The City has partnered with the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) to turn the open space behind 200 Wellesley St. into a public park. Both the TCHC and the City are jointly overseeing the project including stakeholder consultations, design engineering, tendering and construction supervision.

Project Timeline

  • June 2021: Hire a design team
  • June 2021 to Late 2022: Detailed design
  • Early 2023: Hire a construction team
  • Late 2023: Construction starts
  • 2026: Construction complete, park opens

The timeline is subject to change.

The Open Space Redesign is one of the key projects identified in the St. James Town Connects planning study approved by Council in 2018. As part of this project, the open space behind 200 Wellesley St. at Ontario St., will be turned into a public park operated by the City of Toronto.

The design for this project was created based on community feedback gathered in 2017-2018 (see Project Updates for details), and will include:

  • natural play
  • water play
  • a large open lawn
  • lots of new planting

In addition to the new park, improvements to Ontario Street adjacent to the space will also be improved, including a potential market area.

While we aim to provide fully accessible content, there is no text alternative available for some of the content on this site. If you require alternate formats or need assistance understanding our maps, drawings, or any other content, please contact Laurel Christie at 647-462-5093 or Laurel.Christie@toronto.ca.

The final concept plan is dated June 11, 2018 and shows the improvements proposed for the area bounded by Wellesley Street East, Bleecker Street, St. James Avenue and Ontario Street. Improvements include a potential market area, an Ontario Street promenade, St. James Plaza and Table Top, a Natural Play and Water Play area, an open paved courtyard, stage, large lawn, community tables and barbeque area, community gardens, games room, seating and planting.

  1. The Market
  2. The Promenade
  3. St. James Plaza
  4. St. James Avenue Table Top
  5. St. James Avenue
  6. Water Play
  7. Natural Play
  8. Open Paved Courtyard
  9. The Stage
  10. The Lawn
  11. Community Tables and BBQ
  12. Community Gardens
  13. Garbage Bay Area
  14. Games Rooms
  15. The Deck
  16. Low Landforms

June 11, 2018

Open House

Staff from City Planning, Transportation Services and Parks, Forestry and Recreation, as well as the consultants on the TCHC project, answered questions and collected feedback at an Open House. The local Councillor and approximately 100 members of the community attended. The plans for the St. James Avenue, Ontario Street walkway and TCHC Open Space were well received, with many of the questions and comments related to implementation, timing and recent development applications in the community.

February 14, 2018

Community Session

The Community Session included a meeting with Toronto Community Housing in the late afternoon and a tenants meeting in the evening. The afternoon meeting included a presentation, Q&A and discussion regarding the concept plan for St. James Avenue, the Ontario Street walkway and TCHC-owned Open Space. The evening session included a presentation and one-on-one conversations at the display panels.

A total of 15 community members attended the afternoon session at 200 Wellesley Street East and 50 community members attended the evening Community Session at Rose Avenue Public School. Comments were related to the following key themes:

  • safety
  • parking and streets
  • open Space
  • seniors
  • programming, facilities and amenities
  • community gardens
  • building operations

Key directions for the projects team included:

  • organize the market to accommodate a variety of stalls and vendors
  • ensure a robust landscape in the area of the stage
  • provide opportunities to include public art and area for sports
  • ensure the playground includes naturalized landscape, a canopy over the play structure
  • ensure playground accommodates multi-use
  • provide more opportunities for seniors
  • try not to anticipate the use of the space, refine it after the new space is created

February 9, 2018

Youth Outreach Meeting

The meeting was facilitated by team members from The Planning Partnership and City Planning. Participants were identified by TCHC staff through invitations to the two Advisory Youth Councils and contacts with local schools. Participants were organized into three groups and were given an overview of the proposed concept design. Feedback was collected about the likes and dislikes of existing space and the proposed plans. Group discussions with sticky notes and visuals occurred. Participants also sketched ideas and used precedent photos to show where they would like to see certain elements on the proposed plans.

The main concerns youth participants had with the existing space and recurring ideas on how to improve it included:

  • to feel welcome and safe in the neighbourhood
  • cleaner spaces and more open spaces
  • better lighting
  • nice aesthetics
  • eco-friendly spaces with lots of plants
  • bright and colourful outdoor space
  • a representation of different cultures

February 6, 2018

TCHC Design Review Panel

The concept plan was presented to the panel. Feedback from the meeting included:

  • Develop a stewardship and phasing plan to ensure ongoing maintenance and successful use of the space. A maintenance facility should be considered for a park this size
  • Push the scope of the project to help activate the Open Space through both the residential and retail program
  • The design should consider the aerial view of the space given the density of units in the surrounding tower
  • The market layout is well developed but the design should now focus on the design details of the infrastructure provided
  • Street furnishings, including bike storage is necessary to ensure a coherent plan
  • The plan should be used as a benchmark for the future development of the design in the greater context of the St. James area. The plan should be superimposed on the larger context plan and treated as Phase I of the long term strategy for the neighbourhood
  • Download the meeting minutes

December 2017

Stakeholder Meeting

A Stakeholder Meeting was held with TCHC and St. James Town residents, TCHC staff, local agencies, consultants and City staff. The purpose of this meeting was to get feedback on opportunities for Open Space programming, as well as development of the market pilot and other community economic opportunities. Other comments and issues discussed included:

  • providing active recreational opportunities on the lawn space
  • identifying spaces for dogs
  • a stage
  • washroom facilities
  • durable materials
  • water play feature
  • arts and culture programming

There was support for the fruit and vegetable market that had been in the neighbourhood. Other ideas related to the market and community economic development included:

  • creating an incubator space
  • food vendors (would potentially need access to commercial or community kitchen)
  • repair/reuse opportunities

Issues related to operation and management of the market were also explored including:

  • formal structures (e.g. shipping containers)
  • a mix of permanent and temporary vendors
  • access for neighbourhood residents to the market

Summer 2017

Summer Gathering Festival

A community engagement workshop was held at the St. James Town Service Providers Network Summer Gathering Festival. Engagement included interactive activities such as visual preference images, a neighborhood solutions game and mapping game.

Common themes from the feedback at this event were poor storage and management of waste, maintenance of public spaces and concerns about safety. Community priorities included:

  • kid-friendly design
  • space for active recreation
  • safety upgrades including lighting
  • gardens
  • greening
  • elements that bring joy and colour to the space

Programming ideas included outdoor movies and farmers markets.

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