May 14, 1998
To:Toronto Community Council
From:Commissioner of Urban Planning and Development Services
Subject:Urban Design Task Force Railway Lands Central and West (Downtown)
The purpose of this report is to summarize the discussions and recommendations of the Railway Lands Central and West
Urban Design Task Force.
Source of Funds:
There are no funding requirements for the 1998 budget, however, funding should be allocated in the 1999 Capital Budget
for Works and Emergency Services as per recommendation 6 below.
Recommendations: (1)That Council adopt the recommendations from the Urban Design Task Force and work group set out in Appendix AA@
to form part of the Urban Design Guidelines for the Railway Lands Central and West.
(2)That a statement be added to the Precinct Agreements for the Concord Adex lands indicating that all development
proposals shall have regard for the Urban Design Guidelines.
(3)That staff prepare revised Urban Design Guidelines for the Railway Lands Central and West for adoption by Council in
the fall of 1998.
(4)That an Urban Design and Environment Advisory Group be established for the Railway Lands Central and West to
provide ongoing review and advice regarding development and that Urban Planning and Development Services staff report
to Council in the fall of 1998 on terms of reference and membership for the Advisory Group.
(5)That the City=s Storm Water Group and the Wet Weather Master Plan Steering Committee be requested to comment on
opportunities and techniques for on-site storm water management within the Railway Lands.
(6)That preliminary design drawings be prepared for the Portland Street vehicular bridge and the pedestrian bridge
between Portland Street and Spadina Avenue including cost estimates, and that funds be allocated in the 1999 Works and
Emergency Services Capital Budget to hire consultants to assist in the preparation of the drawings.
(7)That Council direct staff to undertake the work outlined in the conclusion of this report as background for the Urban
Design Guidelines and to advance the implementation of plans for the Railway Lands Central and West.
On March 19, 1998, the Toronto Community Council adopted the Terms of Reference and membership for an Urban
Design Task Force for the Railway Lands Central and West.
The purpose of the Task Force was to provide an opportunity for area landowners and community and business groups to
review the urban design work done to date in the Railway Lands Central and West and to give advice to staff on public
open space, i.e. streets and parkland, issues in the Railway Lands Central and West.
The Terms of Reference requested members to give advice on:
(a)identifying issues related to public spaces which are to be addressed in the urban design guidelines for the Railway
Lands Central and West;
(b)creating an Open Space Master Plan for the Railway Lands Central and West;
(c)developing criteria for and design details of the public space system, streetscape and civic design;
(d)developing design objectives for the pedestrian and vehicular bridges at Portland Street and between Portland Streets
and Spadina Avenue; and
(e)locating and phasing public art.
The Task Force was chaired by Councillor Olivia Chow (Ward 24), and membership included two City Councillors, area
landowners and leaseholders, community and resident groups and four Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) appellants. A
complete list of members and attendees is included as Appendix B.
The Task Force reviewed the urban design framework presented by the urban design work group, consisting of four
architects and a landscape architect. This work group was set up by Urban Planning and Development Services staff in
November 1997 and its members were asked to review the changes to the Official Plans and Zoning By-laws for the
Concord Adex lands, and to make suggestions for the development of urban design guidelines. The participants were:
George Baird, Ken Greenberg, Michael Kirkland, Bruce Kuwabara, and David Anselmi. The recommendations of the work
group were originally attached as an appendix to the March 19, 1998 report to the April 1, 1998 Toronto Community
Council which established the terms of reference and membership of the Urban Design Task Force. The revised
recommendations of the work group now form part of the recommendations of the Urban Design Task Force, and are
included in Appendix A of this report.
The Task Force also helped to address concerns raised by four of the parties which made OMB appeals to the Concord
Adex amendments to the Railway Lands Plans. The OMB directed City staff to review the urban design issues raised by
these appellants as part of the work of the Task Force.
Three of the four OMB appellants who were members of the Urban Design Task Force have withdrawn their appeals based
on the work of the Task Force and additional discussions with City staff and Concord Adex representatives. The Urban
Design Task Force addressed a number of the issues raised by the fourth appellant whose outstanding issues were
dismissed by the OMB at its May 8, 1998 hearing.
In addition to the recommendations of the Urban Design Task Force, City staff agreed to minor official plan and zoning
by-law amendments to settle issues raised by three appellants including one who was a member of the Task Force. The
official plan and zoning by-law amendments which formed part of OMB settlements have been addressed in the report of
the City Solicitor which was at the May 13, 1998 meeting of City Council.
The Task Force met four times and covered the range of topics set out in the Terms of Reference. The following is a brief
summary of the meetings, which led to the summary of issues to be included in the Urban Design Guidelines listed in
Meeting one, held April 7, 1998 was a background and briefing session. The background and scope of the Task Force were
reviewed, and each member introduced themselves and stated their interests related to urban design and the public realm in
the Railway Lands Central and West. A number of common interests emerged, including streetscape design, a connected
open space system, recognition of Garrison Creek and the Fort York open spaces system, public art, public safety,
composition of the skyline, pedestrian bridges across the rail corridor, and protection of GO idling yards and compatibility
of uses. Some discussion was held regarding the character and function of the northern linear park, the open space and park
program, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) service along Bremner Boulevard, and future library service for the area. It
was agreed that the exact location of the pedestrian bridge between Portland Street and Spadina Avenue should be left
flexible, and be the subject of further community input.
There was discussion and a recommendation regarding the design and timing of the construction of the Portland Street
bridge. The discussion focused on the need for a vehicular bridge to be built across the rail corridor as early as possible. I
am therefore recommending that the preliminary design drawings and cost estimates be prepared for the Portland Street
bridge to advance planning for this structure.
Meeting two was held on April 22, 1998 and began with a presentation by the urban design work group, who gave an
overview of both open space and built form issues in the Railway Lands Central and West. This was followed by a number
of presentations including a draft of the Open Space Master Plan and the community park programming requirements,
including the School Boards= requirements. Of major concern were the character, design and safety of the northern linear
park, and a recommendation was made that this park be conceived as a public corridor and a visual extension of the public
street system.. A representative from TTC made a brief presentation about existing and future service in the area, and a
recommendation was made to eliminate the LRT right-of-way in favour of bus service along Bremner Boulevard.
Presentations on bicycle planning and streetscape design also led to recommendations for both detailed and comprehensive
design guidelines, including a draft bicycle master plan.
Urban Planning and Development Services staff were requested to consult with Parks and Recreation staff and incorporate
the Garrison Creek Interpretive Area into the Open Space Master Plan for the Railway Lands Central and West.
There was also discussion and a recommendation encouraging on-site storm water management.
Additional work by City staff was requested to analyse traffic capacity for a three lane cross section on Bremner Boulevard,
particularly intersection capacity.
Meeting three was held on April 27, 1998 and began with a review of the Draft Outline for the Urban Design Guidelines.
This outline provided a framework into which the recommendations have been inserted as a starting point for the final
Urban Design Guidelines for the Railway Lands Central and West. This was followed by presentations and discussions on
the design of the bridges, pedestrian crossings at major intersections, and particularly the Bathurst Street frontages.
Recommendations were made regarding further detailed design for the intersections, pedestrian safety, and the design
process for the pedestrian bridge between Portland Avenue and Spadina Avenue. Finally, there was an overview of the
City=s public art program and a brief summary of the next steps in the planning process.
Staff was asked to prepare preliminary design drawings for the following intersections, with the objective of providing full
(a)Lake Shore Boulevard and Portland Street;
(b)Lake Shore Boulevard and Spadina Avenue;
(c)Lake Shore Boulevard and Rees Street;
(d)Spadina Avenue and Bremner Boulevard; and
(e)Bathurst Street and Bremner Boulevard.
The final meeting was held on May 4, 1998 and was a review and summation of the recommendations made. The
documents reviewed included: the recommendation for an ongoing Urban Design and Environmental Advisory Group, a
revised summary of recommendations of the urban design work group, a summary of issues of the Task Force to be
included in the Urban Design Guidelines, and a summary of further actions to be recommended to Council.
The discussion of the ongoing Advisory Group included reference to the Gardiner Lake Shore Task Force, and it was
recommended that a representative from the Gardiner Lake Shore Task Force also attend the Railway Lands Central and
West Urban Design Advisory Group. Staff will report to Council on the terms of reference for the Advisory Group in the
fall of 1998.
The recommendations of the Task Force fall into two categories: Appendix A of this report represents a summary of the
issues for the urban design guidelines, and is organized into the draft outline of the guideline. The second category of
recommendations requires further work by staff, and can be summarized as follows:
(a)analysing capacity requirements for Bremner Boulevard between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street related to a
three-lane cross section, with particular regard to intersections;
(b)amending the Stadium Precinct Agreement to eliminate the requirement that a median be included as part of the initial
construction of Bremner Boulevard;
(c)reviewing the design of the intersections of Bathurst Street, Portland Street, Spadina Avenue and Rees Street with Lake
Shore Boulevard W., and intersections at Spadina Avenue and Bremner Boulevard and Bathurst Street and Bremner/Fort
York Boulevard, to achieve full pedestrian movements;
(d)reviewing other opportunities to cross the Lake Shore/Gardiner Corridor, including pedestrian bridges over Lake Shore
Boulevard and below the Expressway;
(e)discussing minimum clearances required for bridges over the rail corridor with the rail corridor operators and owners;
(f)identifying possible locations for a library to serve the Railway Lands, Harbourfront, Bathurst/Strachan and the Niagara
Neighbourhood and opportunities for the early funding and construction of a library;
(g)reviewing the possibility of a pedestrian or vehicular route along the Brant Street alignment from King Street to Front
Street in the context of the King-Spadina Part II Plan; and
(h)discussing opportunities for additional tree planting along the waterfront West LRT on Queen=s Quay W. with TTC
The final Urban Design Guidelines will be prepared by staff and forwarded to Council in the fall of 1998 for adoption. Contact Name:Lorna Day
Telephone (416) 392-7733
Fax (416) 392-1330
Acting Director, City Planning, Toronto Community
(p:\1998\ug\uds\to981598.pln) - lm
Railway Lands Central and West Urban Design Task Force
and urban design work group
Summary of Issues to be addressed in the
Urban Design Guidelines
Section 1 Objectives for Development: The Public Realm
Connections to the City
Define the character of Spadina Avenue and Bremner Boulevard and emphasize the role they play as Atwo powerful
streets which traverse the plan north-south and east-west@, and ensure these streets have all the characteristics of great
urban boulevards such as well-defined edges, public character, lively uses and attractive sidewalks.
Define the new neighbourhood as a place through a unified design approach for all new development, and particularly
emphasize the need for Bremner Boulevard and Spadina Avenue to act as unifying elements.
Emphasize the potential for Agateways@ on Spadina Avenue at Front Street and Lakeshore Boulevard, and prescribe
streetwalls and towers at these locations. Additional measures should be set out at the site plan approval stage when the
first Development Context Plan is prepared.
Open Space Master Plan
Incorporate an Open Space Master Plan for the Railway Lands west of SkyDome, including a full network of streets and
parks, linkages into publicly-accessible open space and public streets, into the Urban Design Guidelines for the Concord
Adex lands and the remainder of the Railway Lands West.
Include a plan for an interconnected system of bicycle and pedestrian routes within the Railway Lands and surrounding
area, which should be developed in the context of the Open Space Master Plan.
The Structure Plan
Include a structure plan to form part of the Urban Design Guidelines showing the context of Harbourfront,
Bathurst/Strachan and King Spadina.
Examine the potential for a view terminus at Bremner Boulevard and Spadina Avenue.
Build the major infrastructure of public spaces such as streets and parks and bridges in the early stages of the development
and in particular, the Urban Design Guidelines should express strong support for the early construction of the Portland
Street Bridge and the pedestrian bridge between Portland Street and Spadina Avenue.
Section 2 Pedestrian Amenities and the Design of the Public Realm
Design of the Central Neighbourhood Park
Accommodate the needs of the local residents and the programming requirements of the proposed community centre,
elementary schools, and preschool daycare in the design of the Neighbourhood park.
Review the following program and design considerations:
- active and passive uses e.g. playing fields, strolling, sitting
- community centre programming e.g. outdoor classes, community events
- school requirements e.g. hard and soft play areas
- preschool daycare requirement for secure outdoor play space
- hard and soft areas, this is related to the use and the balance between the two
- adults= and childrens= programs
- local circulation patterns and views
- planting and greening
- historic references e.g. shoreline
- grade changes
- storm water retention
Design of the Northern Linear Park and Blue Jays Way Extension
Define the northern linear park as a public corridor in its entirety, including design of facing uses, a fire access route,
pedestrian and bicycle access, a continuous narrow street, if feasible, to enhance safety and public character.
Ensure that the detailed design of Blocks 29 and 32 include an extension of the public corridor along the Northen Linear
Ensure that there is no street along the northern limit of Block 36.
Provide bicycle and pedestrian routes in the parks, particularly in the northern and southern linear parks.
Ensure that the grading of the northern linear park permits connections under the Bathurst Street Bridge, the Portland
Street Bridge abutment, the Spadina Avenue Bridge, and connections to Garrison Creek.
Design of Streetscapes
Design Bremner Boulevard to accommodate a surface bus route rather than a dedicated LRT right-of-way in order to
minimize the pavement width within the right-of-way.
Refine the draft streetscape sections, and include the final versions as part of the Urban Design Guidelines.
Review the portion of Bremner Boulevard between Portland Avenue and Bathurst Street to ensure adequate streetscape
treatment on both the north and south sides of Bremner Boulevard.
Establish a wide landscaped boulevard on the north side of Bremner Boulevard to accommodate a double row of trees,
cafes, benches, bicycle parking, etc., exclusive of any weather protection.
Consider the use of evergreen understorey material in the street boulevards.
Consider the use of evergreen plant materials in public areas such as the Neighbourhood Park and the linear parks, and in
private open spaces and courtyards.
Identify opportunities and techniques for on-site storm water management within the Railway Lands, including the use of
infiltration beds on individual development sites.
Include the proposed re-creation of the historic Lake Ontario shoreline at Fort York as an opportunity for storm water
Co-ordinate underground servicing in order to optimize tree planting opportunities.
Design of Spadina Avenue Bridge
Recognize the long-term potential for retail on the Spadina Avenue bridge.
Design of Permanent Pedestrian Bridge
Do not determine the location of the pedestrian bridge between Spadina Avenue and Portland Street at this time. Location
criteria should be established as part of the Development Context Plan for the area and consideration should be given to a
technical review of the alternate locations.
Consider safety, wind conditions, clearances over the rail corridor, accessibility for cyclists and strollers, adequate width
for two-way, side by side bicycle and pedestrian use, lighting (including low level lighting of the bridge deck), public art
and seating in the design of the permanent pedestrian bridge between Portland Street and Spadina Avenue.
Encourage a design competition for the permanent pedestrian bridge and include an artist on the design team.
Encourage a continuous colonnade or canopies along Spadina Avenue, including spaces between buildings and across the
bridge. Weather protection on Bremner Boulevard should also be encouraged and could vary depending on the type of
building facing the street. Minimum dimensions of arcades should be established.
Environmental Issues and Microclimate Remediation
Include references to the following environmental issues:
-microclimate including wind and sun/shade
-landscape and planting including species diversity, use of native plants, planting for energy conservation and the potential
of planting to improve air quality
-storm water management including use of permeable surfaces and various techniques
-auto minimization through the design of street sections, priority for bicycles, pedestrians and transit routes
-energy efficiency and conservation including the use of renewable energy sources
-district heating and cooling
-water conservation including treatment of on-site water
-air quality including indoor air quality
-waste management and sewage treatment
Prepare the Public Art Master Plan for the Railway Lands Central and West as early as possible.
Incorporate appropriate site specific safety standards with reference to the City=s Safer City Guidelines.
Accessibility and Bicycle Planning
Include a plan for bicycle and pedestrian routes in the entire area of the Railway Lands West and Central as part of the
Open Space Master Plan.
Phasing and Long Term Planning
Consider the recommendations of the Gardiner Lake Shore Task Force in the design of the southern edge of the Railway
Lands Central and West.
Pedestrian Crossings at Major Intersections
Review preliminary designs for the intersections at: Lake Shore Boulevard West and Bathurst Street, Portland Street,
Spadina Avenue and Rees Street; Spadina Avenue and Bremner Boulevard; and Bathurst Street at Bremner/Fort York
Boulevard and incorporate full pedestrian movements and signals. Consider the design of these intersections both with and
without the Gardiner Expressway.
Consider pedestrian safety and TTC access in the design of the Bathurst Street and Bremner Boulevard intersection.
Section 3 Building Block Guidelines
Streetwall and the Definition of the Public Realm
Establish strong and continuous streetwalls, particularly on Bremner Boulevard and Spadina Avenue. Building setbacks
along the north side of Bremner Boulevard should follow the curve of the street, and encourage a generally continuous
Encourage the following minimum heights to ensure appropriate streetwall:
-12 metres on side streets
-20 metres on Bremner Boulevard and Portland Street west of the park
-30 metres on Spadina Avenue and Front Street
Establish a datum line for colonnades and arcades along Spadina Avenue, as well as base buildings to provide consistency
to the streetwall and continuity with the King-Spadina built form.
Tower Locations, Orientation and Design
Consider the position and shape of the towers as one composition to create urban design coherence and to frame streets,
and parks, and define intersections.
Establish detailed design guidelines for the landmark tower on Block 22, to describe base, shaft and cap definitions and
potential for a tapering floor plate.
Encourage design competitions for all towers in the neighbourhood, particularly for the landmark tower on Block 22 in the
Railway Lands Central.
Grade Related Uses
Ensure the ground floor level of buildings follow grade along Bremner Boulevard, Spadina Avenue and Front Street, and
that floor to ceiling heights be at least 3.6 metres in order to encourage retail and public uses. Recognize that residential
units at grade may require some separation from the public sidewalk but that the height from grade to the ceiling of a
residential unit should be at least 3.6m.
Examples of Building Types: Low, Mid and High Rise
Include descriptions and illustrations of several building typologies, including towers, mid-rise and row housing.
Block by Block Guidelines
Encourage the extension of the public street system through Block 20/23, to be implemented at the time of site plan
Urban Design Task Force
Railway Lands Central and West
Task Force Members:
Councillor Olivia Chow, Ward 24 (Chair)
Councillor Joe Pantalone, Ward 20
Councillor Kyle Rae, Ward 24
Henry Man, Concord Adex Developments Corp.
Marc Hewitt, IBI (for Concord Adex Developments Corp.)
Bronwyn Krog, Wittington Properties Limited
Kyle Knoeck, (for Wittington Properties Limited)
Joanne Rusnell, SkyDome
Charles Munroe (for SkyDome)
David Sadowski, Canada Lands Company
Norm Jarus (for Canada Lands Company)
Bud Purves, TrizecHahn
Paul Mailer, Goodman Phillip & Vineberg (for TrizecHahn)
Karen Fraser, CN Rail
Richard Charkawy, Toronto Terminal Railways Company
Rick Ducharme, GO Transit
Dan Francey (for GO Transit)
David Peters, Housing, City of Toronto
Ross Winter, Housing, City of Toronto
Hugh Durning, Royal Bank
Steve Russell (for Royal Bank)
Pat Colenutt, Harbourfront Square Residents Association
Ajai Kumar, Harbourfront Residents Association
Maurice Anderson, Harbour Terrace
Bill Boyle, Harbourfront Centre
Jo-Anne Azzarello, Toronto Entertainment District Association
Carl Skelton, Niagara Neighbourhood Association
Sylvia Pellman, Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association
Marilyn Roy (for Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association)
Bill Brokenshire, Draper Street Residents Association
Joe Gill, Friends of Fort York
Ian Keith, (for Friends of Fort York)
Catherine Nasmith, (for Friends of Fort York)
Donald Schmitt, Garrison Creek Community Project
John Alati, Trees for Toronto (OMB Appellant)
Mark Sterling (for Trees for Toronto, OMB Appellant)
J. Robert Naylor (OMB Appellant)
Patrick Devine, Goodman and Carr (for City Front Development Inc., OMB Appellant)
Barb Gosse, Goodman and Carr (for City Front Development Inc., OMB Appellant)
R. Scott James (owner 20 Niagara Street, OMB Appellant)
Gil Nefsky, Toronto District School Board
Angelo Sangiorgio, Toronto Catholic School Board
Ken Rose, VIA Rail
Leo Longo, Aird and Berlis
Ken Greenberg, Urban Strategies (urban design work group)
George Baird, Baird Sampson Architects (urban design work group)
David Anselmi, PMA Landscape Architects Ltd. (urban design work group)
Michael Kirkland, The Kirkland Partnership Inc. (urban design work group)
Bruce Kuwabara, Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (urban design work group)
Josie Tomei, CP Railway Company - Real Estate
George Kapelos, Toronto Society of Architects
Mary Hay, Metropolitan Waterfront Coalition
Leslie Woo, Waterfront Regeneration Trust
Bill Coukell, Harbourfront Community Centre
Gary Reid, The Toronto Harbour Commissioners
Michel Trocme, Urban Strategies (for urban design work group)
Technical Work Group:
Robert Glover, City Planning
Lorna Day, City Planning
Brian Jackson, City Planning
Lynda Macdonald, City Planning
Eric Pedersen, City Planning
Jane Perdue, City Planning
Rollin Stanley, City Planning
Robert Stephens, City Planning, Safe City
John Mende, Works and Emergency Services
John Niedra, Works and Emergency Services
Barry Hughes, Parks and Recreation
Yvonne Yamoaka, Parks and Recreation
Bonnie Duncan, Property Services
Richard Stromberg, Heritage Toronto
Mary-Ann George, Toronto Transit Commission
Bill Dawson, Toronto Transit Commission
Dan Egan, City Cycling Committee, Urban Planning and Development Services
Carolyn Whitzman, Safe City Committee, Urban Planning and Development Services
Joe Ruscitti, Toronto Catholic School Board
Grant Moore, Toronto District School Board
Technical Work Group - Interested Parties Staff:
Paul J. Bedford, Executive Director and Chief Planner, City Planning Division
Stephen Bradley, Solicitor, Corporate Services
Maggie Easton, City Planning
Ann-Marie Nasr, City Planning