Bob Fabian's LIFE Courses

A Great Yonge Street

[Presentation slides (as pdf files) attached below.]

Here are my initial thoughts about the course:

My focus is on Yonge Street between Dundas Square and Yorkville. By no stretch of the imagination could this part of Yonge Street be called “Great”. But there are major changes coming. There are more than a dozen new multi-million dollar towers going up, approved, or planned for this section of Yonge Street. Dundas Square is already a recognized “place”, and there are ambitious plans for Yorkville immediately east of Yonge Street. Yonge is not yet a Great Street, but there's an opportunity for it to become one.

This course is really an exploration of the Great Street potential for Yonge (between Dundas and Yorkville). Yonge Street has the history and the mind-share to become a Great Street. Yonge Street was the first street of Upper Canada. John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada (1791 to 1796), conceived and promoted the street. It's now Canada's longest. Many Canadian's view Yonge Street as Toronto's Main Street, and have a personal connection to the street.

There is a new North Downtown Yonge Street Planning Framework that is guiding development along the street, … notwithstanding the challenge it faces before the Ontario Municipal Board. There is an Heritage Conservation District study underway that is due to report in the near future. The redevelopment of the physical street is part of the 2016 capital budget for the city. There is active discussion of making Yonge Street a recognized cultural corridor. And the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area has ambitious plans to guide retail along the street.

Add in all the development dollars, and future residents. There is a real opportunity for Yonge Street to become a recognized Great Street.


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