Toronto is a city defined by its modernist architecture. Be it the iconic downtown skyscrapers, Exhibition Place's Dufferin Gate, or the many community centres across the city, the post war period defines our built form. Wherever in town we are, we don't need to travel very far to see examples of the style here: Toronto's many high-rise, brick-faced, slab-shaped apartment—all across the city—were designed in the classic modernist "tower in the park" form, each structure surrounded by generous lawns and gardens. From Scarborough to Etobicoke to Midtown, the design is ubiquitous. Now, developers are looking to shake some of these aging modernist projects up with a more modern refresh.

Aerial view showing the proposed development location within the current community, image courtesy of Shiplake Management Co.

Near Yonge and Davisville, Shiplake Management Company is planning to add some contemporary flare and densification to the modernist community with Balliol Park. The proposal would see the demolition of two back-to-back Shiplake owned townhouse rows, each to be replaced by a new tower, one fronting Davisville Avenue and the other fronting Balliol Street.

Looking southeast across Balliol Park with the Davisville building in foreground, image courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects

Balliol Park looking northwest with the Balliol building in foreground, image courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects

In the site's current form, the townhouses back onto a community park. The new proposal by Shiplake would see the park enhanced with new landscaping by renowned landscape architecture firm gh3. New pathways, greenery and sitting spaces are all part of gh3's vision for the new space.

New inner park at Balliol Park, image courtesy of gh3

In what seems like a rare move, Shiplake are proposing to decrease the building footprints compared to the existing structures to enhance sight lines into the park space, creating awareness of the park from the street. At the base of the Diamond Schmitt Architects-designed project, the building's ground floors will be pulled in, with upper floors supported by airy columns.

Outer columns at Balliol Park, image courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects

Diagrams below compare the existing and proposed views from the street into the park areas.

Current building footprint and park sight lines, image courtesy of Shiplake Management Company

New enhanced building footprint and park sight lines, image courtesy of Shiplake Management Company

The effect is even greater visual enhancement to the park and new sheltered pedestrian spaces. In this way the new development increases density while also respecting and building on the established character of the community.

If approved, Balliol Park will replace the current 21 rental townhouse units with 522 high-rise rental units across both buildings. On Balliol Street a 30-storey building would be built to roughly the same height of the adjacent apartment block to the west.

Balliol Street elevation diagram, image courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects

The shorter 14-storey Davisville building would include 8 base-level townhome style units, with four facing the street and the remaining facing the park. Across both buildings, 285 spaces will be provided in underground parking garages.

Davisville Avenue elevation Diagram, image courtesy of Shiplake Management Company

As the proposal is still in the planning stages, there may still be changes, but what you see now is likely close to the final design. UrbanToronto will keep a watchful eye and bring you the latest news about Balliol Park. For more renderings and information, check out our dataBase page, linked below. Join the discussion in our associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  Diamond Schmitt Architects, gh3, Quest Window Systems, Shiplake Management Company