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.
The 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 updated and expanded 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 Priority Retail Streets are overlaid across the following streets:
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.
City Staff organized and hosted a public consultation/open house on the 5th of September (2019), as well as open office hours on the 22nd, 26th and 30th of August (2019) where members of the public and/or stakeholders were provided opportunities to inquire about and provide feedback 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-392-7215