Bloor-Annex Landscape / Streetscape Transformation
The Bloor Annex Business Improvement Area (BIA) exists to enhance and promote the business community on Bloor Street between Madison Avenue and Bathurst Street. This vital part of Toronto is undergoing a significant greening initiative, led by DTAH, who are transforming a series of “left-over” parcels of land into a sequence of vibrant, dynamic public green spaces.
These new city parkettes will be defined by large native canopy trees, wildflower pollinator-friendly planting species, sculptural seating, sustainable wood decking and new permeable paving – designed to help reduce and manage stormwater run-off.
Located at Howland, Brunswick, Major, and Robert Streets, the parkettes offer an opportunity to connect with nature in the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as provide a place for people to interact with their neighbours and broader community. Landscape architecture will be merged together with public art to create playful sculpted natural stone forms integrated with seating, lighting and planting. The parkettes will encourage pedestrians to leisurely explore the area, and participate in the vibrancy of the neighbourhood’s business community.
Along the street, the pedestrian experience is significantly improved through the removal of raised planter boxes, an increase in width of walkable sidewalk surface area and the addition of dozens of new Street Trees, planted at grade with increased soil volume to ensure tree health and long-term growth.
Over 100 unique businesses along the stretch reflect Toronto’s diversity at its very best, and these landscape and streetscape improvements considerably enrich the Annex neighbourhood, giving local residents a deep sense of community and pride. Located one block from the former home of esteemed urban activist and author Jane Jacobs, these improvements embody her “complete streets” philosophy and her community-centered and pedestrian-focused urban design approach.
This important project represents a paradigm shift in the way that the City of Toronto deals with remnant spaces: now looking at them as opportunities instead of eyesores, community connectors to celebrate, not avoid.