Today, walking, cycling and transit make up nearly three-quarters of the trips in the St. Lawrence and Distillery District neighbourhood, yet there have been more than 340 collisions on this corridor in the last five years, 10 per cent involving people walking or cycling, and one per cent leading to serious injury or death. The Esplanade is also being used as a bypass to Front Street and Lower Jarvis Street. This non-local traffic leads to congestion, pollution and noise, and delays to TTC service.

In addition, one of the project objectives is to complete installation of any improvements prior to construction impacts related to the nearby bridges that cross the Metrolinx Rail Corridor (Lake Shore East line) as part of the Union Station Rail Corridor East expansion projectThis project will close Lower Sherbourne Street cycle tracks and the Lower Don Trail access to the waterfront starting in 2022. The Lower Don Trail access to the waterfront will also be interrupted due to Waterfront Toronto work starting between 2022 and 2023.

To learn more about the context and considerations that shaped this project, watch the following video.

Key Considerations

Segments of the project.

To develop the proposed changes, a number of internal and external stakeholders were consulted and various local factors were considered. The three segments of this project, Mill Street, Parliament Square Park and The Esplanade, have unique constraints and opportunities that factored into the final design.

Considerations for each segment of the corridor were as follows.

Design considerations for The Esplanade included:

  • Designating the limited available space in the right-of-way
  • Managing high volumes of pedestrian and vehicular traffic
  • Coordinating with the David Crombie Park revitalization
  • Coordinating with St. Lawrence Market operations
  • Maintaining parking and loading where possible
  • Accommodating TTC bus routes

Design considerations for Parliament Square Park included:

  • Lack of available space on the existing park path
  • Coordinating with current and planned park uses
  • Coordinating with current and planned First Parliament Site uses
  • Considering existing conditions, including site contamination and slope

Design considerations for Mill Street included:

  • Designating the limited available space in the right-of-way
  • Planning for complex intersections, including pedestrian, vehicle and streetcar crossings
  • Maintaining parking and loading where possible
  • Coordinating with new developments
  • Accommodating TTC bus routes

There have been over 340 reported collisions along The Esplanade and Mill St corridor between 2015 and 2019, 10 per cent involving someone walking or cycling, and one per cent leading to serious injury and death.

Due to the high population of seniors living in the area, The Esplanade is a designated and signed Seniors Safety Zone.

Additional safety enhancements along the corridor are under review as part of the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.

Senior riding bike along The Esplanade
St. Lawrence Market loading dock

The North St. Lawrence Market Redevelopment project is currently under construction and on schedule to open in the second quarter of 2022. The temporary St. Lawrence Market Tent would then come down.

The events and people associated with the First Parliament site have shaped the City of Toronto and Ontario. It is where the first purpose-built parliament buildings were constructed in 1797, establishing York (now Toronto) as the capital of Upper Canada. These buildings are also best known for being burned down by the Americans during the War of 1812.

The City of Toronto is undertaking the First Parliament Project to reimagine the site, including the existing park space at the southern end of the property.

David Crombie Park is a 1.6 hectare (3.95 acres) linear park in east downtown Toronto that functions as the green spine of the St Lawrence Market Neighbourhood. David Crombie Park is situated within an area of cultural and heritage significance. It is located just south of the original footprint of Old Town Toronto.

The David Crombie Park Revitalization Design project will develop a comprehensive conceptual design and implementation plan for improvements to the park that meet the current and future needs of the community. The revitalization design for David Crombie Park includes a continuous accessible path through the park blocks, meant for walking and other uses at walking speed.

As the “green spine” of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, David Crombie Park provides a range of vital park uses that are priority to keep and improve, including two large playgrounds that are shared by three schools and the community, a wading pool, a water feature, horticultural beds, seating areas, open lawn areas for flexible use, a basketball court, and a significant tree canopy.

Metrolinx is pursing the Ontario Line with planned stops nearby, including both the Corktown and East Harbour stops.

In addition, the Union Station Rail Corridor East expansion project involves closures for construction on Lower Sherbourne Street, which informs the timeline for this project.