There’s no doubt that Toronto’s Downtown is growing and has been for decades. In fact, the Downtown population has doubled since the last comprehensive urban planning framework initiative took place in the 1970s—which is where TOCore, a new urban planning study working to ensure that Toronto’s Downtown growth is strong and well supported, comes in.
Representatives from TOCore met with the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association (SLNA) on Sept. 30, seeking their feedback as they approached the end of the first phase of their plan.
“The purpose of TOCore is to keep our Downtown a great place to live, work, learn and play,” said TOCore project manager Andrew Farncombe, “We’re trying to ensure that the growth that we have and will continue to have will contribute positively to the future livability of the Downtown.”
TOCore has almost finished analysing the existing conditions and development in the Downtown and will soon move on to begin drafting the infrastructure plans and strategies that will be the first comprehensive planning framework initiative the city has taken since the 1970s.
“The growth Toronto is undergoing right now is spectacular to say the least,” said Farncombe, “This study was initiated to deal with that growth, particularly to look at how our infrastructure is keeping up with the growth.”
One of the more pressing concerns for St. Lawrence Neighbourhood residents was the need for park space and whether new park space will be able to keep up with the Downtown’s growing population. As one resident pointed out, Downtown parks will have approximately 100,000 people using them.
“We are building new parks. We are building privately owned publicly accessible spaces (POPS) as well,” reassured TOCore architect James Parakh, “Depending on where a site is, there’s between 5% and 15% of that land that is supposed to go into new parkland.
“Our colleagues in parks are increasingly coming to the understanding that they need to take the land. More and more recently, we’ve been seeing our parks colleagues take land for new development and that’s in all areas of the city.”
Other residents were concerned about the growing dog population and whether TOCore will take dogs and their needs into consideration.
“We are negotiating the ideas of on-site dog areas in condominiums, particularly the podium roofs, that don’t actually have to use the public realm,” said Parakh, “We recognize that a growing population also means a growing dog population.”