Welcome to Harbord Village

Toronto Heritage Grant Program

Once again this year, the City is offering grants for restoration work on houses within our two Heritage Conservation Districts. (For wonderful photos and reports on those districts, see the Heritage Conservation section of this website.)

If you own one of the 349 heritage-designated houses, you are eligible for a grant from the city for 50% of the estimated cost of conservation work, up to $10,000. Applications are due by 4 pm on April 3, 2015. Forms and information are available online.

  • If you’re wondering whether to apply, you can learn more about the requirements at a public workshop on Tues. Feb. 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in Committee Room #2, 2nd Floor, City Hall.
  • If you are considering an application and would like advice, Gary Miedema will be happy to talk with you:
    416 338-3278, or gmiedem@toronto.ca

In February, we are expecting to hear from the City whether our community has been chosen for an extension to our heritage districts.

This would help conserve and protect its Victorian character. Heritage protection applies only to house facades — what is visible from the street, not the back or the inside.

For more information, please check the City’s Heritage Preservation Services website.

  Barton Cottages on Robert Street

HVRA supports the CT Community Swim

pool photosThe Central Tech Community Swim is every Saturday from late September to the May long weekend

A donation of $2 per person, accepted at the door, is used to pay the pool lifeguards. 

The pool is divided into three sections each week, so that there is lap swim, a child and family area in the shallow water, and a section in the deep end with a diving board.  Everyone is welcome!

Where: Central Tech Pool at Lennox and Lippincott Streets, southeast of Bathurst, door 16
When: every Saturday from late September to the May long weekend
Hours: 2 to 4 p.m.
Contact: centraltechpool@gmail.com

See more about HVRA's support for the CT Community Swim here.

Central Tech field now at OMB

On Tuesday Nov. 25, a pre-hearing was held at the Ontario Municipal Board to identify the “parties” to the field dispute, and to set dates for the hearing(s) to come. 

Five parties signed up. On one side were the City of Toronto, HVRA/PARA (Palmerston Area Residents Association), and former Councillor Ceta Ramkhalawansingh. On the other side were the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Razor Management. 

Approximately 35 residents attended the pre-hearing, including two who support the TDSB proposal. Most signed up as “participants,” which will allow them to testify if a full hearing is needed. That hearing would last two weeks in late June. 

In the meantime, all five parties have embarked on mediation at the Ontario Municipal Board. Mediation is a confidential process. As a result, you won’t hear or receive further updates from us until we are permitted to do so.


Your financial support requested

November 17, 2014
The fight to save the Central Tech field is entering a critical phase as it moves before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

Lawyer Tim Gleason has agreed to act for us pro bono during the OMB pre-hearing on November 25.

We have also retained Beate Bowron, a professional city planner with expertise in mediation. She is charging us a discounted fee for her services, at a fraction of her normal rates.

In anticipation of having to raise this money, we’re now asking for financial contributions or pledges for future financial help. Because of the uncertainties of the process going forward, it is not possible to know yet the exact amount, but it will not be less than $10,000.


If you would like to make a contribution today, you can:

  1. Click the PayPal donation button here  

  2. or send a cheque to:
    Harbord Village Residents' Association
    PO Box 68522
    360A Bloor St. West
    Toronto, ON M5S 1X1

    Please mark "Stop the dome campaign" on the cheque.


If you would like to make a commitment for future financial support, please contact HVRA board member Christian Mueller at ontario55@gmail.com and let him know how much you are willing to pledge.

Thank you.
Tim Grant, Chair, Harbord Village Residents' Association

For background on this campaign click here to see our first fundraising message.

For more information on the TDSB's plans for a commercial sports dome on the Central Tech playing field, please see our Central Tech webpages.

HVRA presents COMMUNITY BUILDER AWARD to neighbourhood hero Sharron Richards

Our thanks to photographer Richard Longley.

Our thanks to good neighbour Sharron Richards of Major Street for showing extraordinary courage and compassion in coming to the aid and assistance of two young women who had been mugged, robbed and physically beaten on Major Street south of Ulster.

In appreciation of Sharron's generosity, HVRA's chair Tim Grant presented Sharron with a Community Builder Award during our AGM on November 3, 2014.

The citation continued, "Answering one’s door at 2:30 in morning is not an easy thing, nor, upon doing so only to find two women in distress and one bleeding profusely from the head.  But this is precisely what happened to Sharron Richards on the morning of October 30, 2014.  Sharron did not hesitate to bring them inside and tend the wounds with towels and ice and by calling the police who arrived quickly with an ambulance. 

"Harbord Village is proud of Sharron’s actions on that night. And with neighbours like Sharron, Harbord Village will thrive."

Click here to see Sharron tell CBC-TV about the late-night knock on her door.

7th Annual Pumpkin Festival — ooohs and aaahs for our 800 carved and candle-lit pumpkins

HVRA winners at Heritage Toronto Awards October 21, 2014


Left: Volunteers (re)light candles during the very windy Pumpkin Fest on November 1. Our HVRA chair/festival coordinator Tim Grant is in the middle of the group of three at the back of the table.

Our thanks to the 35+ volunteers who helped make the festival an enchanted evening.

See more photos of our 2014 Pumpkin Festival here.

Notes from our Chair Tim Grant

Following a rainy Halloween night, the 7h annual Harbord Street Pumpkin Festival took place on a dry, but windy Saturday, November 1st, 2014.   Close to 800 carved and candle-lit pumpkins were displayed on table tops from Spadina Avenue to Borden Street.   Among them were dozens of especially-clever designs that attracted “ooohs” and “aaahs” from hundreds of attendees, young and old. Squeels of joy from the youngest viewers could be heard all evening up and down Harbord Street.

While not rainy, the Festival took place on a cold night, so 60 liters of free hot cider given out by volunteers at the HVRA tents were much appreciated by those attending the Festival.  While sipping their cider, many asked questions and mentioned the issues most important to them.  In addition to hot cider, attendees were also warmed by the bagpipes played by HVRA’s past chair Rory Gus Sinclair. And stationed in every block, another set of volunteers sold “50-50” tickets to raise money for the Community Swim which occur s every Saturday at Central Tech school.

Our first thanks goes to our partner organization, the Harbord Street Business Improvement Association, who rented the tables, placed promotional posters in storefronts along Harbord, and recruited U of T football players to help set up 75 long tables along Harbord.  

A second round of thanks goes to Longos who once again sold us the 60 liters of cider at a much reduced rate.   And last but not least, a big thanks goes to the more than 35 volunteers, who handed out Festival cards during Halloween, collected pumpkins, inserted candles and lit them, dispensed cider and helped to clean up at the end of the evening.

Putting on such a festival requires an enormous amount of work by many, and lasts but three hours. But the joy it brings to so many,  makes it all worthwhile. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Tim Grant, 2014 Pumpkin Festival Coordinator

HVRA and board member Wendy Smith win HERITAGE TORONTO awards!

HVRA winners at Heritage Toronto Awards October 21, 2014

Above: Representing HVRA at the Heritage Toronto Award Ceremony October 21, 2014 (left to right) —
Eleanor Levine, Oral History Project coordinator Nicole Schulman, Margaret Procter, HVRA Chair Tim Grant, and Wendy Smith.
(Photo courtesy Heritage Toronto.)

Heritage Toronto citation honouring HVRA's heritage campaigns over the past decade

"Founded in the 1960s, the Harbord Village Residents' Association is dedicated to building local community.

"From 2005 to 2009, the HVRA secured two Heritage Conservation District plans in its area.

"In 2012, it shifted its attention to include the area's cultural heritage. Laneways were recently renamed after local residents from Harbord Village's past, and the Harbord Village History working group has conducted oral history interviews about daily life with 100 of the area's oldest, long-time residents. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and indexed by theme, and published online. In the fall of 2013, the Association partnered with a group of Museum Studies students and Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre to present a physical exhibit which in turn generated more memories and comments.

Future projects may include collecting photographs from long-time residents and conducting interviews in other languages.

"The Jury commended the Harbord Village Residents' Association for bringing their area’s heritage to life in fresh, accessible, and innovative ways. Rich research has been shared with a broad audience both in neighbourhood streetscapes and online."

HVRA was a big winner at the Heritage Toronto Annual Awards ceremony on October 21. We were honoured, first, with a COMMUNITY HERITAGE AWARD  (Toronto and East York Community Council Area), and later during the ceremony with the MEMBERS' CHOICE AWARD, which is an award voted by all Heritage Toronto members for their favourite of the eight 2014 Community Heritage nominees.

HVRA board member Wendy Smith was also honoured, receiving Heritage Toronto's AWARD OF EXCELLENCE (its highest award) in the Media category, for her Toronto Park Lot Project. The Heritage Toronto Jury applauded Wendy's project for its "scholarly attention to detail and its engaging presentation", and praised it as "an excellent tool for promoting a greater understanding of Toronto’s heritage." You can see Wendy's project here: http://parklotproject.com

The Heritage Toronto Awards Jury commended HVRA for bringing our area’s heritage "to life in fresh, accessible, and innovative ways". Each of the two Community Heritage awards to HVRA was accompanied by a cheque to HVRA for $500, which will be a very welcome support to our future heritage projects.

HVRA was represented at the awards ceremony by former HVRA board member Eleanor Levine and present board member Margaret Procter. Both were valuable members of HVRA's 2013 Oral History Project team, which recorded the memories of Harbord Village residents who lived in the neighbourhood before 1975. Eleanor, who accepted the two awards on our behalf, conducted most of the 100+ hour-long oral history interviews which can now be heard on the Harbord Village History website.

Congratulations to everyone involved in Harbord Village heritage and history projects over the years:

For work on the Harbord Village Heritage Conservation District Advisory Committee: Gus Sinclair, Sue Dexter, and Richard Longley.

Gus Sinclair, coordinator of our Laneway Naming Project, and jury members Bob Barnett, Margie Zeidler, Tim Grant, and Neil Wright.

And to everyone who submitted laneway name suggestions, thank you.

Members of the Oral History Project team: Dr. Nicole Schulman, Eleanor Levine, Richard Gilbert, Wendy Smith, Margaret Procter, Dinny Biggs, Colin Furness, Mary Newberry, Margaret de Boer and Frances Robinson.

And to all 100 of our oral history project interviewees, thank you.

Congratulations EVERYONE, and well done!

Central Tech update —

Our online petition now has 600+ signatures. Don't forget to sign! SAVE THE CENTRAL TECH PLAYING FIELD —STOP THE DOME.

The TDSB has refused to release essential Central Tech documents requested under the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT until 36 hours after a TDSB board meeting which could decide the fate of the Razor dome proposal. The delayed delivery date is October 31. See details on our F.O.I. webpage.

TDSB has lost another round in its fight to force an 8-storey commercial sports dome onto the Central Tech playing field.

September 30, 2014
The TDSB appeal to Divisional Court was turned down today by the three justices who heard the appeal.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
The day after the loss at Divisional Court, TDSB lawyer Gordon Petch wrote the Ontario Municipal Board requesting a 10-day hearing as soon as possible. He also requested the assistance of a board mediator "on an emergency basis" in hopes of fast-tracking a settlement between the city, the communities and the school board that will clear the way for the dome.

For details on legal and planning developments, please see our new Central Tech Legal/Planning webpage.

HVRA will soon be launching a fund-raising appeal to pay for expert planning, legal, and other advice needed to properly represent ourselves at any such proceeding.

An OPEN LETTER TO ELECTORS opposing the Central Tech dome proposal has been signed by 20 Councillor and Trustee Candidates in Trinity Spadina (Municipal Wards 19 and 20, and TDSB Ward 10).


We have reorganized the Central Tech portion of the HVRA website into 15 pages to make it easier for you to find the information you're looking for. See HVRA's new Central Tech webpage here.

HVRA challenges the accuracy of unelected Ward 10 interim TDSB trustee Glassco's newsletter promoting the Central Tech dome proposal. For copies of the Trustee's Newsletter and OUR DETAILED RESPONSE, please see our Central Tech webpage.

HVRA continues to call for a City summit to establish the facts. We call for a halt to the TDSB's Central Tech dome offensive until the new Trustees and City Councillors take office after the fall election.

The City offers $ to rescue the field — why won't the TDSB talk?

Honest Ed's Development

Community survey finds green space, a civic plaza, and a community cultural centre the three top priorities of neighbouring residents in the redevelopment of the Mirvish Village site


Westbank Projects Corp., a Vancouver development firm, has acquired the Honest Ed’s site in the block bounded by Lennox, Markham, Bathurst and Bloor. It has undertaken a series of public consultations and will be presenting plans to the City as early as later in the Fall.

In response the Mirvish Village Task Group, led by the Palmerston Residents Association, with the participation of the Seaton Village, Annex, and Harbord Village residents' associations, has surveyed residents to determine community desires for whatever building development take place on this critical site. This will be one of the largest developments in our part of town.

Asked to rank the importance of the inclusion of various kinds of public amenities in the development, 276 respondents ranked GREEN SPACE first (215 very important, 48 somewhat important); a CIVIC PLAZA second (109/75); and a  COMMUNITY CULTURAL CENTRE third (111/89).

The survey also found that residents favoured a building height similar to that of the B-Street Condos across Bathurst Street, and wanted to see only small-size retail operations in the building.

A further public process will take place in the future.

You can see the study results here.

Heritage Directory15th Edition of the Harbord Village Directory for Conservators and Restorers of Heritage Properties is available.

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.

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.

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.

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