Gratitude from the people of DTAH this holiday season

Designing and building isn’t the only way to foster a sense of community. The holiday season is always a good time to channel gratitude and pay it forward in any way we can.

Since 2010, the people of DTAH have reached into their own pockets and pooled their personal resources to assist families who need help by turning their children’s wish lists into a reality. Through the support network built by Native Child and Family Services, the people of DTAH were able to adopt four families this year – we bought gifts for kids and parents and delivered them in time for parents to wrap up for Christmas.

With everyone pitching in what they can, we have managed to be a support for a few families every year and hope to continue to support even more families in the years to come.

Chi Meegwetch – a huge thank you – to the Native Child and Family Services for the support they provide, and for offering us a way to give back.

Yvonne Battista presents Gage Park visualizations to Hamilton community

Yvonne Battista, Landscape Architect and DTAH Associate, presented two concepts for the proposed stormwater feature in Hamilton’s historic Gage Park. The presentation included realistic visualizations to describe the proposed designs. The concepts were very well received, and gained a strong public consensus and support for the project.

Following the Gage Park Master Plan and the Stormwater Management plan completed by DTAH with AMEC in 2010, and on the heels of the Environmental Assessment of the area over 2011-2013, the aim of the Visualization Phase of Hamilton’s Gage Park Redevelopment is to expand public consensus for a stormwater management feature that will blend with the existing park setting as well as provide flood relief to the residents of the Environmental Assessment study area.

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DTAH leads Dufferin Avenue Study charrette

On December 11, DTAH led a charrette on the Dufferin Street Avenue Study with local stakeholders and City staff at the Glen Long Recreation Centre. During the interactive session the input gathered from the Public Open House meeting held on November 6th, 2013 was presented, and attendees sketched over drawings, manipulated a physical model, and discussed location of future open spaces, appropriate building heights and the makeup of the right-of-way.

The project area, which extends from Lawrence Avenue West to Highway 401, has been identified as an avenue in the City of Toronto Official Plan. The Study will review densities and built forms; improvements to streetscapes, pedestrian amenities, existing community facilities, parks and open space; possible locations for new facilities and implementation strategies.

For more information on the Dufferin Avenue Study, visit the City of Toronto community planning project page at:

Yvonne Lam presents at East Bayfront Community Update meeting

The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Plan includes the extension of light rail transit along Queens Quay Boulevard East. But before tracks are ready to be laid and transit is established, maintaining usability of the area during phased development is a priority.

Interim improvements to address the enhancement of function and safety on the boulevard for all users were presented by Yvonne Lam, Project Manager, at a Community Update meeting on December 3 at the George Brown College Waterfront Campus. Improvements include a new sidewalk and cycle path that will extend the Martin Goodman Trail, as well as new trees and other plantings.

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Megan Torza presents St. Paschal Baylon School design to Advisory Council

On November 27 Megan Torza presented the schematic design for the kindergarten renovation and classroom addition proposed at the St. Paschal Baylon School to the school’s Advisory Council, comprised of teachers, parents, staff and the local school trustee.  Beyond the much needed interior renovation and classroom expansion, accommodating full-day kindergarten programming and enabling the removal of all existing portable classrooms from the site, the design incorporates significant improvements to both vehicular access and safety as well as the landscape amenity on the site, all of which was well received by parents and staff.

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Joe Lobko and Megan Torza participate in Vision Renewal Workshop for Artscape Gibraltar Point

Joe Lobko and Megan Torza were invited by Artscape to participate in a brainstorming session November 26 around the future of their property on Toronto Island, Artscape Gibraltar Point.  The Gibraltar Point facility, formerly the Toronto Island Public and Natural Science School, was transformed by Artscape in 2003 to offer affordable retreat space, studios and accommodations for artists and creative thinkers situated in an idyllic landscape setting steps from Lake Ontario.

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DTAH team place third in international design competition VISIONARY (re)GENERATION

DTAH together with Cohlmeyer Architecture Limited, Integral Group, and BA Group, placed third in the VISIONARY (re)GENERATION international design competition to re-imagine the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry campus. There were 45 Phase 1 submissions, and 6 were shortlisted to Phase 2.

The DTAH team design concept is guided by the premises of a wise use of resources and evolving urban form that allows for choice and adaptation with less reliance on fossil fuels. The approach to the development of the universities recently acquired Southwood greenfield lands is a compact, urban, transit-oriented and climatically resilient “Village” that is seamlessly inter-locked with the campus.

UOM | VISIONARY (re)GENERATION  the exhibition of all competitors work for both Phase 1 and Phase 2 will be on display in University Centre from November 4 -10, and at Manitoba Hydro Place Atrium from December 11-29, 2013.

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Mark Langridge appointed to newly created Metrolinx Design Review Panel

As part of a multi-pronged strategy to integrate design excellence into its significant capital investments, Metrolinx has established a Design Review Panel to review and provide advice on urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture for selected capital projects. DTAH partner Mark Langridge has been appointed as an Ad Hoc member for a 2-3 year team, with particular expertise in bridge design.

The Design Review Panel offers input early in the process to ensure that high-quality design is a critical consideration in all capital projects. The panel is expected to contribute to a culture of design excellence by providing constructive comments and feedback to external consultants and internal project managers and directors, resulting in projects that align with Metrolinx broader mission to deliver high-quality transit and an excellent passenger experience across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

DTAH volunteers in the community

This fall, DTAH had the opportunity to volunteer for Accommodation Information and Support Inc. (AIS) – a local organization who helps people affected by mental health challenges and homelessness get off the streets, have a place to call home and get the help they need. AIS own several properties in Toronto but one in particular fell by the wayside.

DTAH assembled a team of volunteers to help physically improve the front yard of the Riverdale home. Activities included weeding the garden beds, amending and tilling the soil, transplanting and planting new material,  trimming overgrown shrubs, adding a few shrubs and ground cover and laying a small paver area for a future bench.

We are happy to report that our work made a huge difference and it was great to see how excited the residents were about their new front yard and how proud they were when talking to neighbours.

We humbly and happily accepted a gracious letter of thanks from AIS excerpted below:

“[…]With your vision, enthusiasm and guidance, you were able to rally your team of volunteers. The front garden received some tender, loving care. The volunteers labored and toiled for over eight hours, moving soil, placing rocks, digging, adding pavers, planting new flowers and climbers. We also appreciated that you were also able to retain some of the plant material from the former garden.

The tenants, staff and neighbors watched with anticipation the transformation of the garden as the day progressed. Tenants also seemed to enjoy the day, offering their advice and even watering the garden when it was completed. When the teak bench is installed, they can just relax and enjoy the healing nature of the garden.

Congratulations to all the gardeners at DTAH. The garden … is officially the envy of the neighbors!”

Evergreen Brick Works wins 2013 Toronto Urban Design Award

The Evergreen Brick Works design team, led by DTAH, was honoured to receive the only Award of Excellence in the category of Large Places or Neighbourhood Designs at the 2013 Toronto Urban Design Awards ceremony on September 11. The following are a few of the comments from the  jury:

"Over a period of more than twenty years, the Evergreen Brick Works has been transformed from an abandoned industrial site to a vibrant community place that embodies the pillars of sustainability: environment, community and economy. Driven by community action and the support of public agencies, numerous professional designers and artists have played a role in shaping its buildings, spaces and elements.


The TUDA jury lauds the implementation of this long-term vision and the commitment that was required to see Evergreen Brick Works become one of Toronto's most unique urban spaces."

For more on the submissions and winners of the 2013 Toronto Urban Design Awards, see

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Strandherd-Armstrong bridge launched over Rideau River

The City of Ottawa is in the process of building a 143 meter (total length) bridge across the Rideau River between River Road and Prince of Wales Drive. This bridge will be capable of carrying eight lanes of vehicular and transit traffic, two bicycle paths and two sidewalks and will connect Strandherd Drive and Earl Armstrong Road.

Follow the construction progress through images updated every five minutes at:

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DTAH wins 2013 CNU Charter Award for Evergreen Brick Works

Evergreen Brick Works received a 2013 Charter Award, which was announced May 29, 2013 at the CNU 21 conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Charter Awards are the global award for excellence in urban design and only a handful of Canadian projects have ever been awarded. This year nine international projects received awards.

Jurors praised the project for its innovative reuse of a challenging – but historic – built fabric. "The project respects the enterprising spirit and built legacy of the original industrial use while responding to environmental considerations and the need for gathering space within the larger community,” according to the jury remarks.

The purpose of the CNU Charter Awards is to celebrate projects that both embrace the principles outlined by CNU’s founders in the Charter of the New Urbanism and to reward those that go beyond them.

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Megan Torza leading tour of Evergreen Brick Works May 18

Join Architect Megan Torza of DTAH on May 18, 2013, to learn about the transformation of the former Don Valley Brick Works into Evergreen Brick Works.

Megan was a key part of a multi-disciplinary design team that transformed the derelict brownfield site into the environmental community and education centre that it is today. Come explore adaptive reuse in action and a variety of innovative design features from an insider!

Visit Evergreen Brick Works Site Tours webpage for more information.

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Discover the DTAH studio during Doors Open Toronto 2013

DTAH Studio at 50 Park Road

We invite you to explore the inner workings of our studio at 50 Park Road on Sunday May 26 as part of Doors Open Toronto 2013.

This year's theme is entitled 'Creators, Makers and Innovators' and features many older buildings that have been redesigned, re-invented and re-purposed into modern 21st century spaces that host collaborative teams of imaginative people who are creating new ways of thinking, making and doing.

Visitors to DTAH’s studio will experience the history of this modernist building that sits in the Rosedale Valley ravine in the heart of downtown. You are invited to tour the building and examine historical images of 50 Park Road and its evolution over time. Learn about John B. Parkin Associates, the architects who won the building design competition in the early 1950’s, and how they contributed to the design of significant buildings such as Toronto City Hall (1965; with Viljo Revell) and the Toronto-Dominion Centre (1969; with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe).

You can also learn about how DTAH is continuing to shape the city around you, through projects such as Evergreen Brick Works, the WaveDecks and Queens Quay Revitalization on Toronto’s waterfront (with West 8).

Innovation Panel discuss the potential of infrastructure corridors May 14

Redefining Utility: From Infrastructure Corridor to Mixed-Use Public Space
Evergreen presented in partnership with ReNew Canada

Toronto has a vast network of infrastructure corridors—some in use, some abandoned—with the potential for reuse. Unused rail corridors like New York’s High Line are commonly repurposed as public spaces and Toronto has had similar success with its Rail Path, a favourite route of cyclists and joggers. Beltline and linear parks could turn old rights-of-way into multi-use public spaces, creating new parks for city dwellers, taking the pressure off busy roads by providing a separate route for cyclists, and even incorporating agricultural uses.

What are the barriers to these redevelopments and what role does the public have in pushing this agenda?

Moderator: Mira Shenker, PROFIT Magazine
Christopher Hume, architecture critic, Toronto Star
Joe Lobko, DTAH Architects, Green Line competition juror
Dave Harvey, Toronto Park People
Jennifer Keesmaat, chief planner, City of Toronto
Netami Stuart, landscape architect, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, City of Toronto, Green Line competition juror
Edward Keenan, senior editor, The Grid

Jane's Walk May 4 "Transforming Queens Quay"

Celebrate Jane’s Walk on Saturday May 4th along Toronto’s main waterfront street. Inspired by urban thinker Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walk is a series of walking tours designed to help people better understand the cities they live in. Last year, walks were held in 85 cities around the world.

The Queens Quay walk will begin at the Spadina WaveDeck at 1pm. During the walk, participants will learn more about the visionary design for Queens Quay from Waterfront Toronto’s Vice-President of Planning and Design, Christopher Glaisek and West 8 + DTAH landscape architect, Jelle Therry. As the walk moves east on Queens Quay, the group will see first hand how construction is unfolding. Along the way, participants will see where 2.5 million pieces of granite will be installed for an impressive new promenade and how the new roadway will be reconfigured. There will also be time to climb Toronto’s must-see wavedecks and stroll along the water’s edge promenade at Canada’s Sugar Beach.

This is a rain or shine event and RSVPs are not required. More information is available on the Jane’s Walk website.

Walk Details
Date: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Time: 1pm
Duration: Approximately 90 minutes
Locations: Meeting Place – Spadina WaveDeck (Lower Spadina Ave. and Queens Quay)
Accessibility: Accessible

TTC: 509 Harbourfront Bus from Union Station or 510 Spadina
Parking: Paid parking is available to the east and west of the Spadina WaveDeck (at Dan Leckie Way or Rees Street)

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Architecture for Humanity Toronto panel includes Joe Lobko

Architecture for Humanity Toronto, 2013 Lecture & Symposium Series:
April 23, 2013: "Thinking Local" panel members:

  • Joe Lobko, Partner, DTAH
  • Charles Rosenberg, Partner, Hilditch Architect
  • Janna Levitt, Partner, Levitt Goodman Architects
  • Moderated by Ian Chodikoff, Director, Farrow Partnership Architects Inc.

6:45 – 8:30 PM; refreshments begin at 6:00pm
The Centre for Social Innovation Annex, 720 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON

Join us for a series of events discussing communities and architecture. How do communities impact architecture, and how does architecture impact communities? We know how to create more sustainable buildings, but how can we create more sustainable communities? As our lives become increasingly interconnected how do the spaces, in which we interact, adapt to an ever-changing social landscape? We'll explore these issues and more in three dynamic evenings with local and international architects who have pioneered socially engaged design practices.

Pay what you can (Suggested 10$, includes 1 raffle ticket for 1 free 3-month Community Memberships at any CSI location)

For more information, visit:

Lower Don Trail Master Plan Public Meeting

The City of Toronto is hosting a meeting, Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 6:30 to 9 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church, Cody Hall, 227 Bloor St. E., to discuss the Lower Don Trail Accessibility, Environment and Art Master Plan – a project currently being led by DTAH.

The intensification and development of new communities in the Lower Don Valley neighbourhoods will bring an estimated 80,000 new residents into the core of the city.  These new residents will significantly increase the demands put on the Lower Don River valley lands as a place to recreate, commute and explore.

In anticipation of this increased use, Parks Forestry & Recreation, in partnership with Transportation Infrastructure Management and Toronto and Region Conservation, have been undertaking a master planning exercise that will examine accessibility, environmental protection and opportunities for the incorporation of public art on these lands. The master plan is intended to integrate and build on other current studies, planning initiatives, and consultations in the study area.

Places to Grow Urban Form Case Study released on Artscape Wychwood Barns

The Ontario Growth Secretariat has started to list case studies on the Places to Grow website  that illustrate key policies in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The urban form case study on Artscape Wychwood Barns outlines the redevelopment's success in transforming an urban brownfield site “into a multi-purpose facility and public park, while creating a transit-supportive, pedestrian-oriented environment and high quality public open spaces.”

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Rethinking Ontario Place

Bryce Miranda, landscape architect and DTAH partner, was part of an expert panel that met to present recommendations for the future use of Ontario Place on Feb. 4 at an evening public meeting at Innis Town Hall. The Rethinking Ontario Place meeting was organized by the Martin Prosperity Institute, the Design Industry Advisory Committee and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

The recommendations grew out of a Dec. 1, 2012 design charrette at which design and landscape architects, urban planners, futurists and others gathered to imagine what Ontario Place might be now that it has been shut down by the provincial government, and how it may serve the social, economic, academic and cultural needs of Toronto and Ontario.

Among the recommendations are calls for improvements to public transit to the site, a centre for research, innovation, conferences and entrepreneurship, the rejection of a casino at both Ontario Place and neighbouring Exhibition Place, and the importance of including the entire length of the waterfront and Toronto Islands in any plans for revitalization.

Crow’s Theatre new permanent home designed by DTAH

DTAH is designing the new permanent home for Crow’s Theatre in Leslieville, Toronto. This unique project is incorporated into the ground floor of a new condominium at Dundas St. E. and Carlaw Ave, currently under construction by Streetcar Developments, which includes community space for programming such as farmers’ markets and clothing swaps.

This $8-million project will give the company a 3,000-square foot theatre with a capacity for 200 people and other space, including a studio, lobby, offices, kitchen and dressing rooms. Successfully balancing technical issues around the residential and theatre needs includes additional acoustical soundproofing between the spaces.

“Like the majority of contemporary theatres in Canada, particularly in Toronto, the company has been using space as needed,” managing director Monica Esteves said. “We’ve been a nomadic company…this will be Crow’s first actual space that it owns.”

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