Welcome to Harbord Village

HVRA members receive regular email messages about local events and issues. See recent HVRA News messages here.

You can also follow us on Twitter @HarbordVillage 


Development Plans for Bathurst-Bloor site

What's going to happen with the Honest Ed's site? The developer, the city, and local residents' associations are still discussing that. Keep current at the website created by a subgroup of the Palmerston Area Residents' Association: www.mirvishvillagetg.org. Watch for a new proposal expected from the developer in February 2016.

Report from Jan. 14 meeting on Spadina-Sussex Redevelopment

A well-attended community meeting sponsored by Councillor Joe Cressy heard about U of T plans and aired community concerns about the intended construction of a mixed-use student residence on the northwest corner of Spadina and Sussex. Read a summary report of the discussions here.

Harbord Village Green Plan: Read and Hope

In early January 2016, Councillor Joe Cressy released an official Green Plan for Harbord Village that maps out ways to transform neglected public spaces into green spots. As the cover (above) indicates, this plan is a joint initiative of HVRA and the city. Through spring and summer 2015, a group of local residents met to discuss and research opportunities for a greener neighbourhood. They talked to others about the 3 Bs (bees, butterflies, and birds) and encouraged planting of pollinator-friendly plants in gardens and street planters. They also looked at ideas for laneway greening. Behind the scenes, a group worked with staff in the Councillor’s office to map Harbord Village and gather information on ownership and legalities for “greenscaping” paved spaces. (Articles in our October 2015 Newsletter reported on these preliminaries, and on planting work done by the Harbord Village Gardeners' group.)
Now we have the Harbord Village Green Plan (cllick to download it as a PDF file). This 19-page leaflet is excellent reading for grey winter days, and a fine way to plan for action in 2016 and beyond. It sets out the potentials for our area in words, photos, and maps, and describes collaborations already in place with the two local Business Improvement Associations and the city. But it’s not just another planning document: it also outlines the facts and values that make further greening of Harbord Village a necessity for our health and well-being.
Watch for more news--and invitations to more meetings and more work. Sue Dexter (co-author of the report) notes: “The Green Plan sets the principles in place. It will be going forward through the council process. Some of it will involve investment money, city permissions and big equipment. We will be exploring funding. But some ideas in the plan can be brought to life by local, even individual, initiatives, from as little as hanging baskets to vine planting, perennials, grasses, water direction, perhaps building containers.”
Residents involved in the process so far deserve our thanks, starting with Sue Dexter, 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 need special thanks for planning and finding funds for a Croft Street revitalization: look for their creative urban design next summer. Meanwhile, keep reading and dreaming, and be ready to help the plans become reality. 

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


One Resident's Response to the College Street Planning Study

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


2015 Pumpkin Festival and Silent Auction

Nov. 1, 5:30-8:30 pm

The 2015 Pumpkin Festival was a great success! Hundreds of people promenaded along Harbord Street to join their neighbours in admiring the amazing pumpkin carvings and sculptures. (Photos by Graham Rempe and Richard Longley capture the atmosphere -- see a collection here.)

Apple cider drew people into the premises of 106 Harbord, along with the display of items for the silent auction, the chance to renew membership, and information about a local initiative to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. Another great evening for Harbord Village community spirit! 

Photo by Richard Longley; see many more on the Pumpkin Festival page


HVRA supports the 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.


HVRA Welcomes Mediated Settlement on Central Tech Field

Thanks to a mediated settlement recently concluded under the auspices of the Ontario Municipal Board, the Harbord Village Residents’ Association and its community partners have succeeded in reducing the scale and potentially harmful effects of a proposed large championship field at Central Tech.

Read the whole March 6, 2015 statement here.


Donations sought for Graffiti Removal Teams

In February 2013, 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. Following that event, almost all graffiti tags on Sussex Mews and Harbord Street were removed or painted over, and two of the most prolific "taggers" have been arrested. Now HVRA 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. That amounts to thousands of dollars. HVRA is now seeking financial donations that will create a superfund to pay for paint and supplied to be used on other laneways. Why is this necessary? Many of those whose garages or houses have been tagged are on fixed incomes. The HVRA wants to make graffiti eradication painless for them, and will find volunteers to do the work. But they need funds to support their work. 

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

Harbord Village Pilot Project Gets Ahead of Emerald Ash Killers

Cost to HVRA homeowners 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 quickly 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, in 2012. “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.

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