Toronto's Laird and Eglinton area is expected to grow substantially in the coming years as a result of a new Crosstown LRT line station, targeted to open in 2021. Among the six designated 'Focus Areas' along the new rapid transit line, the Laird Focus Area is projected to be transformed from its current use as a car-oriented shopping, business, and industrial district into a new mixed-use community with the addition of over 2,400 new homes and 3,900 to 4,900 new residents over the next couple of decades. 

A new proposal aims to contribute a sizeable percentage of these new homes, tabled for developer RioCan’s Leaside Centre at 815-845 Eglinton Avenue East. The 3.56-hectare (8.8-acre) site at the southeast corner of Laird and Eglinton is currently occupied by a combined 11,500 square metres of retail space including a Canadian Tire and a Petsmart store, divided from Eglinton by a large surface parking lot. The northwest corner of the site will include an entrance to the new Laird Crosstown LRT station, setting a precondition for new levels of density. The proposal seeks a total of 1,435 residential units and several commercial and retail spaces spread across seven buildings, ranging in height from 6 to 34 storeys. At a total of 132,940 square metres of gross floor area, the proposed GFA would be 3.7 times the existing site area.

Subject site (red outline) and Laird Focus Area (yellow outline)Subject site (red outline) and Laird Focus Area (yellow outline), image retrieved from submission to City of Toronto

The project would be constructed in phases featuring buildings designed by Quadrangle Architects and Turner Fleischer Architects, with the first phase consisting of a retail podium with new Canadian Tire and Petsmart stores, the LRT station secondary entrance, and mid-rise residential buildings of 6 to 12 storeys rising above. Later phases would see the construction of 12 and 26 storey buildings at the northeast corner of the site, followed by 9 and 34 storey residential buildings to the south. The placement of the mid-rise structures along the site's main frontages is meant to create a street wall that sensitively transitions to the surroundings, while the tallest and densest components of the redevelopment would be focused towards the interior of the site.

Site plan for 815 Eglinton Avenue EastSite plan for 815 Eglinton Avenue East, image retrieved from submission to City of Toronto

The site would be divided by a new internal private road network, while an extension of Don Avon Drive—a new north/south public street on yet-to-be-conveyed land—would connect Eglinton and Vanderhoof Avenues along the east side of the site. Virtually all parking on the site would be moved to a new underground parking garage containing a total of 1,704 spaces for residents, commercial tenants, and visitors to the site.

Density map and proposed street gridDensity map and proposed street grid, image retrieved from submission to City of Toronto

A 0.34 hectare public park is proposed to tie the development's southwest corner to the adjacent lower-rise Leaside neighbourhoods at the corner of Laird Drive and Vanderhoof Avenue. Other open space on the site would include a Privately Owned Publicly-accessible Space (POPS) further east along Vanderhoof Avenue. A new 700 square metre community centre would face the POPS, while a north-south pedestrian walkway trough the site would connect the POPS, the community centre, and the largest of the residential buildings to each other and Eglinton Avenue. 

We will return with more information details as further details of the project emerge during the planning process. In the meantime, if you'd like to get involved in the discussion, check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment using the field provided at the bottom of this page.