Kingston Road is one of Toronto’s main streets and is one of the City’s important Avenues. However, the role of Kingston Road as the “Main Street” within the Birch Cliff community has declined since the early 1990s. There are a number of commercial vacancies, storefront conversions to apartments, buildings in need of repairs and car repair and sales establishments that currently occupy key sites along this Avenue. Historic zoning and land use patterns are also factors that have contributed to the deterioration of this main street.
The purpose of the study was to develop a revitalization strategy for Kingston Road that promotes reurbanization and reinvestment along Kingston Road in the context of the policies and directions of the City’s Official Plan and that built upon and supports local community improvement initiatives.
The main objectives of the study were:
i) To identify issues, obstacles to, and opportunities for, the revitalization of this segment of Kingston Road.
ii) To identify key sites/areas where reinvestment or redevelopment would be appropriate and approaches and actions (City, local community, private property owners) to promote the revitalization of Kingston Road.
iii) To determine the appropriate mechanisms and establish priorities to implement the approaches and options proposed to facilitate the revitalization of Kingston Road.
The focus of the study were properties immediately fronting along the north and south sides of Kingston Road throughout the Birch Cliff Community. The broader area incorporated was reviewed to provide a better understanding of the neighbourhoods adjacent to these properties and in identifying where efforts should be focused to achieve Revitalization along this segment of Kingston Road.
The Kingston Road Revitalization Study was conducted in three Phases:
This phase provided an overview and analysis of existing conditions within the study area such as: land use, housing, population, environment, infrastructure, economic, transportation, community services and facilities, and planning policies and tools that can be used to promote revitalization. Issues, obstacles and opportunities for revitalization will be identified.
Principles for change, key sites/areas, approaches and actions needed to promote revitalization were identified, analyzed and assessed during this Phase of the study. Preferred options and priorities were established. A Visions Report was developed through the working group process and community consultation meetings.
The final phase of the study included the preparation of a strategy to implement the preferred options and approaches to revitalization along Kingston Road. Both public and private actions were identified. Flexibility in the range of mechanisms or tools and the application of these tools formed key elements of the implementation plan.
In September 2005, Council adopted the Terms of Reference for the Kingston Road Revitalization Study. The Terms of Reference included the scope and area of the study and the framework for finalizing the study.
The Phase 2 – Vision Report established the Vision for the Kingston Road Birch Cliff corridor as a vibrant, animated, and pedestrian oriented main street, with new mid-rise, mixed use buildings, and parks, squares and open spaces that reflect the arts, cultural and heritage attributes of the Birch Cliff community.
The report included guiding principles for the redevelopment along the Kingston Road corridor with instruction for staff to report back to City Council on the implementation strategy for future developments including amendments to the zoning by-law, the official plan, urban design guidelines and a streetscape improvement plan.
The Phase 2 – Vision Report provides a clear framework for the revitalization of Kingston Road as an Avenue for the City and a main street for the Birch Cliff Community.
The Phase 3 – Implementation Report of the study included the development of a comprehensive strategy to achieve the Vision which includes four strategic components that together will encourage reinvestment and redevelopment along Kingston Road.
The four strategies included:
i) Advancing policy changes that included permissions on a wider range of land uses, provisions regulating height, density, building setbacks, bicycle parking and identifying required Section 37 community benefits;
ii) Creating urban design guidelines to direct development along Kingston Road that addresses the physical requirements for site layout, buildings and sustainable development principles;
iii) Establishing a transportation strategy or transportation framework for improvements for parking, transit and the pedestrian and cycling environments will be implemented through the reconstruction of Kingston Road, improving signage along bike paths, integrating future and existing bike paths with the waterfront trail system, in accordance with the draft streetscape improvement plan; and
iv) Engaging residents, local artists and business owners to participate in the development of streetscape improvement initiatives that improve the existing character of Kingston Road and enhances the cultural resources and identity of the community through the refinement of the streetscape improvement plan for Kingston Road.
The report also included a draft/proposed streetscape plan for the reconstruction of Kingston Road between Victoria Park Avenue and Birchmount Road which was initiated in 2013 and completed in 2015.
i) Phase 1 – Study Area Profile
The Phase 1 – Terms of Reference was adopted by City Council on September 28, 29 and 30, 2005 (Report No. 7 of Scarborough Community Council, Clause 20)
ii) Phase 2 – Vision for Kingston Road (Birch Cliff Community)
The Phase 2 – Vision report was adopted by City Council on July 15, 2008.
iii) Phase 3 – Implementation
The Phase 3 Implementation report was adopted by Council Council on January 26, 2010.
iv) 2010 Technical Amendments to the Zoning By-law
Item No. 2010.SC31.21 – Kingston Road Revitalization Study (Birch Cliff) – Victoria Park Avenue to east of Glen Everest Road – Phase 3 Report
v) 2013 Technical Amendments to the Zoning By-law
vi) 2014 Technical Amendments to the Zoning By-law