Private Development Thresholds

The design review process is most beneficial in areas which are experiencing pressure to address issues of mixed-uses, contextual fit and quality, and where the challenges of integrating new development into established urban contexts, or into entirely new urban contexts are common. Because of this, design review for private development focuses upon targeted Growth areas of the City which are experiencing these challenges, such as the Centres, Avenues and along Transit Priority corridors.


The Toronto Design Review Panel will review, in particular, new Site Plan and Rezoning applications which satisfy the following criteria:

  1. All publicly-initiated projects containing significant visual and physical public realm impacts (e.g. Environmental Assessments, new buildings such as police stations, fire halls and libraries, new parks, and new policies which contain public realm implications);
  2. All large-scale site plan and rezoning applications within the Design Review Districts (e.g. Downtown Toronto, Etobicoke City Centre, North York City Centre, Scarborough City Centre, Yonge-Eglinton Centre, Fort York Neighbourhood, and Humber Bay Shores); and
  3. Applications which contain significant public realm impacts as a result of their location, scale, form or architectural quality, if they are located along:
    • an Avenue (see Official Plan map 2);
    • a Major Street (see Official Plan Map 3);
    • a Surface Transit Priority Corridor (see Official Plan Map 4 and Map 5).


Exclusions – Private Development

Projects which have little or no impact upon the public realm such as projects with grade-related residential uses and 1-storey commercial developments are excluded from the Design Review process.