The Agincourt Mall Revitalization Plan

A New Model for Suburban Intensification

Our reimag­i­na­tion of Agin­court Mall, Scarborough’s first indoor shop­ping plaza, sees a new mod­el for sub­ur­ban inten­si­fi­ca­tion that cre­ates a diverse, inclu­sive, and com­plete com­mu­ni­ty by turn­ing the mall inside out, and infus­ing it with robust pub­lic spaces that stitch the mall site to its sur­round­ing neigh­bour­hoods.

Exist­ing Agin­court mall site.

Employ­ing the sub­ur­ban mall typol­o­gy that was pop­u­lar­ized from the 60s to the 80s, Agincourt’s com­po­si­tion is all too famil­iar: a group of larg­er anchor stores con­nect­ed by small­er shops and fast-food restau­rants, all sur­round­ed by vast park­ing lots. In fact, two-thirds of the exist­ing mall’s 26-acre prop­er­ty is used for sur­face park­ing.

Locat­ed in Agin­court Cen­tre, the mall site has been des­ig­nat­ed by the City of Toron­to as a sig­nif­i­cant zone for tran­sit invest­ment, includ­ing the poten­tial Metrolinx GO Express Rail, Shep­pard East LRT and City of Toron­to Smart­Track. The site itself is also steps away from the Agin­court GO sta­tion and with­in walk­ing dis­tance to large pub­lic ameni­ties and parks, includ­ing Ron Wat­son Park to the north­west, and var­i­ous schools and com­mu­ni­ty ser­vices such as the Agin­court Pub­lic Library.

The site is unlocked by relo­cat­ing the exist­ing anchor ten­ants: Wal­mart and the No Frills food store. The food store is pri­or­i­tized through­out the phas­ing, allow­ing it to stay open dur­ing con­struc­tion and con­tin­ue to meet the needs of the com­mu­ni­ty. This relo­ca­tion also allows devel­op­ment blocks to absorb the large ten­ants, while pro­vid­ing small­er-scale retail frontage to ani­mate the new streets.

The pro­posed street net­work strength­ens exist­ing con­nec­tions between adja­cent neigh­bour­hoods along Shep­pard Avenue, Kennedy Road and Bnios Avenue, and pro­vides new con­nec­tions to tran­sit. Key pedes­tri­an and bicy­cle links are main­tained from the exist­ing site to tran­sit on Shep­pard and the Agin­court GO sta­tion beyond uti­liz­ing an instru­men­tal prom­e­nade along Shep­pard, and stri­at­ing cycling paths to sep­a­rate com­muter from local cyclists.

“Aside from the sig­nif­i­cant amount of new res­i­den­tial space, one aspect of the Agin­court project that real­ly stands out is the idea of hav­ing ‘com­plete streets.’ ” Toron­to Star.

The pro­posed street net­work strength­ens exist­ing con­nec­tions between adja­cent neigh­bour­hoods along Shep­pard Ave., Kennedy Road and Bonis Avenue, and pro­vides new con­nec­tions to tran­sit. Key pedes­tri­an and bicy­cle links are main­tained from the exist­ing site to tran­sit on Shep­pard and the Agin­court GO sta­tion beyond.

There are 22.3 hectares of pub­lic park­land, locat­ed in sev­en parks, with­in 1500 meters of the cen­tre of the Mall site.

A series of small and medi­um pub­lic spaces all lead to a “Cen­tral Park” on the west side of the site. Along with the com­mu­ni­ty gar­den, this vast green space is cen­tered between the exist­ing Shep­pard Vil­lage and the pro­posed devel­op­ment. The park is bor­dered along its north edge by a Com­mu­ni­ty Hub, adja­cent to the exist­ing Agin­court Library. A sec­ond “Shep­pard Park” is locat­ed along the retail frontage fac­ing Shep­pard Ave. This porch-like pub­lic space will host year-round pro­gram­ming, pop-up events, kiosks, and play­ful hap­pen­ings for increased com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment.

We move all exist­ing and planned park­ing under­ground to accom­mo­date for more space for pedes­tri­ans, cyclists, and pro­gram­ming by ten­ants and the com­mu­ni­ty.

The mas­ter­plan makes explic­it the impor­tance of small-scale inter­ven­tions to enhance pedes­tri­an life on the site. As such, cus­tom paving, land­scap­ing, canopies, and street fur­ni­ture pro­vide a height­ened pub­lic realm expe­ri­ence, which shapes the for­mal, aes­thet­ic, and func­tion­al qual­i­ties of the retail square, prom­e­nade, and out­door pub­lic spaces at the cen­ter of the pro­pos­al.

The Agin­court Rede­vel­op­ment plan employs a range of build­ing typolo­gies and scales defined by dif­fer­ent precincts. The res­i­den­tial precinct sur­round­ing the “Cen­tral Park” on the west side of the site is com­posed of grade-relat­ed town­hous­es and mid-rise res­i­den­tial blocks to mit­i­gate shad­ow impact on the park. The retail precinct along the new east/west road and retail prom­e­nade is shaped by con­sis­tent mid-rise podi­ums with point tow­ers above. These are con­cen­trat­ed in the cen­ter of the devel­op­ment and along Kennedy Road and Shep­pard Ave. Vary­ing in height and rang­ing in mate­r­i­al and design pro­files, the built form cre­ates a dis­tinct sky­line of unique archi­tec­tur­al sil­hou­ettes, cham­pi­oning an icon­ic and rec­og­niz­able iden­ti­ty for the Agin­court dis­trict.

La Ram­bla in Barcelona, Spain

The Agin­court mas­ter­plan aims to cre­ate Net Zero devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. Open plant­ed space is pri­or­i­tized through­out the design, seek­ing to encour­age bio­di­ver­si­ty in the future land­scapes of the site. Fur­ther, the ampli­fied zones afford­ed for com­mu­ni­ty activ­i­ty work in con­junc­tion with the pub­lic realm to pro­mote well-being on the site, for res­i­dents and the com­mu­ni­ty at large. Users are also pro­vid­ed with bicy­cle lanes and strate­gic park­ing, in addi­tion to mul­ti-modal con­nec­tiv­i­ty to pub­lic tran­sit and the future LRT. Resilience is a pri­ma­ry con­sid­er­a­tion, with build­ings on the site equipped with back­up and emer­gency pow­er sys­tems with sym­bi­ot­ic, pas­sive envi­ron­men­tal sys­tems across the site.

Project Facts

  • Client

    North Amer­i­can Devel­op­ment Group

  • Location

    Scar­bor­ough, Toron­to, Ontario

  • Size

    26 acres, 12 build­ings with +4000 units

  • Status

    Site Plan Approval

  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Plan­ner — Bous­fields Inc.

    Civ­il — Sabourin Kim­ble & Asso­ciates

    Trans­porta­tion — B.A. Con­sult­ing Group

    Sus­tain­abil­i­ty & Ener­gy — Inte­gral Group

    Land­scape — Janet Rosen­berg & Stu­dio

    Struc­tur­al — Leonard Kalishenko & Asso­ciates

    Mechanical/ Elec­tri­cal — Ham­mer­schlag & Joffe

  • Renderings

    Nomis Dig­i­tal
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