PlazaPOV: How Toronto’s strip plazas contribute to commerce and community

City Planning is studying commercial strip plazas (or “strip malls”) across Toronto to understand how they serve local communities and contribute to the city’s economy. Please see below to learn more about our approach and how you can get involved.

About Strip Plazas

We have identified over 320 strip plazas across Toronto (and counting), defined as an attached row of commercial units with separate entrances, typically one to two storeys in height and sometimes includes residential units.

Strip plazas were developed predominantly between the 1950s-1980s to serve the daily needs of local residents in the growing inner suburbs of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough, which at their peak housed approximately 75% of the City’s population.

Many of today’s strip plazas are located in areas with high concentrations of racialized and immigrant populations and often include businesses, restaurants, food stores, services and amenities that reflect Toronto’s diversity.

Strip plazas provide a wide range of goods and services as well as employment opportunities. Vacancies were uncommon in the identified plazas, which support over 2,600 establishments including cafés, grocers, retailers, health services and professional services, and account for roughly 11,700 jobs.

Strip plazas are increasingly facing redevelopment pressure, with the potential risk of losing affordable retail, commercial and community space through development.

For more information on Strip Plaza’s see the project summary.

The PlazaPOV Study will explore:

  • Local Community Connection – the relationship between strip plazas and the function they serve for both local and ethnic communities.
  • Supporting Economic Growth – how affordable spaces in strip plazas incubate and support small business and contribute to a diverse economy.
  • Redevelopment Impacts – how the loss of affordable commercial space can be mitigated to avoid displacement through redevelopment.
  • Public Realm – how the physical environment of strip plazas can be improved or retrofitted to contribute to a vibrant public realm and support the role of strip plazas as social hubs.

The PlazaPOV Study consists of four components:

  • Research: Gather and review existing information on strip plazas including background information and assessment of current conditions.
  • Engagement: Conduct consultation with community members and interested parties, as well as BIA’s and business owners.
  • Alignment: Identify and align with related work streams.
  • Recommendations and Next Steps: Determine a path towards implementation of potential policy interventions, programs or initiatives.

For more information on the PlazaPOV Study see the project summary.

Online and in person engagement activities where you can share your thoughts, submit questions, and provide input will be posted here once available. You can also share your feedback and questions at any time with the project team at PlazaPOV@toronto.ca.

Subscribe for PlazaPOV E-updates

Type (don’t copy and paste) your email into the box below, check the box next to the e-update description and then click “Subscribe”. You will receive an email with instructions to confirm your request.

 

City Planning is studying commercial strip plazas (or “strip malls”) across Toronto to understand how they serve local communities and contribute to the city’s economy. Subscribers will receive updates related to PlazaPOV Study including notices about upcoming meetings, events, ways to participate and get involved, project milestones and Council and Committee decisions. You can unsubscribe at any time.

City Planning collects your personal email address under the legal authority of Item 2015.PG8.9 City Council Decision 4 as confirmed by the City of Toronto By-law 1367-2015. The information will be used to provide periodic updates related to the PlazaPOV Study including notices about upcoming meetings, events, opportunities to provide feedback and information, ways to participate and get involved, project milestones and Council and Committee decisions. Questions about this collection can be directed to the Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Policy and Analysis, City Planning, Metro Hall, 55 John Street, 22nd Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3C6 or by telephone at 416-392-4524.