ohsdrThe OCA is very proud to announce the release of the Ossington Avenue High Street Development Review — click the image, or click here, to read it. The OAHSDR was released to the members of Community Council yesterday, and the OCA is now making it available to the general public.

The OAHSDR was prepared by Arris Strategy Studio for the OCA. The principal author of the OAHSDR is Terry Mills, BArch, Registered Professional Planner. One of Terry’s many accomplishments is establishing and running The Midtown Plan, a framework tying together the many different players with a hand in the complexity of Yonge–Eglinton. Suffice to say that Terry is a bigshot renowned for seeing the patterns in chaos.

The OAHSDR makes a great read for its sensitive description of the character of the area, especially against a background of extensive historical research. The Review proposes a certain profile for the widely discussed “109OZ” site — basically five storeys with a 28 degree angular plane. My fellow planning geeks will be engrossed for many hours.

Here is the executive summary of the OAHSDR judgements pertaining to “109OZ”:


  • It is a full-on Avenues solution in a non-Avenues context.
  • It is out of scale and character, diminishing the significance of buildings and spaces.
  • It has a character, texture and treatment that conflicts with the existing urban grain.
  • It is unsustainable, and cannot be readily replicated elsewhere on Ossington Avenue.
  • It involves setting precedents, that can only be used as parts in other types of projects.
  • It creates adverse impacts on the adjacent Neighbourhood, not currently experienced.
  • It creates undesirable conditions of overview & overshadowing on the Neighbourhood.
  • It does not pass the tests of fit, respect and improvement:
  1. interlacing into the Ossington Avenue High Street’s existing context
  2. incorporating compatibilities appropriate to future increments of development
  3. contributing to the maturation of Ossington Avenue’s streetscape, and locality
  • It does not incorporate Ossington Avenue’s memories, but rather extinguishes them.

Cover letter below the jump: Read More





… lotta action over a product no one seems to want …


They say condos are sold like salami: what counts is not the # of units but the total square footage. By OCA calculations, this project has sold 48.7% 46.0% of the residential floorplate:

… interesting the way identical units are coming back out in blocks of fours — suggests bulk purchasers may have simply walked away from the deal …

… the question is not completely straightforward to answer, but cursory examination suggests that close to the entire eastern flank of the building is back on the market

Dear Chief Planner Keesmaat,

In your letter to Jessica Wilson of 13 February, you state that the area-specific Official Plan policy for the ‘Ossington Strip’ will need to recognize that /Mixed Use Areas/ should provide for growth. The attached graphic shows that the recognized provision for growth necessary for an area-specific Official Plan policy is compatible with a restriction of new development to the low-rise level.


The attached graphic shows also that such a restriction has been imposed in 13 other area-specific policies in the Toronto-East York district. Five of these prevail in what are, arguably, Toronto’s most culturally or otherwise significant districts (174 Yonge-Dundas; 211 Yorkville; 197 Kensington; 200 Chinatown; 155 Church-Wellesley); two prevail in the bohemia of decades past (334 Bloor/Annex; 199b Baldwin Village); one preserves a quaint half-block (164 St Joseph Cottages); the remaining five prevail in areas of long-term fashionability among the upper classes (231 Yonge/Rosedale (N); 210 Yonge/Rosedale (S); 198 Annex/Old Yorkville; 199a Avenue-Pears; 264 Casa Loma). By contrast, despite the long-term cultural dynamism of the ‘West End’ (Old Toronto south of Dupont, Bathurst to Roncesvalles), no such restriction prevails anywhere in the West End.

The attached graphic shows finally that, as the geographic ‘hub’ of the West End and, for nearly a decade, the West End’s gold standard and central meeting-place, the Ossington Strip is unequalled in its significance for this dynamism. The Official Plan valorizes this sort of cultural dynamism at 2-8 and 3-32, and promises it protection in 2.2.1P2b and 3.5.2P5. Such protection for the Ossington Strip is presumably at least as warranted as that prevailing in various elite promenades and relics of old bohemia.

We urge City Planning to at last take up the crucial issue of culture as this process rolls to its end. In our view, Chief Planner, you face a choice about the legacy you will leave for Toronto: you can by neglect permit free enterprise to steamroll what is genuinely lively and alluring about this city; or you can follow the past Planners who protected those areas of cultural and historical significance that we now appreciate as our city’s greatest treasures.

Benj Hellie
Ossington Community Association (Corporation)

at present the west end does not have a bikeway system in any reasonable sense


an ambitious plan fixes this:


South of Harbord, the East-West options are (2) dodge car doors on College (3) cruise pleasantly up Argyle-Robinson.

The proposal for Argyle is for a “contra-flow” bike lane: in addition to the existing one-way traffic, an additional lane would run bikes the opposite direction of traffic. The Toronto Bike Lane Design Guidelines for contra-flow bike lanes look like this:


Argyle between Ossington and Givins is 6m wide thanks to the row of silver maples planted there around 2003. Argyle also at present has a parking lane. The street depicted in 2B8 is 1.3m wider than Argyle. Apparently the “absolute minimum” width for contra-flow is 1.5m (see p10). Still, 1.1m need to come from somewhere. But where!?!?!?

— ah! the solution is blindingly obvious: convert Argyle into a traffic sewer for midrise condos and chain stores!!!!!


Did we ever announce that the Ossington Visioning Study is more-or-less finalized? It seems to be: the community work group has all but tied a bow on this document, which is the one City Planning is accommodating in its Area Policy, and therefore seems to be the one with policy significance. Does this make it “finalized”? What exactly it is for something to be “finalized” is a fascinating metaphysical question, one we would be delighted to debate until the wee small hours.

If in the course of pondering this vital issue, you feel the need to come up for air, you can read this document: the “All-But-Finalized Ossington Visioning Study Planning Principles”. We think it is pretty sound and very valid. You should enjoy it.

Just got back from an excellent meeting with City Planning (Tom Rees, Deanne Mighton, Lynda Macdonald); Chris Walker, Benj Hellie, and Rob Corkhum also in attendance. Tom went over the Visioning Process Principles one by one, discussing how these are, to the best of Planning’s ability, to be incorporated into the Ossington Official Plan Amendment.

The main issue still under deliberation concerns the Area 2 mid-rise block. We discussed a variety of concerns with such a block, including that it would undermine built form coherence, disrupt the character of the business district, bring large and small chain stores in its wake, bring shadow/blocking of sky/overlook to dozens of residential properties, bring increased traffic and associated decrease in safety to pedestrians and bicyclists, encourage loss of industrial uses and associated employment, etc. We also talked about why the community has taken there to be a real difference between 4 storeys and higher.

Lynda Macdonald expressed that the community’s communications had raised to salience the distinctive character of Ossington, impacting Planning’s decision to (in the draft OPA principles) keep 7/8 of Ossington low-rise, and again in response to community communications they are now carefully revisiting the Area 2 principles.

All this was very encouraging, and Planning’s letting us know that our voices have and are being heard is empowering news indeed. This should really light a fire under anyone who has not yet weighed in about the Area 2 principles: IF YOU HAVEN’T WRITTEN IN YET, PLEASE DO SO ASAP. HELP US HELP THE COMMUNITY—WRITE PLANNING NOW AT https://ossingtoncommunity.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/spam-the-city/.