Golden Mile Plaza Revitalization

A Transit-Oriented Complete Community

The Gold­en Mile Plaza Revi­tal­iza­tion is a sus­tain­able, tran­sit-ori­ent­ed com­mu­ni­ty with mul­ti-modal con­nec­tiv­i­ty which pro­vides an instru­men­tal strat­e­gy for sub­ur­ban inten­si­fi­ca­tion at the new Eglin­ton Crosstown LRT sta­tions here. The project rein­forces and expands the City of Toronto’s Gold­en Mile Sec­ondary Plan as one of six focus sites with the capac­i­ty to accom­mo­date sig­nif­i­cant inten­si­fi­ca­tion and growth.

The Gold­en Mile plaza site.

The mas­ter­plan is designed to breathe new life into the now unrec­og­niz­able mid-cen­tu­ry vision for this part of Scar­bor­ough by cre­at­ing an unmis­tak­able sense of place. Fea­tur­ing two pro­posed Eglin­ton Crosstown LRT sta­tions, an exten­sive net­work of bicy­cle, pedes­tri­an, and vehic­u­lar con­nec­tions knits togeth­er the Gold­en Mile Plaza Revi­tal­iza­tion as a new com­mu­ni­ty that embraces its sub­ur­ban con­text while cre­at­ing new oppor­tu­ni­ties for urban con­nec­tiv­i­ty and impor­tant ameni­ties.

Gold­en Mile cov­ers approx­i­mate­ly 113 hectares of com­mer­cial dis­trict along Eglin­ton Avenue in East Toron­to. It is bound­ed by Vic­to­ria Park Ave to the west, Ash­ton­bee Road and the Hydro Cor­ri­dor (called “The Mead­oway”) to the north, Birch­mount Road to the east, and an irreg­u­lar bound­ary stretch­ing between var­i­ous low-rise res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hoods to the south. Our plan defines a new prece­dent for the dynam­ic and diverse rede­vel­op­ment of under­uti­lized sub­ur­ban sites and begins with strate­gi­cal­ly relo­cat­ing the valu­able food store, that can­not close to the pub­lic, in order to open the site to new, crit­i­cal north-south con­nec­tions.

“There’s no ques­tion it’s a trans­for­ma­tive idea and a trans­for­ma­tive plan, when you look at what is there now and the his­to­ry of man­u­fac­tur­ing and oth­er large, land con­sump­tive uses from the past and the employ­ment focus for the area” Gregg Lin­tern, Toron­to’s chief plan­ner as quot­ed by Toron­to Star

Our site is Gold­en Mile Plaza, a 19-acre gate­way to the dis­trict that lies just west of the orig­i­nal indus­tri­al ‘mile’ now ripe for inten­si­fi­ca­tion. The mas­ter plan designs den­si­ty, mass­ing, and detailed pub­lic realms for a sus­tain­able, acces­si­ble, and inclu­sive com­plete com­mu­ni­ty.

The scheme is anchored by a new east-west pub­lic main street, Gold­en Mile Boule­vard, which bends to accom­mo­date the food store foot­print lam­i­nat­ed with fine-grained retail frontage while slow­ing the pat­tern of traf­fic. The mag­net­ic green square is then placed at the cen­tre of the site adja­cent the curv­ing main road inter­sec­tion with a large park.

The pedes­tri­an-ori­ent­ed and retail-focused main street cre­ates a more inti­mate qual­i­ty that sets the tone for the neigh­bour­hood scale of the plan, along­side the arte­r­i­al nature of Eglin­ton Avenue East. New tran­sit stops, which them­selves are sup­port­ed by Pri­vate­ly Owned Pub­lic Spaces (POPS,) are placed along the south side of the site allow­ing for new north-south pedes­tri­an con­nec­tions to The Mead­oway.

Phas­ing strat­e­gy: Phase I.

Crit­i­cal to the design are ground-relat­ed inti­mate spaces such as court­yards, squares and parks pop­u­lat­ed by lush land­scap­ing, canopies, sig­nage, and pub­lic art which are strate­gi­cal­ly placed to cre­ate a micro­cli­mate that mit­i­gates strong winds and max­i­mize light and views to the pub­lic realms of pedes­tri­an net­works that encour­age com­muters and res­i­dents to tra­verse through the site by foot. In addi­tion, a series of north-south pub­lic streets and bike paths nor­mal­ize the plan in appro­pri­ate­ly scaled grids and links Eglin­ton Street East with Gold­en­mile Boule­vard, along which a large new park antic­i­pates expan­sion with future devel­op­ment.

“This will be the new Scar­bor­ough, the heart of where we are. This is the poten­tial for the future. This is our blue­print.” ‑Coun­cilor Michael Thomp­son, Toron­to Star

The Gold­en Mile Rede­vel­op­ment project’s design and exe­cu­tion has set high sus­tain­abil­i­ty objec­tives with an over­all vision to achieve a best-in-class lev­el of over­all car­bon per­for­mance. Rec­og­niz­ing that oper­a­tion emis­sions are only half the equa­tion, and the need to address embod­ied car­bon, this project is com­mit­ting to whole-life car­bon tar­gets of 1000kg/m2 over a 60-year cycle, which goes beyond the cur­rent Toron­to Green Stan­dards Tier 2 require­ments at 1400 kg/m2.

The design strate­gies that will impact oper­a­tional car­bon and embod­ied car­bon may include the use of sus­tain­able build­ing mate­ri­als, effi­cient mass­ing and struc­ture, low glaz­ing ratio, reduc­tion of ther­mal bridges, reduc­tion of below-grade park­ing, pro­mo­tion of pedes­tri­an use, and uti­liza­tion of a geo-exchange sys­tem. Oth­er greater goals include dis­trict ener­gy, resilience and back­up pow­er, full elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, tran­sit-ori­ent­ed & elec­tri­cal vehi­cles, health and well­ness and social equi­ty.

As design archi­tects for the two blocks that com­prise phase 1, we imbue the archi­tec­ture with a mul­ti-gen­er­a­tional man­date that also shapes the two podi­ums to mit­i­gate strong winds and max­i­mize light and views to the pub­lic realms, as a pas­sive sus­tain­abil­i­ty strat­e­gy. These cul­mi­nate in a pedes­tri­an-only cen­tral court­yard, dubbed “The Gar­den,” that sits between the two blocks and fea­tures neigh­bour­hood-ori­ent­ed retail spilling out. This phase also hosts 50,000 square feet of com­mu­ni­ty space, and an insti­tu­tion­al space for Cen­ten­ni­al Col­lege and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Scar­bor­ough near­by.

As a com­plete com­mu­ni­ty, the Gold­en Mile Rede­vel­op­ment also strives to be acces­si­ble and inclu­sive for all. Cur­rent­ly, the Gold­en Mile Block F (Phase 1) is pur­su­ing the Gold rat­ing from the Rick Hansen Foun­da­tion Acces­si­bil­i­ty Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion (RHFAC). This pro­gram is designed to chal­lenge devel­op­ers as com­mu­ni­ty builders to go beyond the build­ing code and cre­ate inno­v­a­tive solu­tions to make their com­mu­ni­ties uni­ver­sal­ly acces­si­ble. Block F is also designed to house a wide range of demo­graph­ics, from seniors to young fam­i­lies to emp­ty-nesters. Fur­ther­more, afford­able hous­ing is incor­po­rat­ed as part of the over­all mas­ter plan to ensure appro­pri­ate equi­ty and equal­i­ty for all mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty.

Project Facts

  • Client

    Choice Prop­er­ties REIT, The Daniels Cor­po­ra­tion

  • Location

    Toron­to, Ontario

  • Size

    +18.5 Acres, 11 Build­ings, +3,500 Units, +270,100 sq.m retail / com­mer­cial

  • Status

    Site Plan Approval

  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Plan­ner — Urban Strate­gies

    Site Ser­vices — Coun­ter­point Engi­neer­ing Inc.

    Traf­fic — Lea Con­sult­ing Ltd.

    Land­scape — MBTW Group (Mas­ter­plan), Land Art Design Land­scape Archi­tects (Phase I)

    Geot­ech­ni­cal — Ter­rapex

    Struc­tur­al — CPE Struc­tur­al Con­sul­tants

    Mechan­i­cal / Elec­tri­cal — SNC Advi­so­ry Ser­vices

  • Renderings

    Office In Search Of