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Small-scale retail is set to return to Toronto

Progress is happening slowly but surely.

Over the years we have spoken a few times about this nice little coffee shop on Shaw Street here in Toronto. It is a good looking and widely visited coffee shop that has made many guest appearances on urbanist Twitter.

The problem, though, is that it was a real battle to get it approved, thanks to the opposition of a single neighbor. That’s all it takes to hold up a new project. In this case it was a coffee shop. But it could also be thousands of new homes.

But that was then. Today if you look on the City of Toronto’s website you’ll actually see this exact coffee shop on a page that speaks to the benefits and the historic role of small-scale retail, service, and office uses.

Right now these uses are only permitted in low-rise neighborhoods on major streets and through an amendment to the Zoning By-Law (unless the nonconforming use already exists). This is a lot of unnecessary work (see above) and it has translated into a steady decline in these sorts of uses across the city.

Thankfully, the city is now looking to change this and permit these uses on an as-of-right basis. So it looks like the good fight was worth it.

For more info, head over here. And if you’d like to attend the public meeting to talk about how brilliant this is, you can do that on July 5 over at City Hall.

1 Comment so far

  1. doug pollard

    The coffee shop story reminds me of one in Ottawa. There was a shop that had a single table outside.. more of a symbol I guess. A patron who was sitting there was bumped by another shopper and the shopper was splashed by hot coffee which as we know from the infamous McDonalds case is considered a lethal weapon in North America. The shopper who was a tourist I think, filed some sort of complaint and the store was fined. They elected to remove the damming table from the public arena. You guessed it that same table was used in Ottawa advertising material trying to convey just how cosmopolitan the city was. This of course is the same city that has disallowed hot dog vendors n its market and which also has kept the buskers in a separate area so as not to interfere with pedestrian traffic


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