South of Eastern Strategic Direction

Toronto, Ontario

City of Toronto

2013 to 2015


SvN was retained by the City of Toronto to develop a background study to support the City’s preparation of a Strategic Direction for the South of Eastern Employment District, a 135 hectare site that has historically served Toronto as the location of heavy industry and employment manufacturing. Today, South of Eastern is the location of a number of publicly owned sites. Recent development proposals have indicated interest in office space and flexible studio work space.

Leading a multi-disciplinary team, SvN prepared an economic development and urban design plan that supports the City’s objectives to retain the Employment Areas designation and unlock the re-development potential in the area.

The process includes an engagement plan that includes direct conversations and ‘roundtables’ with landowners and stakeholders, and two workshops with the community. Key issues that have been raised through consultation and addressed as part of the study include: understanding historic employment trends and projecting growth sectors and land uses; identification of targeted public realm improvements necessary to support employment use; understanding transit and infrastructure improvements that will catalyze growth and the type and intensity of development required to support transit use; mitigation of pedestrian, cyclist and vehicular conflict and enhancing movement through the site; and, ensuring transition of uses and form between the employment area and adjacent residential neighbourhoods.  As part of the study process, SvN has also coordinated with a number of related planning initiatives and studies underway, including the Port Lands Planning Framework, the Port Lands and South of Eastern Transportation Master Plan and Film Studio Precinct planning.

With this input, SvN has developed a public realm framework plan, a series of key economic, urban design and movement recommendations, three 3D demonstration scenarios, as well as policy recommendations, to inform capital infrastructure investment and guide the review of development applications.

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Our team conducts research and creates strategy for government and non-government clients on a wide range of economic development issues. This includes strengthening, broadening and diversifying the economic base of regions, cities and towns and accelerating development through improvements to land use, urban design, planning policy and governance.