In Toronto's West Don Lands, the one-time Athletes Village of the 2015 Pan Am Games is already well into its second life as a mixed-use urban community. Now served by the TTC's new 514 Cherry streetcar, the neighbourhood known as the 'Canary District' saw residents move in throughout the summer, with retail offerings gradually following into the first months of Fall.

Pan Am Village, West Don Lands, Canary District, DundeeKilmer, TorontoThe entrance to the neighbourhood at Cherry and Front, the former Cherry Street Hotel, image by Stefan Novakovic

When we last toured the neighbourhood in March, residential and retail spaces remained empty, and the young trees that line the pedestrian-oriented Front Street promenade had yet to make a strong impact on the streetscape. The Cooper Koo YMCA (below, in late September) had yet to open, while the George Brown College student residence awaited its first young occupants in August. 

Pan Am Village, West Don Lands, Canary District, DundeeKilmer, TorontoThe Cooper Koo YMCA, image by Stefan Novakovic

By contrast, 400-metre promenade is now lined with greenery (below), while residents now occupy DundeeKilmer's Canary District and Canary Park condominiums, as well as the new Student Residence.

Pan Am Village, West Don Lands, Canary District, DundeeKilmer, TorontoGreenery on the Front Street Promenade, image by Stefan Novakovic

The Cooper Koo YMCA is also now open to the public, while a number of retailers have introduced signs of street-level vitality to the nascent community. 

Pan Am Village, West Don Lands, Canary District, DundeeKilmer, TorontoThe interior of Souk, image by Stefan Novakovic

At the base off Canary Park Condos—which neighbours Corktown Common at the east end of the promenade—Gears Bike Shop has recently been joined by Souk, a Tabule restaurant (above). Other recently opened retailers include the Running Room and the OpusGlowConcept day spa (below).  

Pan Am Village, West Don Lands, Canary District, DundeeKilmer, TorontoThe OpusGlowConcept spa, image by Stefan Novakovic

In the coming weeks, a new Dark Horse Café is expected to open on the north side of the promenade, while retailers including Sukhothai, Tori's Bakeshop, FUEL+, ThinkFitness Studios, and TD Bank, are expected to follow later this year.

Pan Am Village, West Don Lands, Canary District, DundeeKilmer, TorontoCanary Park Condos, with the site of River City 3 seen in the background, image by Stefan Novakovic

While most of the stores and services were initially expected to open in the late summer, a more gradual roll-out will deliver the increased street-level activity provided by retailers throughout the coming months.

Pan Am Village, West Don Lands, Canary District, DundeeKilmer, TorontoCanary Park, image by Stefan Novakovic

Meanwhile, the neighbourhood's prominent public art installations—which include the blue world of The Water Guardians (below) and the nestlike chaos of Lamppost—are now joined by an installation called the Garden of Future Follies.

Pan Am Village, West Don Lands, Canary District, DundeeKilmer, TorontoThe Water Guardians, image by Stefan Novakovic

Fronting Canary Park Condos, the bronze courtyard by Canadian art duo Hadley+Maxwell features a rich collage of fragments reflecting Toronto's complex history. Jack Layton's smile is somewhere in there too

Pan Am Village, West Don Lands, Canary District, DundeeKilmer, TorontoThe Garden of Future Follies, image by Stefan Novakovic

We will keep you updated as the neighbourhood continues to develop, and future phases begin to be built out. In the meantime, further information is available in our associated dataBase files, linked below, while a more complete overview of the Canary District can be found in our March coverage.

Pan Am Village, West Don Lands, Canary District, DundeeKilmer, TorontoSunset from the Yonge Street Promenade, image by Stefan Novakovic

Want to share your thoughts about how the neighbourhood is shaping up? Leave a comment in the space below this page, or join one of the ongoing discussions in our Forum.