St. Lawrence HCD Study: Background

The St. Lawrence area was authorized for an HCD study by City Council in September, 2005. In September, 2009 that study area was amended to the current study boundary,  which is roughly  Adelaide to the north, the railway corridor to the south, Parliament to the east, and Yonge Street to the west. The revised boundary is generally representative of the historic St. Lawrence Ward boundaries at the time of incorporation in 1834, plus the original ten blocks of the Town of York.

St Lawrence

HCD Study Authorization Report

HCD Prioritization Report

Community Consultation #1 Presentation

Consultation Questionnaire

Historic Photos

St. Lawrence HCD Study Timeline

September, 2005 City Council directed staff to prepare a report to authorize the area for study.
September, 2009 Council Authorized the HCD Study boundary to be extended to include current area.
April, 2012 “HCDs in Toronto: Procedures, Policies and Terms of Reference” adopted by Council.
October, 2012 The St. Lawrence Area is identified as a high priority study area.
May, 2013 FGMDA 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.

St. Lawrence History and Character

  • The origins of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood date back to the late 18th century when the Town of York was established as the capital of the Province of Upper Canada.
  • Under the direction of Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe, a ten-block townsite was laid out between present-day Front Street East, George Street, Adelaide Street East and Berkeley Street.
  • The townsite quickly outgrew its original boundaries, and expanded westward beyond Jarvis Street. St. James Anglican Cathedral, was established on King Street, the community’s principal artery, with the Courthouse Square to the west and Market Square on the south.
  • In 1797, a New Town was created between Victoria and Peter Streets, where the streets were extensions of the grid pattern introduced in Old Town. When the Town of York was incorporated as the City of Toronto in 1834, the boundaries were set at Front, Bathurst, Dundas and Parliament Streets, with Old Town remaining the commercial nucleus and most densely populated area of the community.
  • Landmark buildings constructed during this era included the Bank of Upper Canada (1827) and the Fourth Post Office (1834) at 252 Adelaide Street East, the Second City Hall (1844) at 91 Front Street East, and the City Buildings (1841) at 107-111 and 125 King Street East.
  • The historic development of the St. Lawrence District has been intertwined with the historic development of the Town of York. So much so that the St. Lawrence neighbourhood is often referred to as Old Town.


St. Lawrence Study Area Boundary

  • The amended St. Lawrence HCD study area is inclusive of the area located east of Yonge Street, including the buildings on the west side of the street, south of Adelaide Street, including all buildings on the north side of the street, west of Parliament Street, including all of the buildings on the east side of the street, and north of the railway corridor.
  • This area includes the original ten blocks of the Town of York and much of the lands upon which the Town further developed until the time of its incorporation as a city in 1834.
  • 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. The subject area may include one or many HCD Plan areas.

Heritage Consultant Profile

The St. Lawrence Heritage Conservation District Study is being undertaken by a multi-disciplinary team with a national reputation in the field of heritage conservation.

  • Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet and Associates Architects is a recognized leader in the field of conservation architecture, heritage consulting and architectural history. The firm has participated in the evaluation of numerous heritage properties and districts in cities across Ontario, Quebec, and the Canadian North over the last 30 years.
  • Archaeological Services Inc. is the largest archaeological consulting firm in Canada, and has extensive experience performing cultural landscape analysis and identifying planning and management guidelines for archaeological resources.
  • Bousfields Inc. is a planning consulting firm with special expertise in planning policy and regulation, urban and community design and landscape architecture analysis.

This Study Team is taking a collaborative approach to researching and analyzing the St. Lawrence neighbourhood as a potential Heritage Conservation District.


The St. Lawrence HCD Study Area. Red properties are designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, blue properties are listed on the register.

The St. Lawrence neighbourhood is a large area with a diverse history. Its continuously evolving built fabric and landscape have their historic roots in the late-18th century settlement and development of the original 10-block site that formed the Town of York. As the town expanded and was incorporated with the City of Toronto over the following decades, a large number of landmark buildings, institutions and commercial warehouses were constructed, many of which remain today and continue to play an important role in the everyday lives and cultural heritage of Torontonians.

The purpose of the St. Lawrence Heritage Conservation Study is to determine if the study area, or multiple smaller areas within the overall study area, warrant designation as a Heritage Conservation District under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. In order to do this, the Study Team is currently researching the historic development, architecture, landscapes and cultural heritage resources that define this neighbourhood.

York in 1804

One of our main tasks so far has been working with a group of dedicated volunteers from the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, Ryerson University and George Brown College to complete a built form and landscape survey. Once completed, survey forms will provide a permanent record every property located within the study area, and will be used to inform future plans.

We also had the opportunity to meet and speak with community members at our October 3rd community consultation meeting, held at St. Lawrence Hall. The comments, questions, and suggestions that we received at this meeting and through a distributed questionnaire will help us greatly as we move into the next phases of this study. Our next steps involve completing the built form and landscape surveys, meeting with key stakeholder groups in the area, and doing a general analysis of the research and information received to date.

Download the community consultation meeting presentation for more information. You can also fill out the questionnaire and send it to us to submit your own feedback.

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

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