Ontario identifies Toronto’s first two “subway-oriented” communities

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government has released plans to build two transit-oriented communities around the future East Harbour Transit Hub and Corktown Station along the new Ontario Line subway in Toronto. The city is reviewing preliminary proposals and public consultations will be held this summer.

“We are making it easier to build critical transit projects faster and to develop complete communities focused on connecting people and places,” said Kinga Surma, associate minister of transportation (GTA).

“Ontario is leading the province’s first Transit-Oriented Communities Program that will bring more housing, jobs, and community and recreational spaces within walking distance of new subway stations and reliable, efficient transit.”

A preliminary set of concepts proposes a transformation of the 38-acre East Harbour development site into a transit-oriented community that would include the creation of a major employment centre expected to bring more than 50,000 jobs to the area.

The proposal also includes a diverse range of residential space and community amenities surrounding a multi-modal hub or a Union Station of the East that would bring GO rail and SmartTrack station services, Ontario Line subway service and a future TTC streetcar extension.

At Corktown Station, the plan is for a “dynamic” community with housing, jobs, commercial uses, and community spaces, such as a library, connected to the Ontario Line subway and TTC bus and streetcar services. In recognition of the historical significance of the land, the province will work with the City of Toronto, stakeholders, the community, and Indigenous partners to collaborate on a meaningful plan to commemorate the rich heritage of Canada’s First Parliament site.

In February 2020 the Ontario government and the City of Toronto signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Transit-Oriented Development establishing a joint commitment to seek transit-oriented opportunities based on stated objectives that deliver needed critical infrastructure projects at a lower cost to taxpayers.

“Our government is committed to working together with our municipal partner and landowners to deliver critical transit solutions, while also supporting other essential infrastructure needs in the city,” Surma said. “Together, we will bring to life a shared vision for these future subway stations, providing new opportunities for people to live, work and play close to environmentally friendly rapid transit.”

In February 2020, Ontario signed the Ontario-Toronto Transit Partnership Preliminary Agreement with the City of Toronto to deliver on the unified plan to significantly expand and modernize the subway network across the Greater Toronto Area.

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