Effective June 1, 2022 – Changes to the Pedestrian Level Wind Study and Sun/Shadow Study
Terms of Reference Application Support Materials are periodically updated to ensure application requirements are current and reflect changes in legislation, technical requirements and evolving best practices. This page provides notice of these upcoming changes and their effective date.

Effective June 1, 2022 – Changes to the Pedestrian Level Wind Study

Description

A Pedestrian Level Wind Study (‘Wind Study’) is a technical report that provides a model and written description of the wind impact of a development. The Wind Study will inform and direct the development design to be wind responsive, and ensure that wind conditions in and around the development are appropriate at various times of the year. The City’s Pedestrian Level Wind Study Guide document provides additional requirements.

Rationale

A Pedestrian Level Wind Study deals with the mechanical and safety effects of wind on people and how conducive it is to pedestrian use of outdoor areas in the city. The purpose of the Study is to reduce undesirable wind activity, allow proper air circulation and to create comfortable spaces that encourage outdoor pedestrian usage throughout the year. Thermal comfort is further addressed in Official Plan policies.

  • 3.1.2.1 “Development will be located and organized to fit with its existing and planned context. It will frame and support adjacent streets, lanes, parks and open spaces to promote civic life and the use of the public realm, and to improve the safety, pedestrian comfort, interest and experience, and casual views to these spaces from the development by: f) providing comfortable wind conditions and air circulation at the street and adjacent open spaces to preserve the utility and intended use of the public realm, including sitting and standing”
  • 3.1.2.13 “Outdoor amenity spaces should: d) provide comfortable wind, shadow and noise conditions;”
  • 3.1.3.10 “The tower portion of a tall building should be designed to: d) limit and mitigate pedestrian level wind impacts.”
  • 3.2.3.3 “The effects of development from adjacent properties, including additional shadows, noise, traffic and wind on parks and open spaces will be minimized as necessary to preserve their utility.”
  • 3.1.1.18 “New parks and open spaces will be located and designed to: c) provide a comfortable setting with wind and sunlight conditions that promote use and enjoyment of the space for community events and by users of all ages and abilities;”

When Required

The City will require a Wind Study for a Zoning By-law Amendment if the triggers below are met.

The City may require a Wind Study for the following application types:

  • Official Plan Amendment (if the triggers below are met)
  • Site Plan Control Application

Triggers

“Triggers” refer to properties or circumstances of a project, such as (but not limited to) the scale, massing, height, location, density of surroundings and proximity to important areas, are known to be contributing factors for noticeable wind impacts surrounding a proposal under review. The City’s Pedestrian Level Wind Study Guide document identifies categories of triggers, including: height related to geographical location, and additional (special) conditions such as context.

If the application meets the conditions specified under the list of triggers, then Wind Study/Studies would be required for the project.

Project height triggers are classified into three levels – Low, Moderate and High– and are related to the location of the project. A Wind Study will be required for developments over six storeys / 20 metres in height. Following the Height Trigger classification of the project, if one or more of the following apply to the project, the project will shift to the next higher Trigger Level.

  • Projects with two or more buildings that are six storeys / 20 metres in height or taller.
  • Projects with a building(s) that is six storeys / 20 metres in height or taller, and located on the waterfront, adjacent to parks and ravines, other open spaces, cultural and natural heritage areas, schools, playgrounds and outdoor recreational spaces, and other areas deemed pedestrian sensitive at the discretion of the City of Toronto.

Required Contents

A written report documenting the Wind Study and conclusions must be provided. The report must comply with the requirements and format provided in the Pedestrian Level Wind Study Guide document. Template A should be located at the front of the report.

The report should include the following:

  1. Project Context Scenarios / Massing Scenarios
  2. Areas of Interest
  3. Design Criteria
  4. Documentation

If applicable/required, Peer Review.

a. Project Context Scenarios / Massing Scenarios

Wind Study reports should present the following scenarios:

  • Existing Scenario: existing site and all existing context, including surrounding buildings, significant topographic features, developments under construction and projects that were approved for construction in the last 5 years.
  • Proposed Scenario: Proposed project within its context.
  • Mitigation Scenario(s), if required: Undesirable wind conditions should be mitigated primarily with changes to the building siting and massing. Where mitigation is required to achieve appropriate pedestrian wind comfort levels, mitigation measures should be implemented to the Proposed Scenario in order to demonstrate the benefits of the mitigation strategies.
  • Phasing Scenario(s), if applicable: Where the site construction is phased, there is a need to assess interim design phases, to avoid adverse conditions before subsequent buildings are added to the site. The City may ask for the study of different design phases for the site.

b. Areas of Interest

  • Wind Studies will focus on the public realm and shared open space(s) on the site and adjacent to the site. Wind Studies should also review wind impacts on outdoor amenity spaces.

c. Design Criteria

  • Comfort and Safety Criteria must be met for all development applications and should comply with City standards.
  • Pedestrian wind comfort and safety assessment shall be done for four seasonal periods.

d. Documentation

The study may include the following:

  • Long-term meteorological data that was used for calculation
  • Documentation of all relevant scenarios and the physical context being modelled.

Peer Review

If the City is not satisfied with the level of experience demonstrated by the consultant or wishes to verify the results of a study, a peer review of the Wind Study may be required by the City. The cost of the peer review is to be borne by the applicant.

Effective June 1, 2022 – Changes to the Sun/Shadow Study

Description

To provide a visual model and written description of the impact of shadows cast by a proposed development on surrounding streets, parks and open space (including natural areas), privately owned publicly-accessible spaces and other properties. The Sun/Shadow Study is done to evaluate the impact of shadows at various times of day, throughout the year.

When Required

A Sun/Shadow Study may be required for the following applications for developments over six storeys / 20 metres in height:

  • Zoning By-law Amendments
  • Site Plan Control applications (Complex applications only)

A Sun/Shadow Study may also be requested for developments that are less than 20 metres, in particular for Rezoning Applications where additional height is applied for near shadow sensitive areas (such as parks and open spaces, schoolyards, cemeteries, etc.). The requirement for, and scope of this work, should be discussed with the Planner and Urban Designer during Pre-Application Consultation meetings.

General Details

The Sun/Shadow Study may need to be resubmitted as part of the Development Review Process if changes to the building siting, massing and design are proposed and/or recommended.

Sun/shadow testing of alternative building massing may be required during the application review process to assist in making decisions about how to best achieve Council’s goals regarding sun/shadow impacts.

The Model

A typical model will include all streets, blocks, parks and open spaces, as well as buildings to a distance adequate to show the shadow impacts during requested times.

The model will be presented in two parts, the first showing the existing conditions and the second showing the proposed development in its context. The proposed development context should include other approved but not yet constructed buildings within the model area. These should be graphically distinguished from the proposal and the existing built context.

Shadow diagrams should be provided in colour to a standard metric scale and include a bar scale on each sheet labelled in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 100 and 200 metre increments.

“As-of-right” or other site-specific applicable shadow conditions should be indicated clearly by a contrasting colour single-line overlay with explanatory notation provided in a printed legend, using the City’s Shadow Study Drawings Standards – Colour Analysis.

A Sun/Shadow Study should be done for March 21 and September 21 at hourly intervals between 9:18 am and 6:18 pm. All times are based in the Eastern Time Zone and must take into account Daylight Saving Time.
Development that proposes additional shadow impacts on parks and open space (including natural areas), will require supplementary sun/shadow tests at hourly increments for June 21st and December 21st to provide additional information on the impacts of shadows. Additional times may also be requested to respond to specific site contexts.

Submission Requirements

The Sun/Shadow Study will include:

  • A cover letter and completed checklist summarizing the Study and the sun/shadow impacts of the proposed development and any and all measures that will be taken to minimize shadow impacts by the development on neighbouring streets, parks and open spaces (including natural areas), public squares and other shadow sensitive properties (such as schoolyards, cemeteries, etc.).
  • Images of sun/shadow tests in both existing and proposed context using digital models, that clearly indicate the development site, its boundary, the footprint and mass of buildings within the test site, and any streets, parks and open spaces on/neighbouring the site.
  • Images of the sun/shadow tests for the existing context and with the proposal should be laid out either on a single page or pages side-by-side as this will assist in understanding the impacts.
  • Eight bound paper copies and a PDF digital copy of the Study for distribution and review by appropriate agencies.
  • One digital copy of the digital model (in .skp file format) used to undertake the Sun/Shadow Study.
  • Large mounted versions of the Study at critical times or PowerPoint images may be requested for public meetings.