Bathurst and Bloor is looking a little worse-for-wear these days. Long gone is Honest Ed's with its garish, blinking, and beloved signage. The property, including most of the land on the block east of Markham Street between Bloor and Lennox, plus more land across Markham Street to the west, is now clear of the buildings that were to come down… and for a large chunk of land in the centre of Toronto, it's bizarre to see it so empty for the moment.

Mirvish Village construction site, Toronto, Westbank CorpLooking east from Markham and Bloor across the Mirvish Village site, image by UT Forum contributor ponyboy

Instead of the discount department store, the site is now busy with shoring rigs beginning the job of excavation in advance of the construction of the buildings that will make up the new Mirvish Village. Being developed by Westbank Corp of Vancouver, the proposal was refined over the course of about two years as City planners and local residents weighed in on the plans. The result is that we should be getting something as fine-grained as what was there before, with a lot of attention paid to varying streetscapes and building massing, so that the finished development that does not feel monolithic nor sterile, despite its increase in density and its redevelopment in one fell swoop.

Mirvish Village construction site, Toronto, Westbank CorpLooking south along Markham from Bloor through the Mirvish Village site, image by UT Forum contributor ponyboy

A number of the Victorian buildings on the site are being saved, repurposed to greater or lesser degrees, and with there exteriors restored. While most of those buildings are south along Markham Street, (and seen in the background of photos above and below), 585 Bloor is being saved as well, with its journey to restoration and refitting now under way.

Mirvish Village demolition and construction site, Toronto, Westbank CorpPreparing to save heritage at Markham and Bloor for Mirvish Village, image by UT Forum contributor ponyboy

Most recently home to a Korean restaurant, gutting of the ground floor has revealed old wooden floor joists and other structural elements that will be worked into the rehabilitation plan for the building. The ongoing work here attracted the eye of an UrbanToronto Forum contributor whom we know as 'ponyboy', who took all of the shots featured in today's article.

Mirvish Village demolition and construction site, Toronto, Westbank CorpInterior demolition at Markham and Bloor for Mirvish Village, image by UT Forum contributor ponyboy

While the expansive temporarily gaping hole in the neighbourhood is between Bathurst and Markham streets, a couple buildings have been demolished on the south side of Bloor west of Markham too, their absence now exposing a small light well carved into 585 Bloor West, which had residential rental suites on its upper floors. Soon enough, preparation for excavation will begin here too.

Mirvish Village demolition and construction site, Toronto, Westbank CorpSite preparation west of Markham on Bloor for Mirvish Village, image by UT Forum contributor ponyboy

When the Mirvish Village site is fully redeveloped, it will be home to an eclectic mix of buildings, varying in size, height, and architectural expression. Designed by Henriquez Partners Architects with ERA Architects handing heritage aspects, the development will include shops, restaurants, a market, park space, and over 800 units of rental housing in buildings ranging as high as 26 storeys. 

Mirvish Village, Toronto, design by Henriquez Architects for Westbank CorpLooking north across the redeveloped Mirvish Village, image courtesy of Westbank Corp

You will find several more images of what's coming in our database file for the project, linked below. You can get in on the conversation by visiting the associated Forum thread, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.