July 21, 2010
Toronto’s longest street may soon be getting a facelift! Finally, after way too many years of stagnation and neglect. Let’s hope that the new projects will be multi-faceted and mixed use, making Yonge Street a great Toronto destination.
According to the Globe and Mail:
“Consider the signs: Four substantial high-rise projects are going up along Yonge Street between Bloor and Gerrard streets. A major commercial real-estate firm, Primaris, has bought property on both sides north of Dundas Street, although the company isn’t yet revealing its plans. And Ryerson University is moving aggressively to carve out a presence around the intersection of Yonge and Gould Street.
What’s more, a growing number of residents, businesses and local politicians are talking openly about wider sidewalks, bike lanes and reducing Yonge south of Bloor to two lanes – especially at Dundas, which has become one of Canada’s busiest pedestrian crossings.”
Why has this taken so long? “…several factors have worked against redevelopment: a large number of very small properties owned by investors reluctant to sell; the presence of the subway tunnel just east of Yonge, which limits large-scale building projects;” says Councillor Kyle Rae in the Globe, “… and the importance of heritage storefronts.”
While this sounds like amazing news, we musn’t forget that condos are not the be-all and end-all of improving the vibrancy of a neighbourhood or a street. Lets hope that they have excellent retail tenants, beautiful boulevards and streetscaping, and really end up creating a destination in the city opposed to removing the colourful character of the current Yonge Street strip, and bringing back the life from 1901.