Downtown’s network of commercial main streets is a defining feature of Toronto. The small shops, services, restaurants, cafés and bars found on the main streets serve the needs of local residents and workers, while destination retail such as the Eaton Centre and Yorkville draws visitors from around the city and region. These shopping streets contribute to Downtown’s vibrant and walkable neighbourhoods, provide employment opportunities and play a key role in animating and activating streetscapes.

The Downtown Plan designated Priority Retail Streets on those streets with a historic and emerging neighbourhood retail character.

The Priority Retail Streets will be implemented through a Zoning By-law that will provide direction on the land use requirements for the streets identified in the Downtown Plan.

Currently, Priority Retail Streets are identified in the former City of Toronto Zoning By-law 438-86, Section 12, and they require a minimum of 60% of the lot frontage of development on designated streets to be dedicated to street related retail and service uses. By-law 438-86 also specifies the list of uses which must be provided to meet this intent.

The Downtown Plan updates and expands the number and locations of Priority Retail Streets to include the areas that are a focus for growth within Downtown. The policies require that the ground floor of developments contain quality space for retail and related animating non-residential uses; encourage specific design elements to protect the prevailing character of the street; and require that larger format stores be located on the second or lower levels of new development, or wrapped by smaller stores.

The policies within the Downtown Plan ensure that the frontages and grade-related uses on Priority Retail Streets are active, contain non-residential gross floor area, and animate the street frontage through high-quality design.

At City Council’s meeting during May 2018 for approval of the Downtown Plan, Council directed the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to prepare necessary amendments to Zoning By-law 569-2013 and former City of Toronto Zoning By-law 438-86 as it relates to Retail Priority Streets, and undertake public consultation on the draft amendments.

Further background material:

The Downtown Plan Study Area in which the Priority Retail Streets are located within is bounded by Lake Ontario to the south, Bathurst Street to the west, the mid-town rail corridor and Rosedale Valley Road to the north and the Don River to the east.

The Downtown Plan Study Area in which the Priority Retail Streets are located within is bounded by Lake Ontario to the south, Bathurst Street to the west, the mid-town rail corridor and Rosedale Valley Road to the north and the Don River to the east.

The Priority Retail Streets are overlaid across the following streets:

North-South
  • Bathurst Street between the mid-town rail corridor and Vermont Avenue, and between London and Lennox Street
  • Augusta Avenue between College and Dundas Street
  • Kensington Avenue between Baldwin and Dundas Street
  • Spadina Avenue between College Street and the Gardiner Expressway
  • John Street between Queen and Front Street
  • York Street between Front Street and the Gardiner Expressway
  • Avenue Road between Davenport Road and Bloor Street
  • Hazelton Lane between Scollard Street to Yorkville Avenue
  • Bellair Street between Yorkville Avenue and Bloor Street
  • Bay Street between Scollard Street and Hagerman Street
  • Yonge Street between the mid-town rail corridor and the Gardiner Expressway
  • Church Street between Yonge Street and the Esplanade
  • Market Street between Front Street and the Esplanade
  • Sherbourne Street between Queen and Front Street
  • Parliament Street between Wellesley Street and the Gardiner Expressway
East-West
  • Dupont Street between Bathurst Street and Kendal Avenue
  • Yorkville Avenue between Avenue Road and Yonge Street
  • Cumberland Street between Avenue Road and Yonge Street
  • Bloor Street between Bathurst Street and Sherbourne Street
  • Harbord Street between Lippincott Street and Spadina Avenue
  • College Street between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue, and between Elizabeth Street and Yonge Street
  • Carlton Street between Yonge Street and Parliament Street
  • Baldwin Street between Augusta Avenue and Spadina Avenue, and between Beverley Street and McCaul Street
  • Elm Street between Bay and Yonge Street
    Dundas Street between Augusta and River Street
  • Queen Street between Bathurst and River Street
  • King Street between Bathurst and York Street, and between Yonge Street and St Lawrence Street
  • Front Street between Spadina Avenue and York Street, and between Yonge Street and Parliament Street
  • Wellington Street between Yonge and Church Street
  • The Esplanade between Yonge and Market Street

 

The Minister’s recent decision on Official Plan Amendment 406 (Downtown Plan) has removed the areas covered by the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan from the Downtown Plan (roughly the area between Bathurst and the Don River, south of the Gardiner Expressway, plus the West Don Lands). Learn more about the Minister’s and City Council’s decision.

Current Public Consultation

City Staff will be organizing and hosting a public consultation/open house on the 5th of September (2019), as well as hosting open office hours on the 22nd, 26th and 30th of August (2019) where members of the public and/or stakeholders can inquire about and provide feedback on the Priority Retail Streets.


Public Consultation/Open House

September 5, 2019:
  • Time: 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Place: Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Room 310

Open Office Hours

August 22, 2019:
  • Time: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  • Place: Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, Room B1
August 26, 2019:
  • Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
  • Place: Lillian H Smith Library, 239 College Street, Auditorium BC
August 30, 2019:
  • Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
  • Place: Fort York Library, 190 Fort York Boulevard, Meeting Room

Previous Community Consultations on the Priority Retail Streets:

As part of the community engagement and consultation process for the Downtown Plan, Priority Retail Streets were consulted with the public. Information on the public engagement and consultation processes are available.

For additional information on the consultation processes, and on the Priority Retail Street project, please contact Igor Dragovic at igor.dragovic@toronto.ca or 416-392-7215