The Toronto Island Master Plan project team is hosting an open house on November 30. Now in the third and final phase of the process, this open house will give attendees a chance to learn more about the Draft Master Plan, speak with the project team, and share thoughts.

DTAH is leading a diverse design team in the development of the first Master Plan for Toronto Island. As a strategic document, the Master Plan will ensure that future park improvements contribute to a vision for the entire park that is comprehensive and inclusive. This vision will better serve the public, improve equitable access and user experience, celebrate the character, natural and cultural history of this cherished park, and ensure its sustainability and resilience for future generations.

Meeting details:

Canoe Landing Community Recreation Centre

45 Fort York Blvd

Drop-in between 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm on Wednesday November 30, 2022

There will be an event opening at 6:00 pm with the project team.

Though not required, we encourage you to register to receive reminders and event details.

An open letter to Premier Ford and Minister Clark
Re: Bill 23 – More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022

We are writing to you as leading architects, landscape architects, and urban designers in Ontario.

The More Homes Built Faster Act, introduced on October 25, proposes extensive and significant legislative changes that would, if enacted, radically alter land use planning and city building in Ontario. The stated intention of this proposed legislation is to accelerate the construction of 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years to address our housing crisis.

We firmly believe that this legislation will not achieve its stated intent.

Instead, it will inhibit the construction of affordable housing in our province; dismantle regional planning and urban design considerations; undermine heritage protection, environmental protection, and climate change mitigation; and limit public participation in how we build our communities.

We have summarized our major concerns below:

Bill 23 will reduce the supply of truly affordable housing by reducing the affordable housing requirement in Inclusionary Zoning from 20% to 5%. The required period to maintain affordability is reduced from 99 to 25 years. This will exacerbate generational poverty and extend inequitable access to resources and infrastructure for the people of Ontario.

Bill 23 will encourage urban sprawl and undermine local democracy by effectively dissolving 50 years of regional planning in the Golden Horseshoe. This will certainly lead to a substantial conversion of farmlands, loss of green lands, and suburban sprawl.

Public participation will be limited by removing the requirement for a public meeting for plan of subdivision. The Minister will have new powers to amend Municipal Official Plans at any time, for any reason, without public consultation.

Bill 23 undermines environmental protection by limiting the role of Conservation Agencies to solely that of flooding and erosion hazards. Removed from their oversight will be watershed planning and management, coordinated flood protection, conservation of green lands and biodiversity, which are all core to climate change mitigation.

Bill 23 threatens the Greenbelt. There are 86,500 acres within the GTA currently zoned and ready for development. This is more than enough land available now that can be used to meet government targets. Housing construction needs to start without delay on these lands that are close to transit and urban services, where people already live, work and play.

Yet the government wants to remove 7400 acres of protected green space and farmland in the Greenbelt. Our Greenbelt lands protect the headwaters of the rivers flowing into Lake Ontario, preserve valuable farmland, connect forests and wetland ecosystems that form a continuous arc from the top of the GTA to the Niagara region, and limit suburban sprawl. The Greenbelt belongs to current and future generations of the people of Ontario.

Bill 23 removes design from the municipal approvals process. Exterior design, landscape and streetscape design should be reviewed during Site Plan Control. Design review at the municipal level is considered best practice nationally and internationally.

We must emphasize that design is not a superficial aesthetic overlay. It is fundamental problem-solving, directly related to the quality of the built environment, and to climate change mitigation. The design review process is critical in delivering safe, healthy, affordable, socially and environmentally sustainable communities to the people of Ontario.

We agree that the current system of municipal approvals needs to be streamlined to deliver urgently needed affordable housing. Bill 23 is not the way to do it. It needs to go back to the drawing board.

To effectively address our affordable housing crisis, we strongly urge the Government of Ontario to rethink Bill 23 and invite the Government to a robust and immediate consultation with leaders in our industry. In collaboration with municipal and provincial governments, we can produce the best possible outcomes for the people of Ontario.

Thank you,

Adamson Associates Architects
ERA Architects
Greenberg Consultants
Janet Rosenberg & Studio
KPMB Architects
MJMA Architecture & Design
Moriyama & Teshima Architects
PMA Landscape Architects Ltd.
The Planning Partnership

This year marks our 50th anniversary! To celebrate 50 years of interdisciplinary design excellence, we're sharing some of the projects we're most proud of, in addition to ongoing work, starting next week on our Instagram. Follow us to learn more about our rich 50 year history and help us celebrate by posting a photo of your favourite DTAH project with the hashtag #DTAH50!

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The new vibrant outdoor space is the first implemented landscape that draws from the University of Toronto Scarborough Landscape and Public Realm Master Plan, which DTAH authored with permaculture specialist Jane Hayes. The pilot project is a case study intended to inform future campus projects by prioritizing sustainable, functional and accessible design. The permaculture approach integrates groups (guilds) of plants that support abundant natural ecosystems.

The Quad functions as an animated social hub, where academic and community life can spill out from beyond the classrooms. Integrated seating, outlets to recharge electronics, and custom lighting create memorable and comfortable outdoor environments for a range of programmed uses. Brightly coloured shade sails protect users from the elements while clearly defining the unique gathering space, attracting students, faculty, and staff from across the campus.

DTAH Associate Victoria Bell and Partner Brent Raymond along with Terence Radford of Trophic Design are speakers at the joint Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) and Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) 2Gether Conference in London, Ontario later this week.

Their talk, “Up High, Down Low: Master Plans to Details,” will reference two DTAH projects as case studies: Toronto Island Park Master Plan and the Landscape and Public Realm Master Plan for University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC). In this session, they will explore how these two projects address ecosystem health and critical environmental issues, their Indigenous significance and how they layer this with community needs to create exceptional and transformative spaces for public enjoyment and ultimately celebrate the power of place.

Read more about the 2Gether Conference here.

Read more about Toronto Island Park Master Plan here.

Read the Landscape and Public Realm Master Plan for University of Toronto Scarborough Campus here.

DTAH Partner Mark Langridge spoke last week at the 2022 Footbridge conference in Madrid. Titled “Two Modern Crossings in Historic Canadian Places: Creating ‘Places for People’,” Mark’s talk focused on two recently completed bridges: Garrison Crossing in Toronto’s Fort York neighbourhood, and Flora Footbridge in Ottawa. Mark also jointly presented with civil engineer Juan Sobrino on CSA guidelines for pedestrian bridge design.

The conference brought together bridge design and construction professionals as well as members of the public from around the world to speak on the theme of ‘creating experience,’ covering topics such as: footbridges as an important part of a system; bringing life to existing bridges: experience on bridge transformations into footbridges or cyclist paths; and footbridges in underdeveloped areas.

Related Projects

DTAH is excited to share we are part of the successful team that has won the competition for the Collingwood Grain Terminals Revitalization Project, led by Streetcar Developments Inc. and Dream Unlimited Corp., with Copenhagen-based architecture firm, Cobe.

The project will preserve and adaptively reuse the Terminals through the creation of a full-service boutique hotel, including restaurants and events spaces, that highlight the heritage attributes of the building and provide public access to the entire Terminal building. The project will also enhance the public realm throughout the Spit, including new connections to the water, a reimagined Millennium Park, new trails and walkways, and a renewed focus on recreational and cultural activities for year-round public enjoyment.

Learn more about the project here.

DTAH is pleased to announce that the Brampton Riverwalk Urban Design and Open Space Master Plan (UDMP) was recently approved by Brampton City Council. The Riverwalk Master Plan aims to integrate an engineered long-term solution to eliminate the flood risk in downtown Brampton, while unlocking the economic potential of the area, and improving and enhancing ecological spaces within the public realm. When implemented, the project will result in a renewed physical and social relationship to the Etobicoke Creek through the creation of a series of connected open spaces, dynamic public areas and dramatic landscapes.

Created with Brampton City Council in partnership with the TRCA and Region of Peel with key stakeholders and the public, The Riverwalk Urban Design and Open Space Master Plan develops concepts for the open space system along the valley, the treatment of the flood infrastructure, the integration of active transportation, and programming opportunities for existing and new public spaces.

Read more about the project here.