Historian of the city, politics, and society
Over the past year, the City of Toronto has used provincial heritage legislation to press “pause” on redevelopment in two areas under intense growth pressure: Yonge Street between Bloor and College, and the King-Spadina district. Both areas were first built up in the second half of the nineteenth century, and possess hundreds of century-old heritage buildings. Today, both are prime sites for residential redevelopment, with condo towers rapidly replacing older structures.
In January 2016 Yonge was declare a Heritage Conservation District (HCD), a change that will not only ensure the preservation of its historic streetscape, but likely give City planners extra leverage when negotiating the shape and scale of future construction. The latter concern looms large in today’s rapidly redeveloping city. Now King-Spadina seems slated for similar treatment, and City Council has passed a holding bylaw halting development until the completion of its HCD study. This afternoon, I was interviewed by CBC News Toronto’s Michelle Cheung on this creative use of planning powers to assert the public interest in the development process (story at 11’56”). Read more about the bylaw passed today here.