Toronto contains the second largest concentration of high-rise apartments in North America. Most were built half a century ago, during the City’s post-war expansion. The Tower Renewal Project is a major initiative to update these buildings, and make them part of green and equitable future Toronto. Improved energy efficiency, reduced car dependence, increased recycling, more usable green space and local food production are among the many objectives of the project.
A recent City zoning change is expected to open the door to exciting changes in hundreds of these buildings.
Until now, these older towers were zoned purely residential, and were forbidden to add the commercial or community land uses that new mixed use buildings often include.
The new Residential Apartment Commercial zone will permit a number of small-scale commercial and community uses on specified apartment building sites, providing opportunities for new ventures which will contribute to the vibrancy and diversity of apartment neighbourhoods, and should improve the lives of those living there. The new uses may include, for example, small shops, food markets, cafes, learning centres, barbershops, doctor’s offices, community centres and places of worship. The money from the new uses may also help fund energy efficiency improvements and other needed updates.
Revitalization and re-naturalization of the bare lawns around the buildings is also being evaluated.
City Council adopted the supplementary report as amended on June 10, 2014. The Planning and Growth Management Committee’s decision made at the May 29, 2014 meeting is also available (see item PG33.7). The presentation made at the Committee is available.