Welcome to Harbord Village

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Harbord Village Green Plan: Read and Hope

The Harbord Village Green Plan has been endorsed as an official document by City Council, and the Transportation Department has started to work with HVRA to implement it.

Built on the discussions of local residents and the work of staff in the Councillor's office, this handsome and readable document maps out ways to transform neglected public spaces into green spots. Watch for more news -- and invitations to more meetings and more work.

Residents involved in the process so far deserve our thanks, starting with Sue Dexter, co-author of the report. Others include Jane Perdue, Gail Misra, and Carolee Orme, who worked with Kahlin Holmes from the Councillor’s office to put together the report. Barbara Donaldson and Rochelle Rubenstein have earned special thanks for planning and finding funds for a Croft Street revitalization.

See also our News page for media attention to this initiative.


College Street Planning Study: One Resident's Response 

The city Planning Department presented its College Street Study to residents on December 7, 2015, and the presentation slides are now available online. (A cropped slide is shown above.) Residents are invited to submit comments and questions to Marian Prejel in City Planning at mprejel@toronto.ca.

Here is a letter from one HVRA member:

Dear Ms. Prejel, 

I live on Major Street, south of Harbord. I have also lived on Sussex in the University area, on Spadina Circle, and Lippincott. I also published a major book on Spadina by Rosemary Donegan that was featured in the French newspaper Le Monde in an article celebrating the street, its diversity and marvelous character. These neighbourhoods and Spadina—their “cosmic spine” as Matt Cohen described it—are what make Toronto unique. Are the changes described here going to undermine this? I suspect they will.

The overall impression this document gives is of an increased “canyon-like” character to College. And of course Spadina will really change. The Kensington Market, which is not even mentioned in this document, is seriously threatened as well.

I could imagine accepting this plan as it applies to the north side of College, however, if it increased housing options in the area and the height limits and setbacks were actually respected. The green space is, however, derisory. The rest strikes me as very troubling.

But perhaps my greatest concern is that two recent buildings—that on the south side of College to house university students and the new building on College that juts into the Kensington Market area and contains a Loblaws—are of a scale not in any way contemplated by this or any previous plan. They are massive and totally out of keeping with this area. And yet they are being built. What else is in the works for College and Spadina that will be accepted by OMB?

Is this plan simply going to pave the way for developers to go to OMB and be given the right to build whatever they want, arguing that the street has changed, that we need more density, etc? Combined with U of T’s plans on the east side of the neighbourhood, the redevelopment of the Honest Ed’s space, the bubble at Central Tech,  etc., this neighbourhood is being sort of enclosed by a substantial number of changes that will render its “heritage” status obsolete. And the combination of diversity, eclecticism, responsiveness and healthy chaos that this whole area represents will be destroyed.  Look at Queen between University and Bathurst.

And surely this is just a first step toward substantially changing the nature of Spadina, thereby destroying one of the last remaining truly special features of this city. Instead of our forming and building the city ourselves we will be shaped and formed by commercial forces over which we have no control. 

Patricia Aldana