News   Sep 20, 2019
 895     3 
News   Sep 20, 2019
 664     2 
News   Sep 20, 2019
 1.6K     2 

The decay of downtown Queen Street East

balenciaga

Banned
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
372
Reaction score
1
One way to explain Queen East's relative stagnation compared to western areas may be the lack of any agglomeration benefits from the areas around it.

Put another way, the western parts of downtown have benefited from being close to other desirable neighbourhoods. Ossington for isntance clearly benefited from being close to Queen West but substantially cheaper. Likewise, I suspect Dundas West is now benefitting from being close to Ossington.

There are nice areas around Queen East, but they don't really offer the same agglomeration benefits. King East is populated mostly by furniture shops. That's great an all but I don't understand why someone would want to live near a chair shop. The Church-Wellesley area's appeal is maybe more targeted than, say, Little Italy.

So, the best way to develop Queen East may be to encourage more nightlife and entertainment along areas like King East.
I don't buy it.
If Ossington benefited from being close to Queen W, why Queen/Jarvis doesn't benefit from being less than 10 minutes away from Eaton Centre? If all the hustle-bustle at Yonge/Dundas is not enough to change Dundas/Sherbourne, why do you think what happens at Broadview, across the valley, will have any impact on it?
 

balenciaga

Banned
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
372
Reaction score
1
However, I would not downplay the development that has already occurred. The West Don Lands development is massively important for the area. It adds a sizeable and by all accounts fantastic park to the area; historic buildings are being kept while it appears that good contemporary midrise architecture will add to the St. Lawrence neighbourhood's existing form. Most importantly, Regent Park's regeneration - combined with the Distillery District and the West Don Lands - will shift the east's reputation in the consciousness of Toronto. Jarvis has been a recent hub of activity; George Brown continues to expand in acceptable and even distinctive ways; Ryerson has begun a cycle of development; and there is a revitalization project for Allen Gardens that will hopefully accentuate its premier status as a park in Toronto. South of Queen there is already not insignificant development: Axiom Condos; Ivory on Adelaide; King East; Post House; King Plus - and even north of Queen O2 Maisonettes. With projects like 154 Front Street, Market Wharf, 60 Colborne, 88 Scott, King Edward, Yonge and Richmond, L Tower, Backstage, etc. development has begun to seep east. Even north Sherbourne near Bloor and even Gerrard has seen a lot of activity.

In my view, as long as the necessary changes to the Don Lands, Regent Park and the east waterfront occur, the area will be absolutely ripe for development. All we need to do is to have the shelter on George Street renovated, improve social services, and to do something with Moss Park to really set the stage.

As an aside, there is a thread regarding that huge parking lot between Church and Jarvis on Queen that could really act as a catalyst for some kind of public square and landmark development to really pull some gravity to the east.
Almost all the "development" you mentioned are south of Richmond St or West of Victoria st, except O2. which hasn't even happened. While this thread is about why Queen East (and probably up north till Carlton) is so crappy east of Victoria.
 

balenciaga

Banned
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
372
Reaction score
1
We already know about a couple potentially developments around Church / Queen, it'll talke a couple and they'll push further east.
What is it? More than one person has mentioned "potential developments" at Church/Queen, yet nobody spelt it out.
Queen/Church and Queen/Jarvis are too desperate intersection crying out for change.

I don't get it. The Jazz building at Shuter/Church is doing well, charging something like $1500-1700 for a one bedroom. What exactly makes Queen/Church or Queen/Jarvis so undesirable that nobody wants to touch it? Isn't such proximity to Eaton Centre/Old City Hall/Yonge St/subway/the Path more than offset the downside of being close to a few shelters on the east?

Queen/Church is essentially 400 meters from that glitzy Massey condo and it faces a beautiful church park. I think people are being irrational here.
 

taal

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 19, 2007
Messages
6,599
Reaction score
93
Location
NYCC
Almost all the "development" you mentioned are south of Richmond St or West of Victoria st, except O2. which hasn't even happened. While this thread is about why Queen East (and probably up north till Carlton) is so crappy east of Victoria.
Right I agree, even the west donlands, that's essentially a different area all together, Queen and north is what's being questioned, nothing to the south.

A good point about gentrification spreading from the east; There have been more developments, and gentrification east of the DVP on Queen.


Regent park plays a big role here too, its smack in the middle of the area in question, without that massive city initiated redevelopment, nothing would have changed. But that proposal may push developments west along Jarvis, there is already Pace Condos.

So maybe it will slowly happen, not on Queen first, rather Dundas, and down from there.
 
Last edited:

taal

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 19, 2007
Messages
6,599
Reaction score
93
Location
NYCC
What is it? More than one person has mentioned "potential developments" at Church/Queen, yet nobody spelt it out.
Was referring to the 60 Colborne:
http://www.sixtycolborne.com/

Granted this is just on the west side of Church and a bit south of Queen, still it may be a start.
 

agoraflaneur

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
717
Reaction score
720
If Ossington benefited from being close to Queen W, why Queen/Jarvis doesn't benefit from being less than 10 minutes away from Eaton Centre? If all the hustle-bustle at Yonge/Dundas is not enough to change Dundas/Sherbourne, why do you think what happens at Broadview, across the valley, will have any impact on it?
Because the two demographics are completely different. Queen West was trendy with artists, who loved the historical architecture and cheap rents, improved the neighbourhood and paved the way for the hangers-on who came in and made it upscale. The artists moved to Ossington and then the process happened again. Then again, and now Dundas West/Bloor-Landsdowne are where they are going. Developers came last - they are not hip, just like people who shop at Eaton Centre. Mall shoppers want something completely different than those who take an interest in artistic and unique places offered by beautiful historical architecture and cheap rents: they want the Gap, a corporate shiny image to follow.

As for Hipster's comments, I somewhat agree, people like those who populated Queen West in the 80s have to take a larger interest in the area for it to realize its full potential. There were some art galleries opening up on Queen at Sherbourne with some other interesting businesses when I left Toronto last year to travel. I think there are already a number of creative people in the music, publishing and film production industries living there. I also am not sure why a furniture row is uninteresting - furniture is design; design is art; artists make furniture; ergo it should attract an artsy crowd. Condo-owners shop for expensive furniture. I like peering in once and a while to see the latest iteration of the venerable couch. King East has a national reputation for this (as evidenced on shows that air on HGTV). Some variety would be alright, but I think we don't have enough retail clusters in Toronto, where retailers must compete and be inspired by one another. Still, I think that the Moss Park towers on Queen that really kill that Queen West vibe there - as I mentioned something will have to happen to revitalize Moss Park.

Last, while all the development I referred to wasn't on Queen, it literally surrounds the area (I also forgot to mention that new condo on Sherbourne just two plots south of Queen, whose name escapes me, there is an infill project happening right now between Sherbourne and Jarvis on Queen - and how is one block away, Ivory on Adelaide for instance, not relevant?). Nonetheless, if you don't think that a huge new park, a transformed waterfront, a totally revitalized former ghetto, the rise of the Distillery, and a boom in building south of Queen won't gradually send shoppers to Queen - well, I disagree. This is how an area is transformed in the minds of condo-buying people, who think that Queen is still undesirable, even though development is on the doorstep.
 
Last edited:

balenciaga

Banned
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
372
Reaction score
1
Was referring to the 60 Colborne:
http://www.sixtycolborne.com/

Granted this is just on the west side of Church and a bit south of Queen, still it may be a start.
I know about this, but it is at King/Church, basically St Lawrence Market area, completely different from Queen/Church/Jarvis, although only 5 minutes away.
Development south of Richmond East has never been lacking (Mondern, for example at Richmond/Sherbourne; Ivory at Adelaide/George), while nobody touches anything north of it.
 

balenciaga

Banned
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
372
Reaction score
1
not if it is true, but a post on Posthouse on Adelaide says:

"I know for a fact(?) city council passed a resolution to renovate that horrid hell, Seaton House, within five years, two years ago. Also, from unconfirmable sources, I heard the Salvation Army has put its Maxwell Meighen Shelter property on the market."

If the latter is gone, the Queen East area will probably get a big boost in terms of desirability.
 

agoraflaneur

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
717
Reaction score
720
Yeah I have been wondering about those rumours quite a bit. I am not sure where to put them - some temporary housing is certainly necessary - but Seaton House has to be renovated for everyone's sake and that Salvation Army is not serving its purpose well enough. If something good can be done there, it would be fantastic.
 

Oliver Tweed

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 10, 2007
Messages
206
Reaction score
0
This is an interesting thread and a lot of good points have been put out there. I am an east ender (Coxwell and Gerrard) and I take the 506 along Gerrard into work. I also frequently drive along Queen east and the east end in general. That technically makes me an expert.

You can't separate Queen east from the larger discussion of the east end of downtown. There is quite a bit of development happening, and it's only a matter of time before Queen east starts to improve -- whatever that means. But let's face it: there are many problems in this area with poverty, addiction, crime, and so on. It's going to take a while to attract the same level of attention from buyers (and therefore developers, or maybe it's the other way around) as the equivalent west end neighbourhoods like Spadina and Adelaide. Ultimately, though, it will happen. This area is attractive an investment perspective because the upside is pretty big.

You know what they say: crackheads today mean capital gains tomorrow.

Okay so they don't say that, but they should.
 

Register123

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
387
Reaction score
1
What is it? More than one person has mentioned "potential developments" at Church/Queen, yet nobody spelt it out.
Queen/Church and Queen/Jarvis are too desperate intersection crying out for change.

I don't get it. The Jazz building at Shuter/Church is doing well, charging something like $1500-1700 for a one bedroom. What exactly makes Queen/Church or Queen/Jarvis so undesirable that nobody wants to touch it? Isn't such proximity to Eaton Centre/Old City Hall/Yonge St/subway/the Path more than offset the downside of being close to a few shelters on the east?

Queen/Church is essentially 400 meters from that glitzy Massey condo and it faces a beautiful church park. I think people are being irrational here.
That "beautiful church park" is probably one of the most disgraceful examples of what a park shouldn't look like. The church leaders should be demanding their parishioners to get their hands and knees dirty and maintain it properly. But instead ther is some sort of deal with city parks and rec to maintain it at the cost to tax payers. The church should be taxed or have their property taken from them if they can't take care of it.
 

jozl

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
361
Reaction score
240
Register123 I agree with your assessment of the bike lanes on Sherbourne. I'm totally perplexed by the silly and "excesively complex" design and the poor workmanship. Unfortunately this sort of municipal blundering plays right into Rob Ford's wheelhouse.
Regarding Queen East, I don't agree with some of the views that Queen East is simply a product of downtown moving west. Queen East of the Don River has seen a healthy and steady improvement. The area between Pape and the Beaches used to be a dead zone but is now thriving. Queen East between Church and Parliament Street has very specific problems that if were addressed, I think, would open it up to significant development. Then again, I've never made a dime on any of my predictions.
 

thecharioteer

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
3,321
Reaction score
1,339
Very interesting discussion, and one that is very complex both from an historical and societal point-of-view.

I think that it would be fair to say that any successful streetscape needs a certain density, and by density I don't mean height. One of the major problems with Queen East is not what is there, but what isn't; or to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, to a large extent "there is no there there". A major problem are the vacant spaces not only between the buildings, but on entire blocks, particuarly east of Ontario in front of the Moss Park Apartments. Comparing the streetscape today with that pre-demolition shows a street that could be as vital as any of our other retail strips (this would also apply to the Moss Park block east of Jarvis, and to the void created by the Mutual Street parking lot). Filling in these gaps with appropriate mid-rise buildings (Market Square scale?), would be a good beginning.



 

agoraflaneur

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
717
Reaction score
720
I agree completely Charioteer: these Moss Park towers are absolutely killers for street life. I would say that a revival of the Tower Renewal program with a modification would significantly help Toronto: these towers could remain, but the areas surrounding the towers need to be utilized. Imagine if there were a row of infill buildings simply built in front of the towers along this whole stretch, and the proceeds could go toward renovating/rebuilding the towers behind? There are also many vacant lots in the area that need desperately to be filled - thankfully, as with Ivory on Adelaide, that is already happening, albeit more slowly than I would like.
 

ham

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
33
Reaction score
0
never forget "The Modern", which is a good addition to the intersection of Queen and Sherbourne.
Maybe a few more rental buildings like Concerts properties is building on Berkley would help the entire area...
Anyone knows who bought the Hondo dealer lot on Richmond?
 
Top