King-Spadina HCD Study: Background

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.


HCD Study Authorization Report

HCD Prioritization Report

Community Consultation #1 Presentation

Stakeholder Interview Presentation

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.DSC08634

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)

Adelaide Street West, looking east from Darling Building, west of Peter Street. - 1912

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.


2 Comments on “King-Spadina HCD Study: Background”

  1. Edward Peciulis says:

    Why is the area between Adelaide and Richmond between Bathurst and Spadina not included in the study? Looking at the map of the Proposed Study Area, that part is conspicuously absent.

  2. hcdtoronto says:

    Thank you for your comment Edward.

    The HCD study area boundary was determined through a site visit and preliminary ground survey completed in June, 2012, taking into consideration architectural and built form consistency, historic fabric and sense of place throughout the King-Spadina area. The HCD Study area was approved by Council here: .

    However, the consultant team has been asked to analyse properties just outside of the approved boundary, and will be utilizing community feedback, such as yours, to determine the final HCD boundary/ies and to make further recommendations if required.

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