The firm was retained in fall 2012 to prepare a development Master Plan for a mixed-income community surrounding the historic Victory Soya Mills Silo (completed in 1920) on Lake Shore Boulevard East, by the waterfront in Downtown Toronto. The 2.1 hectare site sits at the northeast corner of Toronto’s inner harbour, at the confluence of the harbour’s open water and the controlled flow of the Keating Channel (the outlet of the Don River). The key challenge to designing the plan was incorporating the substantial form of the concrete silos into the development strategy in a manner satisfying the City of Toronto and Parks Canada’s “Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.” The master plan proposes 1.2 million square feet of new construction on three blocks surrounding the silo. The plan meets the City’s requirement for 25% of all housing to be ‘affordable’ by providing a mix of ‘affordable ownership’ and affordable rental units. The master plan informs an amendment to the City’s zoning by-law, which is part of an ongoing OMB settlement process.
We provide feasibility planning, development advisory and approvals risk management for public and private clients. As an interdisciplinary team that contributes to the design and architecture of a project, we are able to identify risks in early design development and conceptual site layout stages. We help to shape and form the thinking on site layout and building design in a way that reduces and minimizes the amount of approvals required. We give our clients a comprehensive view of planning approval milestones within the project's life cycle, so they can anticipate the timing and resources required to support various approvals within the overall construction schedule.
We undertake site analysis studies, from site scale up to secondary plan scales. We work with developers and public agencies such as Build Toronto and Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation to complete due diligence and Highest and Best Use Studies for their lands.
We apply our thorough understanding of the provincial and municipal regulatory context to develop studies and public policy instruments for local, provincial and federal governments and First Nations. These include: zoning by-laws, official plans, municipal development plans, local official plans, secondary plans, neighbourhood plans, and urban design guidelines.
Housing is a core focus of our business. We design innovative and adaptable buildings and master plans that respond to the immediate and future housing needs of diverse communities and all levels of income. We have a history of initiating and realizing housing projects that fill critical gaps in the market, and that are sensitive and adaptable to evolving cultures and contexts.
We prepare comprehensive plans for new communities ranging from high-density urban infill projects in areas subject to intensification, through to responsible greenfield development. Starting with an assessment of the local environment, we develop plans and designs that build on the history of the site, while identifying opportunities for sustainable growth.
We have a long history of planning and designing the public realm of cities, including streets, building facades, public places, the space between buildings and open spaces. Our team has pioneered significant aspects of the “complete streets” concept, demonstrated through landmark projects like the St. George Street Revitalization, the Bloor Street Transformation and the Six Point Interchange Reconstruction.