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Christie’s Planning Study Responses from the City of Toronto

We have been liaising with the City of Toronto in regards to the Christie’s Planning Study, which is being conducted simultaneously, and with consideration from, the development of the Park Lawn Lake Shore Transportation Master Plan. City staff recently presented the draft Secondary Plan, Zoning By-law, and Urban Design and Streetscape Guidelines for the Christie’s site to City Council, which includes less density, lower  tower heights, fewer buildings and a larger park than first proposed by First Capital.

The City held an online meeting on November 5, 2020, and we submitted further questions to the City in response to the development. We thank Laura Pfeifer from the City of Toronto who with city staff, and in consultation with TTC as needed, provided the responses below:

Q: From the presentation session it sounded like there is already some form of agreement in place with Metrolinx around the development of the Park Lawn Go station. How much information does the city have about this agreement and what would be the likely upstream and downstream service implications?

A: In June 2020, Metrolinx released the Updated Initial Business Case (IBC) for the Park Lawn GO Station. The IBC states that the capital costs of the station will be paid for by a third party developer. The City is not party to to the legal agreement between the developer and Metrolinx. Detailed design of the proposed Park Lawn GO Station is being led by First Capital Realty through a Transit Project Assessment Process. Further information and contact information regarding that process can be found here.

Metrolinx, which will maintain control of the station’s operations, has indicated a need for the station (see the Initial Business Case for the Park Lawn GO station). It is expected that servicing at Mimico station will continue to improve as the GO Expansion Program is delivered to provide all-day two-way service every 15 minutes, or better, along the Lakeshore West Corridor.

Q: Also at the presentation there was some mention of integration of the Waterfront LRT to the Christie’s site. What is the timeline for this and how realistic is this assertion given the current provincial priority development of the Ontario line?

A: The timeline for the extension of the Waterfront LRT from Exhibition Place to Park Lawn, is likely at least 10 years. The TTC is still working on the 30% design for the extension from the Exhibition Loop on Manitoba Drive to the Dufferin Loop. That work requires alignment with the extension of the Ontario Line station at Exhibition Place. The current focus is on coordinating the planning and design for the combined LRT/GO/Ontario Line Stations.

Q: There was mention that Humber Loop will be improved, and maintained by the TTC, will additional service be added to west of Humber Loop to support the increase in population in that area? Will this service also extend beyond Park Lawn Road into Mimico, New Toronto, and Long Branch or terminate at “Street B” on the Christie’s site?

A: Humber Loop is being retained to maximize operational and service flexibility in the area. There are no confirmed service plans for streetcar service in the corridor; these will be developed with consultation with affected communities when timelines for construction and resulting ridership patterns are known.

Q: So far the plan for managing traffic accessing the surrounding community and Gardiner Expressway consists of adding an access road around the perimeter of the site (Street A) and potentially a second left turn lane on northbound Park Lawn. The rationale for this is that this will be a transit priority community. However the City’s proposal provides slightly more residential parking than the First Capital proposal. How can the assertion of a transit first community be reasonably made while simultaneously advocating for more residential parking?

In addition, what other provisions does the city expect to take to reduce further intensification of traffic in the neighbourhood? Especially when accessing the Gardiner, which is already sub-optimal?

A: The Christies Secondary Plan is a transit-oriented plan that prioritizes transportation infrastructure improvements and a compact mix of land uses to encourage more people to use transit, walk, and cycle to get around. The City recognizes the area currently experiences traffic congestion and some people will still continue to choose to drive in the future, especially trucks for the movement of goods. The City’s high-level policy direction focuses on managing and optimizing our existing street network capacity, rather than adding significant new auto capacity through the addition of lanes to streets, highways, and an over-supply of parking.

The parking rate listed in the draft Secondary Plan is being reviewed as part of the Planning Study. The draft Plan also recommends that monitoring programs be undertaken by the applicant at each phase of development to monitor development and travel patterns as the transportation network and improvements are implemented. The monitoring program would include the evaluation of parking availability, usage and location in relation to land use, as well as the performance of shared mobility. This policy is intended to allow for flexibility in the rate of parking provided as travel behaviour may change at each of phase of development. For example, if travel behavior shifts and demand for parking is lower, than the parking rate may be adjusted to suit that change in travel behaviour.

The Park Lawn Lake Shore Transportation Master Plan (TMP) being undertaken in parallel with the Christies Planning Study, is examining a range of transportation infrastructure improvements in a larger study area to help address existing and future challenges. General categories of improvements being considered include improvements to major streets (e.g., Park Lawn Road, Lake Shore Boulevard West, The Queensway), modifications to the Gardiner Expressway accesses, and potential new public street connections. Some examples of potential improvements include: adding a dedicated streetcar transit right-of-way on Lake Shore Boulevard West; adding dedicated, physically-separated cycling infrastructure on Lake Shore Boulevard West and on Park Lawn Road; improving safety at intersections; and new east-west and north-south streets to improve connectivity. The TMP is undertaking comprehensive traffic modelling to help inform the evaluation of potential improvements.

More information about transportation infrastructure improvements being reviewed is available on the TMP website. The City will be seeking stakeholder and public feedback on the evaluation and selection of preferred infrastructure options early in 2021.

Q: What is the rationale for not requiring the development of a school until phase 4? And the Community centre in phase 5? Could these be brought forward to better serve the wider Humber Bay Shores community sooner?

A: Both the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board have expressed interest in having an elementary school on the site. The City has encouraged the school boards and First Capital Realty (FCR) to discuss the opportunities for locating school(s) on the site. Discussions are ongoing. Through the Secondary Plan, the City is protecting space in Phase 3 for both school boards (they have asked for this timing). The provision and funding of schools is a provincial responsibility and the school boards must secure funding from the province in order to purchase the land from FCR and construct the schools.

A community centre is currently planned for phase 5 of the development (15-20 years). The Phase 5 block is the best location to accommodate the building footprint required for a large community recreation centre, it is highly visible and it provides access for the community and proximity to the park and other buildings along Lake Shore Boulevard.

We know there are concerns with this phasing so we are taking this back to see if there are options to get it sooner.

Q: The city defines affordable housing as “housing where the total monthly shelter cost (gross monthly rent including utilities – heat, hydro and hot water – but excluding parking and cable television charges) is at or below one times the average City of Toronto rent, by unit type (number of bedrooms), as reported annually by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.” Currently that would mean rents for a 1 bedroom apartment would be $1,374, a 2 bedroom apartment $1,591, and a 3 bedroom apartment $1,766. Given that the average household income in the city is $65,829 a 3 bedroom unit would still be unaffordable based on tenants spending more than 30% of their income on shelter costs. Furthermore, 1 and 2 bedroom units would remain unaffordable for low income Torontonians. Is the city in a position to be more aggressive with their provision for what is “affordable” as part of this development?

A: City staff recently brought forward a proposal amend the Official Plan to revise the Affordable Rental Housing and Affordable Rents definition, Mid-range Rents definition and the Affordable Ownership Housing definition. City Council has requested that a final recommendation report be brought forward in the first half of 2021 with the recommended amendments. For more information on this work, visit:

Q: Currently there seems to be no direction for how affordable housing should be integrated into the development. Can the city mandate that the units are dispersed through all of the buildings in the development to ensure that those who take advantage of the affordable units are provided the same service as those who do not?

A: After the City secures affordable units through the Secondary Plan, we partner with housing providers like Habitat for Humanity and Options for Homes to manage the units. The goal is to spread affordable units throughout the site (and throughout the development phases). In practice is it often portions of buildings that are developed as affordable units vs. a sprinkling of units in every building because it is easier for the operator to manage. But buildings can be mixed – we do not segregate all units to one building. We recently secured three family sized units within 2160 Lake Shore Boulevard through the Committee of Adjustment.

Q: What improvements are planned to the Toronto Hydro grid to support the additional 7k units? 

A: Toronto Hydro has communicated to us that they provide servicing based on demand. Servicing of each site is reviewed at the time of a site plan application. If upgrades are required they are done as needed and funded by the developer.

This is similar with respect to other servicing infrastructure provided by the City (e.g., water). New development will not be permitted to exceed the capacity of municipal servicing infrastructure within the Secondary Plan area. The draft Secondary Plan’s policies require any service improvements and/or upgrades to be coordinated and phased. Where infrastructure capacity is inadequate to support proposed and planned growth, development is required to provide upgrades and/or improvements to municipal servicing infrastructure. These upgrades and improvements will be secured before development is approved.

Q: The secondary plan states that the developer will be “encouraged” to undertake a range of energy efficiency initiatives, what recourse does the city have to enforce any of these encouragements?

A: For all development applications, the City requires applicants to meet Tier 1 of the Toronto Green Standards and provides incentives if applicants can achieve higher tiers. First Capital is proposing to meet the highest level of the Toronto Green Standard. Further information can be found in their Energy Strategy and Environmental Impact Study.

Q: What safeguards will be in place to mitigate contamination of building materials into the nearby river and lake?

A: Before building construction begins, applicants are required to submit a Construction Management Plan and may be required to submit an Erosion/Sediment Control plan. These reports are reviewed by staff and address issues such as dust and debris on the site and within the neighbouring streets

Q: Will there be any measures to protect the area in the case of rising water levels in the lake/added precipitation?

A: This is something that is being reviewed as part of the development application and not the secondary plan. More information can be found in the Stormwater Management Report that was submitted by the developer as part of their application. City engineering staff review these reports, including a review based on 100 year storm models.

If you have any other questions or feedback related to the Christie’s Planning Study they can be sent to Laura Pfeifer, Strategic Initiatives, Policy & Analysis,, 416-395-7059, or for the Park Lawn Lake Shore Transportation Master Plan, to Robyn Shyllit, Senior Public Consultation Coordinator,, 416-392-3358, or to Councillor Grimes’ office at

For other useful materials visit:
City of Toronto Christie’s Planning Study website
City of Toronto Park Lawn Lake Shore Transportation Master Plan

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