Dundas and Bloor is a bustling West End Toronto intersection, but it feels like that's the case despite what all is around it: right now, everything feels wrong.

To the northeast there's The Crossways, a giant rental apartment complex with an indoor retail mall half a flight up from grade: stairs will take you inside, but there's nothing street-friendly about the design.

To the northwest there's the shuttered sales centre of a condo development that was turned down by the OMB. Someday that'll be redeveloped, before I'm dead I hope.

To the southwest there's one of the least attractive buildings in all of Toronto Canada the World: service retail at grade, four floors of office above, eight floors of rental apartments above that. 

To the southeast, there's Bishop Marrocco / Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School. It presents a nearly lifeless facade to Bloor and a fortress-like one to Dundas.

Right now this corner is not much more than a traffic light to get caught at, but with a busy subway station just to the north, and an increasingly important GO Train/UP Express station immediately to the east, it should feel like it's the centre of everything. Choice Properties REIT, owner of the suburban High Park Plaza on Dundas just south of the school, has begun work to fix that.

2280 Dundas West seen from the air, Choice Properties REITA view of the site, with the TDSB lands also shown, image via Choice Properties REIT

Choice wants to remake their property. Currently home to a Loblaws, an LCBO, a Coffee Time and a Kal Tire, the rest of the site is surface parking plus a shuttered former Zellers. Saturday, that Zellers is re-opening as a 'Community Idea Centre', where Choice is set up to engage with anyone who wants to talk about what they want for the site. Choice first held an open house here in June to announce their intention to redevelop, and to hear the community's hopes for the site. It was quite the turnout.

Four months later, Choice is back with their initial concepts. On Saturday at Noon there will be formal remarks—the same presentation will be repeated at 2 PM, doors open at 11:30 AM, closing at 2:30 PM—by Ward 14 Councillor Gord Perks, Choice Director of Mixed-Use Development Joe Svec, and architect Ralph Giannone of Giannone Petricone Associates. The public is invited to come see redevelopment concepts for the site, at this stage focusing on the ground realm.

2280 Dundas West, Choice Properties REIT, TorontoLooking south through the site, image by Cicada, courtesy of Choice Properties REIT

What those in attendance will hear is that Choice is looking to realize onsite the ideas that were generated by the community at the first open house:

  • a new mixed-use centre for the community
  • extending the feel of the creative Roncesvalles community north
  • transitioning from low-rise on the south towards higher densities at Bloor
  • moving the school to the south end of the site
  • places to work and play, not just live
  • improving connectivity across the rail corridor, and 
  • making better connections to the transit stations

While there's a ways to go to make it happen, officials at the TDCSB are looking into making the school move work. The community also told Choice that they want the Loblaws to stay and they want it to be continuously open too, so a phased rebuild could see the Loblaws move up to Bloor (with mixed uses above it) on the site of the school's current field, while a new school is built in part of the current parking lot. With those facilities replaced, the rest of the site redevelopment could follow.

2280 Dundas West, Choice Properties REIT, TorontoLooking north through the site, image by Cicada, courtesy of Choice Properties REIT

New to the mix would be more retail, plenty of residential, park space, and possibly 200,000 square feet of new office space. (Located 9 minutes from Downtown via GO/UPX and 19 minutes from the airport via UPX, office space here will likely be attractive to many.)

2280 Dundas West, Choice Properties REIT, TorontoLooking southeast from the site, image by Cicada, courtesy of Choice Properties REIT

Working with Giannone Petricone to make the development attractive are planners Urban Strategies and landscape architect Public Work. The firms' concept plans for the ground realm are being floated at the open house—and over the next few months as the Community Idea Centre will open Tuesdays through Thursdays 4 to 8 PM, and Saturdays 11 AM to 5 PM, starting October 17—for community feedback. Generous pedestrian-oriented space at ground level is key to the plans to entice people to shops, restaurants, and 'maker spaces' located in low-rise podiums. Office space and residential space would be located above.

Transit links, 2280 Dundas West, Choice Properties REITDiagram showing potential improved transit links at Dundas West and Bloor stations, image courtesy of Choice Properties REIT

A new south entrance to Bloor GO/UPX station would also provide access to a new east end entrance to Dundas West subway station. (Metrolinx finally announced a few days ago they were starting the expropriation process to get the space needed from The Crossways' parking garage to create the new GO/UPX/subway link.) Metrolinx are now exploring an extension of the Bloor station platforms to the south to make a connection with the Choice redevelopment work.

2280 Dundas West Community Idea Centre, Choice Properties REIT, TorontoInside the Community Idea Centre, image by Craig White

Choice wants feedback. As mentioned above, you can visit the open house on Saturday, or four days a week going forward. You can also provide feedback on the website they've set up.

UrbanToronto will follow plans for the site as they develop. You can get a better look now via our database file, linked below, which has more renderings. You can also get in on the discussion in our associated Forum thread, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.