Queen Street East HCD Study: Riverside BIA Stakeholder Meeting

A Queen Street East HCD Study stakeholder meeting with the Riverside BIA was held today by HCD consultants GBCA and City of Toronto staff from Heritage Preservation Services and Economic Development.


For more information, please download the presentation.


Februrary HCD Study Update

Welcome to another exciting year for HCDs in Toronto!

St. Lawrence Market and The Esplanade

St. Lawrence Market and The Esplanade

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 Street at Spadina

King Street at Spadina

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.

Garden District:

• 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. Nicholas Street, 1975

St. Nicholas Street, 1975

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.

Queen Street East HCD Study: Public Consultation Report


Close to 50 participants attended the first of two Community Consultation meetings for the Queen Street East HCD Study. The meeting consisted of presentations, conversations, and a question and answer period.

First on the agenda was Mary MacDonald, Acting Manager of Heritage Preservation Services with the City of Toronto, with a brief overview of Heritage Conservation Districts. This was followed by a short presentation by the consultant team, illustrating the purpose of the Study Phase – that being, determining the heritage value of the area through surveys and analysis.

The evening’s agenda was devised to encourage those attending to share their comments and their interests. Small break-out groups allowed everyone to have an opportunity to discuss or write-down their comments and concerns—invaluable information for the consultants as we move forward. Participants were asked to think about what they believe are the most important heritage features in the area—whether a specific buildings, a historical site, or a significant view. Each break-out group was facilitated by one of the many volunteers from the area who have come forward to contribute to the Study.

Prior to the question and answer period, Councillor Paula Fletcher addressed the group, describing the years of work that has led to this point in the process. For any who were unable to attend this meeting, we encourage you to fill out the Questionnaire.

Why Do HCDs Matter?

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.

Jennifer Keesmaat

Chief Planner and Executive Director,
City Planning Division,
City of Toronto

What We’re Up To and Why We’re Doing It

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!

Scott Barrett

Sr. Coordinator,
Heritage Preservation Services,
City Planning Division,
City of Toronto

Queen Street East HCD Study:Public Consultation #1 Notice

The City of Toronto is holding a Community Consultation meeting where you can learn more about the Queen Street East Heritage Conservation District Study, ask questions and share your comments.


Date: October 23, 2013
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Place: Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre, 870 Queen Street East


On October 2nd, 2012 City Council authorized Queen Street East for a Heritage Conservation District study under Section 40(1) of the Ontario Heritage Act. Click here for more background information.

This Community Consultation meeting is intended to introduce the Heritage Conservation District Study to community members and provide information on the Study’s scope and process. The meeting will also be an opportunity for community members to provide feedback on the significance of this potential heritage conservation district.

Download the full Community Consultation notice here.

We hope you will be able to join us!

Queen Street East HCD Study: Background

The HCD Study for Queen Street East was authorized at the September 25th, 2006 meeting of City Council.  Queen Street East, from the Don River to DeGrassi Street, is a commercial area with historic ‘main street’ character.


HCD Study Authorization Report

HCD Prioritization Report

Community Consultation # 1 Presentation

Community Consultation Questionaire

Community Consultation #1 Agenda

Queen Street East History and Character

  • Queen Street (originally Lot Street) was laid out by Lt.-Gov. Simcoe in the 1790s as the base line for the lot and concession system in the Township of York.
  • The original Town of York was sited just south of Queen Street between present day George and Berkeley Streets.
  • To the east of York, Queen Street was the route which led to Kingston and was originally known as the Kingston Road.
  • The Scadding Cabin, one of the oldest buildings in Toronto, now preserved at Exhibition Place, was originally located on the east bank of the Don River, just south of Queen Street. Toronto’s first ball park was also located on Queen Street, east of the Don River.
  • In the early nineteenth century, Queen Street developed as a road of modest houses mixed with small frame and roughcast shops serving the surrounding residential properties.
  • By the late 1800’s the street had become the main east-west artery of Toronto. This was due to the fact that the Queen Street bridge was one of the few crossings over the Don River from the earliest days.
  • The streets original residential character evolved to the more recognizable commercial “main street” character of today.
Chuckmans Postcard 1979

Image Credit: Chuckman’s Toronto Postcards online

Queen Street East HCD Study Timeline

September, 2006 Queen Street East is authorized by City Council for an HCD study.
April, 2012 “HCDs in Toronto: Procedures, Policies and Terms of Reference” adopted by Council.
October, 2012 Queen Street East is identified as a high priority study area.
August, 2012 GBCA retained by the City to complete the HCD Study.
October, 2013 GBCA holds first training session for survey volunteers.
October, 2013 Preliminary public consultation to introduce community to the HCD Study.

Queen Street East Study Area Boundary

  • The study area was identified by staff in 2006 as a part of the HCD Study authorization process, and includes the properties on either side of Queen Street, from the Don River to DeGrassi Street.
  • 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 City of Toronto Heritage Preservation Services has retained the firm of Goldsmith Borgal and Company Ltd. Architects (GBCA) to undertake a study of the area on Queen Street East between the Don Valley Parkway and the railway bridge near Degrassi Street to identify the cultural heritage values of the area and to determine whether it warrants designation as a heritage conservation district.

The Queen Street East Heritage Conservation District Study is being undertaken by a multidisciplinary team and includes:

  • Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd. Architects – GBCA is one of the leading heritage firms in Canada providing consultancy services for projects across the country.  Principal Christopher Borgal has contributed to many HCDs and Heritage Master Plans throughout the Province of Ontario.  Associate, Sharon Vattay, has a Ph.D. in architectural history
  • Wayne Morgan, Heritage Planner – Wayne has extensive experience with preparing HCDs, both as a consultant and formerly as Senior Coordinator for Heritage Preservation Services in the City of Toronto.  While in the public sector, Wayne supervised the production of the Cabbagetown-Metcalfe HCD and the Yorkville HCD.
  • The Landplan Collaborative Ltd – Owen Scott, president of The Landplan Collaborative Ltd (Landscape Architects, Environmental Planners, Heritage Planners), is an experienced landscape architect and horticulturist specializing in landscape conservation. Landplan is assessing the as-found condition of the public realm including street trees.
  • Archaeological Services Inc. – David Robertson, Senior Archaeologist and Manager of Special Projects at ASI, specializes in the analysis of land use histories assessing archaeological potential and landscape integrity.

The purpose of the Queen Street East Heritage Conservation Study is to determine if the study area warrants 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, landscape and other cultural heritage resources that define this neighbourhood.

Background archival research of the history and evolution of the area is underway and survey forms of all properties in the proposed study area are currently being completed.  For those interested in being involved in the survey process, see the Call for Volunteers.

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