Welcome to Harbord Village


Laneway Naming Ceremonies concluded on June 22

Harbord Village celebrated the last of neighbourhood laneway naming ceremonies on June 22 with the unveiling of David French Lane and Immergluck Lane.

For more on our Laneway Naming Project, please see our LANEWAYS webpage, and visit our interactive laneway map to learn more about the extraordinary individuals associated with our laneway names. 

Update on CENTRAL TECH Dome/Artificial Turf Project

TDSB appeals the Superior Court decision at DIVISIONAL COURT

HVRA has learned that the TDSB has decided to appeal this month's Superior Court decision at Divisional Court. We will add more information here as it becomes available.

Superior Court rejects the TDSB claim to be exempt from city zoning rules
June 13, 2014

Superior Court Justice D.L. Corbett released his decision June 13, 2014, rejecting the TDSB's argument that since the proposed CENTRAL TECH dome project would be on school land it was educational and therefore should be exempt from city zoning bylaws.

Justice Corbett ruled that the Chief Building Official of the City of Toronto did have the authority to identify the commercial development of the Central Tech field as requiring a zoning variance.

Central Technical School

On March 18th, 2014, HVRA's board of directors passed the following motion:

Moved that the HVRA board oppose the change of use associated with the current proposal by the TDSB to replace the grass field at Central Tech with artificial turf and a winter dome, and that HVRA continue its efforts to find other solutions that improve the school's playing field and running track.

On March 26th, the City of Toronto's COMMITTEE OF ADJUSTMENT rejected the minor variance application by the TDSB and Razor Management to

(1) build an ancillary building and
(2) change the permitted use of the Central Tech playing field from "educational" to "other".

The second variance would have permitted  the TDSB to lease for 20 years the four-acre field to Razor Management for the installation of artificial turf and a sports dome.

The committee panelists voted 4-1 to refuse the variance application, for the following reasons:

  • The general intent and purpose of the City of Toronto's Official Plan is not maintained.

  • The general intent and purpose of the Zoning By-law is not maintained.

  • The variances are not considered desirable for the appropriate development of the land.

  • In the opinion of the Committee, the variances are not minor.

 (note: TDSB = Toronto District School Board)


For more details, please see our Central Tech webpage.

Justice Corbett also agreed with the City's view — contrary to arguments made by the TDSB — that  City bylaws do not prohibit the occasional use by community members or groups of school buildings or property for such things as casual use of basketball courts or weekly meetings of scout groups, or polling stations during elections.

(Although not specifically mentioned, this decision would also appear to support the traditional casual use by community residents of Central Tech's field and running track during off-school hours, when not rented out by the TDSB.)

The TDSB has the option of appealing the Superior Court decision at Divisional Court.

Meantime, the TDSB apparently intends to pursue its appeal of the Committee of Adjustment decision — which turned down the Dome proposal — at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

You can read the Superior Court decision here (pdf)

Justice Corbett's Summary and Disposition

[5] Commercial exploitation of TDSB facilities is not a “school use” of TDSB premises. This does not mean that commercial exploitation of TDSB facilities is never permissible under the Exemption. The City interprets the Exemption to permit incidental use of school premises for purposes other than education or instruction by the TDSB, so long as the basic character and nature of the school use of the facilities is unchanged. Where the intensity of this non-TDSB use rises above incidental, then it is no longer within the Exemption. This court need not decide precisely where to draw the line for permissible “incidental use” by persons other than the TDSB. This is a matter for the City to decide on a case-by-case basis, so long as its decisions are reasonable.

[6] The Proposal falls well across the line of “incidental use” of TDSB facilities for commercial purposes. It is not covered by the Exemption. It therefore follows that the City’s decision to this effect was reasonable, and the TDSB followed the correct procedure in seeking a minor variance from the Committee of Adjustment. The proper process for the TDSB to follow now is an appeal from the Committee of Adjustment to the OMB. And so, for the reasons that follow, this application is dismissed.

     (page 2 of Superior Court decision)


Forestry scientists will be updating our 2007-2008 tree inventory this spring and summer

James Steenberg
PhD Candidate
Ryerson University






Did you know you can see an interactive map of the Harbord Village tree inventory on Google Earth?

Learn more on our Harbord Village Tree Inventory webpage.



Left: James Steenberg with his research assistants Claire Stevenson-Blythe (L) and Amber Grant (R).  The two women are undergraduates in Ryerson University's Environment and Urban Sustainability program.

Environmental scientist James Steenberg and team will be visiting Harbord Village yards over the next few months to update our 2007-2008 neighbourhood tree inventory. James, interested in forest ecology and sustainable management, is currently undertaking his PhD at Ryerson University, studying urban forest ecosystem vulnerability in Toronto.

James sends this message:

The urban forest provides a diversity of benefits to the residents of Harbord Village, from improving air quality and local biodiversity to the simple enjoyment of its beauty during a neighbourhood stroll.

But the urban forest is vulnerable, precisely because it is located in the city. Pollution, construction, and invasive species are just a few of the things that threaten urban trees. For my PhD research at Ryerson University, I’m hoping to discover how, why, and where the urban forest is most vulnerable.

Harbord Village residents have made tremendous strides in the stewardship of their trees by undertaking a NeighbourWoods assessment in 2007 and 2008, among other initiatives. In my research, I hope to update, expand, and analyze that assessment. In doing so, we will be able to understand where in the neighbourhood trees are dying, where they are growing strong, and the reasons why.

I will be in the neighbourhood in the spring and summer of 2014, measuring and re-assessing the urban forest. Please come over and say hi if you see me, and feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions about the project.


Eleanor Levine honoured
at MPP's 2nd Annual Community Appreciation Event

Eleanor Levine honoured at Rosario Marchese's 2nd annual community appreciation event 2013

photo: Rainer Soegtrop Photography
See event photos on Flicker

On November 14, Rosario Marchese recognized 58 Trinity-Spadina volunteers at his second annual Community Appreciation Event. These volunteers were nominated by the riding’s many community organizations, neighbourhood associations, BIAs and schools. Eleanor Levine (above left) was nominated by the Harbord Village Residents' Association.

Harbord Village's Eleanor Levine was recognized for her outstanding volunteer contributions to our community during an award ceremony on November 14, 2013.

The award was presented to Eleanor by Trinity-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese during his second annual Community Appreciation Event.

Eleanor was an HVRA board member, representing the South Central area, from 2010 to 2013, and an active volunteer for the Bloor-Borden Farmers' Market, which she served as treasurer for three years.

During the past two years Eleanor took a lead role in the Harbord Village Oral History project, recording memories of those who lived in the neighbourhood before 1975. Eleanor conducted more than 100 hour-long interviews, and has captured an amazing amount of information and insight into local history. These interviews provide the material for the Harbord Village History website and a public exhibit that was mounted in November/December 2013.

Eleanor's diligence, patience, and skill have enriched the local community and Harbord Village is much richer for it.

Our congratulations and deepest thanks to Eleanor.

Join the Neighbourhood Dragon Boat Team

It’s very cold outside today.
Warm thoughts keep me hopeful that the seasons will indeed change.
To hold back the cold I think: warm evenings; late sunsets; dipping a paddle into the lake; and camaraderie with our HVRA neighbours. I think of joining the HVRA Dragon Boat Racing Team for the 2014 summer season. It’s fun. I look forward to it.
Leslie Thompson,  member of the 2013 Harbord Village Dragon Boat Racing Team,
January 2014

2013 Harbord Village gold-medal-winning Dragon Boat Racing Team,
paddling in sync with coach Tim MacFarlane at the helm.

Read more about the HVRA Dragon Boat Racing Team on our new Dragon Boat webpage.

Harbord Village ORAL HISTORY Project launched

See our Oral History Project website here.


The Harbord Village Oral History Project was launched in November, 2013 with an exhibition at the Miles Nadal JCC titled Mapping Harbord Village: Stories of a Neighbourhood. The exhibit, created in partnership with the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, closed on December 15.

Our permanent exhibition, which includes audio recordings of all 100 interviews, can be visited online at:

Videos now online: see Alf Kwinter tell the tale of The Carp and the Tub.


Above photo: 110 Robert St. in 1917, welcoming home the son of John Lock (Rolly Lock), owner of Grimsby Dairy, who had lost an eye in World War I.
Photo provided by Dr. Arthur E. Zimmerman.

Heritage Directory15th Edition of the Harbord Village Directory for Conservators and Restorers of Heritage Properties just launched!

NEW! Our 15th edition of the Harbord Village Directory for Conservators and Restorers of Heritage Properties was released on November 27, 2013.

Recipient of the 32nd Heritage Toronto,
Community Heritage Award and Members’ Choice Award, 2006.

The Harbord Village Directory for Conservators and Restorers of Heritage Properties is a 72-page booklet that answers this question with respect to every one of a building's street visible elements, from the chimney top to the garden fence(with roofs, windows, doors, porches, railings and paint colours in between).

Download your copy here.

Bylaw blocking Walmart big-box store at 420 Bathurst Street to be appealed at the OMB

Friends of Kensington Market is now fundraising to help participate in future Ontario Municipal Board hearings about this proposal. Link to their fundraising web site here.

In July, Councillors Adam Vaughan and Mike Layton moved an Interim Control By-Law to ensure the Bathurst Street study that is currently underway between Dupont and Queen St W is complete before decisions are made on any further commercial applications. The hold is in effect for one year.

Riocan, the developer that proposes to build a big-box Walmart store at 420 Bathurst Street, at the edge of Kensington Market, has now filed a legal appeal of both the Interim Control By-Law as well as their application itself. Hearings on these applications may be scheduled in the next several months.

(Source: excerpted from Councillor Vaughan's Fall/2013 newsletter.)

A dozen new laneway signs unveiled this summer during deeply moving official ceremonies

October, 2013 Update

Concluding comment from Laneway Naming Project coordinator Gus Sinclair:

It has been a totally wonderful project in every way!

Click here for more information and a link to our interactive map showing locations and names of the Harbord Village laneways

Laneways whose signs were erected at official unveiling ceremonies during the summer of 2013

Chapel Hospice Lane
Douglas Campbell Lane
William James Lane
Lewis Family Lane
Galvao Lane
Greenberg Lane
Barker Fairley Lane
Katharine Hockin Lane
Boys of Major Lane
Alan Powell Lane
Albert Jackson Lane
Barbara Barrett lane
Leah Cohen Lane [private ceremony]

Laneways that will not have a ceremony and whose signs have been installed or will be in the coming weeks

Sappers Lane  [sign already in place]
Loretto Lane    [sign already in place]
Cyril Lane
Immergluck Lane
James Hales Lane
David French Lane
Bagpipe Lane
Grimsby Dairy Lane
Antonio Fernandes Lane
Barbara Godard Lane

Lord Lansdowne Student Isahag Ibrahim wins HVRA's first Student Essay Contest

For details see our Student Essay Contest web page.

Graffiti Committee Seeks Donations

In late February, 30 people representing police, school, Harbord BIA, residents, the councillor and his staff met to discuss what to do about the continuing graffiti tagging that is going on in our lanes. Since this past Summer, almost all graffiti tags on Sussex Mews and Harbord Street have been removed or painted over. Two of the most prolific "taggers" have been arrested.   Now HVRA’s Graffiti Committee would like to extend the programme to other Harbord Village lanes.  If you would like your laneway to be next and are willing to help, contact HVRA Chair Tim Grant at chair@harbordvillage.com.

Up to now, the cost of paints and graffiti removal chemicals has been borne by a handful of individuals.  HVRA is now seeking financial donations that will create a superfund to pay for paint, etc that will be used in the coming months on other laneways.  

If you can help, please mail cheques payable to "HVRA" to:
HVRA, 360A Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1X1. 
Please mark "graffiti removal" on your cheque.

Why is this necessary? Many of those whose garages or houses have been tagged, are on fixed incomes.  The Graffiti Committee wants to make graffiti eradication painless for them, and will find the volunteers to do the work. But they need funds to make this work.

245 College Still Needs Donations

Thanks to all that made donations to help HVRA, and neighbouring residents’ associations, participate in the current Ontario Municipal Board hearing on a private developers’ proposal for a 24 story student residence.  The case is now in mediation.  We’ve paid all our legal bills to date, but will need more to press on. 

If you can make a donation, please mail a cheque, payable to "Iler-Campbell" to:
Ralph Daley, 41 Soho Square, Toronto ON M5T 2Z2.

Harbord Village Pilot Project Gets Ahead of Emerald Ash Bore Killer

Cost to HVRA homeowners could be as little as $250 every 2 years

Harbord Village EAB Management Plan —
for more information, click here to visit our Treeing the Village web pages.

Cover of

Finally, some real hope in staving off the green beetle that is threatening one in ten trees in the City of Toronto and is further advanced on the University of Toronto campus than was thought. Some have been found in Harbord Village, but we need to act in the next four months to save half our trees.

“We need to be in a position to act by June,” said Prof. Sandy Smith, University of Toronto Forestry Department Entymologist. “Injections must be within June-August timeframe, or the trees will die.”

“This is way better than we thought,” said Tim Grant, Chair of HVRA, when we were given a quick preview of the plan. “We still have a chance to act.”

What is promising is that the cost of injecting affected trees is considerably less over time than cutting them down, because a major infestation is invariably fatal.
Read more here.

Margaret Fairley Park revitalization

Councillor Adam Vaughan has secured developers’ funds to improve Margaret Fairley Park and invited community participation in the process. The Friends of Margaret Fairley Park Steering Committee is leading our community’s involvement in the revitalization project.

Friends of Margaret Fairly Parik

photo: Mindy Stricke Photography

The group held a Brainstorming Fair on February 13 to gather ideas, and invited further input through a web-based survey. A small grant from HVRA supported the hiring of writer and park Friend Jessica Humphreys to weave the various ideas together and author a design brief that clearly captures the community’s vision for the park.

The design brief was submitted to project manager Bob Duguid, City of Toronto Parks Department, on March 29. It forms a major component of the Request for Quotations document that is currently being sent to select landscape architecture firms to bid on the project.

According to the terms of the RFQ, the Friends of Margaret Fairley Park will be represented on the project working group along with Rebecca Hewitt from Councillor Vaughan’s office. Three community consultation events will be held over the summer of 2011 and the final design for the park should be ready in the fall. Construction is expected to take place either in mid-to-late fall (definitely after the HVRA Fall Fair!) or early in the spring of 2012.

Everyone is welcome to contribute to the process. To read the design brief or get in touch, please see the Friends of Margaret Fairley Park blog at: http://margaretfairleypark.blogspot.com
or email fmfpark@gmail.com.

Get to know our Community Builder Award Winners.

Cyril Greenland and Jane Donald

Each year we recognize those who have made outstanding contributions in three categories: Community Builder, Front Yard Garden and Heritage Restoration.

Visit our Award Winners web page to see the amazing collection of individuals and homeowners who have made wonderful contributions to our neighbourhood. Harbord Village is a much better place for their efforts.


Find your tree!

Our Google Earth map will show you your street, your house, your tree — and the entire Harbord Village canopy.

Check it out on our Harbord Village Trees Inventory web page

Reading recommendation from the HV Tree Committee:
Here's a timely article about tree care from the Fine Gardening web site: What's Wrong with That Tree?

Google Earth