Earlier this week, Toronto City Council approved the equivalent of 755 storeys of new development, a lot of which will end up in the downtown core. The translates into 6,887 new housing units and roughly 4 million square feet of new commercial space. The Globe and Mail called it the Manhattanization of downtown.
If you’d like to go through the complete City Council meeting agenda, you can do that here. (I warn you though, it won’t be an exciting read.)
One notable project that was approved is 50 Bloor Street West, which is a 71-storey mixed-use building in Yorkville adjacent to and on top of Holt Renfrew (It includes a $6 million Section 37 contribution). I mention this one because it’s impressively tall and because it’s a project that I was involved with when I was at Morguard. Watch for Yorkville in the coming years, there’s a lot in the pipeline.
While I think this is all incredibly exciting, our chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, is entirely correct in pointing out that all of this highlights the desperate need for better infrastructure, the most critical of which is a relief subway line that cuts across downtown.
But to be clear, this isn’t a question of just planning for growth. This is a question of planning for growth and making up for decades of infrastructure disinvestment. That’s the position we’re in today, which means we have a lot of hard work to do. Though I’m confident we’ll get it done.
The other thing that this level of intensification should highlight for you is that public transit, and other forms of mobility such as biking and car sharing, have to be central to our goals. It’s simply infeasible for everybody to be driving around in a car. We’re currently demonstrating how efficient that ends up being.
So as Toronto continues to intensify, I think we’ll quickly discover that traffic and private cars aren’t the answer or even the right question to be asking.