Just west of Toronto's Little Italy, the stretch of College street between Shaw Street and Havelock Street is poised to welcome a long-awaited streetscape transformation over the Summer and into the Fall. Following a series of delays in 2016, work on the new public realm is now set to re-start, with a revitalization project that introduces 5 new parkettes, 58 new tree plantings, street lighting, and 29 additional bike racks, on top of the 101 that already exist. 

Conceptual Renderings of College Street, image courtesy of PMA Landscape ArchiteConceptual Renderings of College Street, image courtesy of PMA Landscape Architects

While the project was initially conceived of as a sidewalk improvement project in 2013, the College Street BIA seized the initiative to create a more inviting streetscape, spurring a more comprehensive re-imagining of the public realm and funding 50% of the expanded project, which will feature landscaping by PMA, and installations by a variety of local artists. Following an initial construction start, the City then effectively fired its contractor for the $3.4 million project in October of last year, with work now finally set to recommence. 

New bike racks designed by Scott Eunson, image via City of Toronto New bike racks designed by Scott Eunson, image via City of Toronto

New street furniture and plantings—including replacements for trees in poor health—are set to accompany the high-quality brick paving. Along with the above-mentioned additions, three unique 'blue room' installation by artist Stanislav Jurkovic will be placed along the street—among the five new parkettes—creating a series of unique spaces.

New bike racks designed by Scott Eunson, image via City of Toronto Parkette furnishings, image via City of Toronto

According to the City of Toronto, "The Blue Room is a space within a space. Similar to a 3-dimensional 'green screen' in film production, the space becomes stage and canvas. The space is installed through an act of subtracting all that is 'aggregated background' by the addition of non-discriminating colour. Any implied block of colour space is conceptually placed within the proposed parkettes. As a result, the new positive space appears in its 3-dimensional implications."

 Blue Room Concept Sketches, image courtesy of College Street BIA and Stanislav JBlue Room Concept Sketches, image courtesy of College Street BIA and Stanislav Jurkovic

Work is set to take place throughout three stages on the south side of College Street, beginning with the Rusholme Road to Dovercourt Road portion from June 19th to July 16th. The Dovercourt Road to Ossington Avenue portion will follow from July 17th to August 13th, with the Ossington Avenue to Shaw Street portion from August 14th to September 8th, while the final phase from September 9th to October 13th will involve the entire north side of College Street.

Phasing of College Street Streetscape Transformation, image courtesy of City of Phasing of College Street Streetscape Transformation, image courtesy of City of Toronto

The improved streetscape is set to be ready in the mid-Autumn, and construction is set to run throughout the Summer from 7 AM to 11 PM, Monday to Friday. We will be sure to keep you updated on the project as it progresses. In the meantime, more information is available on the City of Toronto's website and the College Street BIA's FAQ page.