South of the former North Toronto railway station—and current Summerhill LCBO—Scrivener Square is the site of what could become a new Toronto landmark. Designed by Copenhagen's COBE Architects, an ambitious new application envisions a typologically varied pair of buildings dubbed Scrivener Court, surrounding the historic Summerhill retail frontages—known locally (and affectionately) as the 'Five Thieves'—with new residential density, more retail, and public space. 

Scrivener Court, Toronto, by Diamond Corp. Tricon, COBE ArchitectsLooking south, image via submission to the City of Toronto 

Developed by Diamond Corp. and Tricon Capital, the Official Plan Amendment (OPA) and rezoning proposal calls for two mixed-use buildings to intensify an L-shaped site fronting onto Yonge Street, Scrivener Square, and Price Street. Organized around a mid-block pedestrian courtyard, both buildings are fronted by retail space, with 182 rental apartment units planned above. Prepared by Urban Strategies Inc., the project's planning rationale outlines a unit mix of 26% one-bedroom, 54% two-bedroom, and 20% three-bedroom suites.

Scrivener Court, Toronto, by Diamond Corp. Tricon, COBE ArchitectsAerial view of the project, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Fronting Yonge Street and Scrivener Square, an 8-storey volume would replace the vacant green space and parking lot between the public square and the retailers on the north side of the Five Thieves complex. The three-storey brick frontage is set back from Yonge to facilitate an enlarged public realm and protect sightlines to the former railway station's iconic clock tower.

Scrivener Court, Toronto, by Diamond Corp. Tricon, COBE ArchitectsThe 8-storey building's Yonge Street frontage, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Flanked on all sides by pedestrian space, including a wide sidewalk that slides into Scrivener Square to the north, the building is also bisected by a north-south pedestrian galleria leading down to the site's mid-block square. Lined by retail, the materially varied and deftly articulated volumes fronting the square strive to create a fine-grained street level. 

Scrivener Court, Toronto, by Diamond Corp. Tricon, COBE ArchitectsThe mid-block square, image via submission to the City of Toronto

To the south, a taller 26-storey tower volume fronts Price Street. At the lower levels, a brick frontage matches the scale and materiality of the 8-storey building to the north, deftly referencing the scale and rhythm of surrounding built form. At 319 feet (97 metres), the tower—located a block and a half south of Summerhill subway station—would be the tallest building between the two high-rise clusters at St. Clair and Bloor. 

Scrivener Court, Toronto, by Diamond Corp. Tricon, COBE ArchitectsHeight context, image via submission to the City of Toronto

Featuring an average floorplate of approximately 750 m², the subtly articulated modern tower would replace the conjoined buildings at 8-10 Price Street. Built directly above the Yonge Street subway tunnel, the retail-fronted buildings were both constructed in the 1960s, with the structure at 8 Price Street subsequently re-clad to mimic the area's Edwardian character.  

Scrivener Court, Toronto, by Diamond Corp. Tricon, COBE Architects8-10 Price Street, image via Google Maps

West of the tower, a retail-lined pedestrian laneway leads to the intimate mid-block courtyard, which would be accessible from all four directions. Appointed by Claude Cormier + Associés, the landscaping and public realm plan introduces a paved, curbless 'urban carpet' to the site's street-level. Furnished by plantings and—potentially—café-style patio seating, the generously proportioned laneways are designed to create a permeable and engaging street-level experience, inviting pedestrian activity to the site while fostering a sense of "stickiness" that invites passerby to linger.

Scrivener Court, Toronto, by Diamond Corp. Tricon, COBE ArchitectsThe public realm plan, click for a closer view, image via submission to the City of Toronto

In the coming days, we will return with a closer look at the project's architectural expression. In the meantime, you can learn more about Scrivener Court by checking out our newly established Database file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.