character

  • Historic Yonge Street consists mainly of low rise 19th century commercial buildings, interspersed with mid to low rise residential and mixed use infill developments from the 1920s-40s, as well as 20th century apartment structures.
  • Yonge Street opened in 1796 as a rough, but straight, path from Toronto Harbour to the Holland River near Lake Simcoe.
  • In the early part of the 19th century this section of Yonge Street, north of College, south of Bloor, primarily consisted of estate residential buildings, similar to the early development of Church and Jarvis Streets.
  • However, later in the 1870s and 80s, Yonge Street saw a boom in commercial growth, and increasingly populated by small shops and later, typical Ontario main street commercial buildings.
  • Historically and contemporarily a primary commercial artery of Toronto, Yonge Street is informally considered to be ‘Toronto’s Main Street’.
  • Yonge Street has been the location of many of Toronto’s annual parades, beginning in 1905 with Toronto’s Santa Claus parade. Yonge Street has also been the location of numerous spontaneous celebrations, such as:
    • Street parties at the end of WWII in 1945;
    • In 1967 when the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup;
    • In 1992 and 1993 when the Blue Jays won the World Series; and
    • During the Winter Olympics in 2002 and 2010, when the Canadian men’s hockey team won the gold medal.
  • Yonge Street retains a significant number of its historic buildings and heritage character. The unique character of Yonge Street is defined by the variety and vitality of its eclectic mix of uses, as well as the low rise 19th-century built form.

North from CollegeHistoric Yonge Street Study Area Boundary

  • The area proposed by the nominators includes the Yonge Street commercial corridor and adjacent blocks and lanes, located south of Davenport Road, east of Bay Street, west of Church and north of Carleton/College Street.
  • Staff have reviewed the proposed boundary, and through a site visit and preliminary survey of the area with the nominators,  identified the study boundary.
  • The study boundary includes the east and west sides of the Yonge Street commercial corridor, between Davenport Rd. to the north, and Carleton to the south, as well as commercial areas  directly to the west of Yonge Street on Carleton Street, Wellesley Street, St. Joseph Street, St. Nicholas Street, and Irwin Ave.
  • 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.

Heritage Consultant Profile

The the team of consultants working with the City of Toronto on the Historic Yonge Street Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Study includes:

  • DIALOG , the planning, consultation, and urban design project lead.
  •  Philip Goldsmith Architect, an award-winning heritage architect in heritage restoration, preservation, and conservation.
  •  Archaeological Services Inc., who specializes in historical and archaeological research built heritage and cultural landscapes and,
  • Carl Bray, an advisor conservation district planning, conservation policy & guidelines.

The Study includes an area along the Yonge Street from College Street to Davenport Road comprising a mix of retail, mixed-use, office, and residential along the corridor.

The purpose of the HCD Study is to analyze the Study area in detail to understand its content, evolution, structure, history, character, and cultural heritage values. The characteristics of the Historic Yonge Street HCD will be defined through consultation and studied in relation to existing buildings, structures, and landscapes in order to evaluate the District’s heritage importance. The HCD Study will determine if the Study area demonstrates cultural heritage value, integrity, and definable character sufficient to warrant HCD designation and a corresponding Plan.


The purpose of the Study is to:

  • Document the area’s history and resources
  • Evaluate design, historical, contextual, social, and natural values
  • Identify heritage significance, character, attributes, and boundaries

The purpose of the Plan is to:

  • Finalize a statement of district significance
  • Finalize HCD boundaries
  • Identify heritage attributes and contributing resources
  • Identify areas of general archaeological potential and recommendations
  • Recommend changes to zoning and OP provisions
  • Develop conservation policies and guidelines


On September 24th, 2013, the first public consultation for the Historic Yonge Street area was held.

Download the Community Presentation, along with the Display Panels for more information.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the Historic Yonge Street HCD Study, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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