An engine for population growth in Ontario, the Greater Toronto Area is expected to reach a population of 9.4 million by 2041, compared to 6.5 million in 2013. In Toronto alone, the population is expected to rise from 2.77 million in 2013 to more than 3.6 million in 2041. As a result, the city's streets are undergoing a major transformation, with high density housing now sprouting up in key designated areas. While intensification opportunities in the downtown core are becoming rare and expensive, developers are now considering long disregarded areas such as Dupont Street to accommodate further growth.

The former Hamilton Gear and Machinery Co. facility, image retrieved from Google Maps Streetview

Until most plants left for modern suburban facilities throughout the 1970s, Dupont Street was one of Toronto's busiest manufacturing hubs. Nowadays, the busy midtown thoroughfare bears many marks of its rich industrial past. While the Ford Model T showroom at Christie Street and the Hamilton Gear and Machinery Co. glass warehouse at Dovercourt Road are some of the finest examples of early twentieth century commercial architecture in the city, a series of dreary parking lots and empty brownfields separate the good stuff, and all of it directly faces the street's predominantly low-rise residential built form on the south side.

Map of the areas concerned by the Dupont Street Study, image retrieved via the City of Toronto

It is in this particular context that local residents and the City of Toronto joined their efforts to realize an extensive study regarding the development potential for the north side of Dupont Street between Ossington and Kendall Avenues. After a first report was officially published in August 2014, a Site and Area Specific Policy as well as a series of Zoning by-laws were rapidly adopted by City Council, before being integrated to the Official Plan for the area's urban development.

Streetscape guidelines from the Dupont Street Study, image retrieved via the City of Toronto

Some of those guidelines include the necessity for any new development on the north side of this specific stretch of Dupont Street to boast a minimum height of three storeys (or 10.5 metres), a maximum of 8 storeys (or 25 metres), a setback from the property line allowing for the sidewalk to be at least 4.8-metres wide, a five metre step-back from the street starting at the 3rd level, and completed by a 45-degree angular plane. Also in the mix are residential and commercial uses with retail spaces not exceeding a surface area of 5,000 square metres. Most importantly, new developments must be built with a 30-metre horizontal setback from the Canadian Pacific Railway corridor to the north, with no high-occupancy uses—such as residences and offices—permitted within that safety zone. Non-sensitive uses such as retail spaces are however allowed to operate closer to the tracks, should a report submitted by the developer prove that a safe alternative to the setback was found.

OMB appeals of the Dupont Street Study, image retrieved via the City of Toronto

Soon after, nine property owners concerned by the Dupont Street Study appealed the official plan to the Ontario Municipal Board. Should a settlement with the City not be reached before then, the case will be heard in May 2016. Amongst those properties shown on the map above, five are currently subject to a development application. During a March 22 community meeting organized by the area's city planners, Ward 19 Councillor Mike Layton, and Ward 20 Councillor Joe Cressy, the details of the proposed developments were explained to the residents.

840 Dupont Street, image retrieved via the City of Toronto

Starting at 840 Dupont Street (seen above, and also known as the Sobey's site), developer Tridel is proposing an 11-storey Turner Fletcher Architects-designed residential building of 47.7 metres in height. The 364 proposed units will top a two storey podium dedicated to commercial uses located 20 metres away from the rail corridor. According to the Dupont Street Study, this property being more than 1 hectare in size—along with the Loblaws site at 650 Dupont Street—should dedicate 15% of its total surface to green space when redeveloped.

500 Dupont Street, image retrieved via the City of Toronto

Closer to Bathurst, on a site currently occupied by a Beer Store at 500 Dupont Street, Lifetime Developments is proposing a 12-storey, 49.9 metre-high mixed use building including 176 units. It would be set back 15 metres from the rail property, with ground level commercial spaces. 

420 Dupont Street and 275 Albany Avenue, image retrieved via the City of Toronto

At 420 Dupont Street and 275 Albany Avenue—on the site of the former Mono Lino building—Tridel has once again submitted an application for a 46.9-metre high edifice designed by Teeple Architects. 296 residential units and one level of commercial spaces will occupy the 12 storeys of the building. The residential setback from the train tracks here is approximately 21 metres.

328 Dupont Street, image retrieved via the City of Toronto

In January 2015, Freed Developments submitted a revised application for the site known as 328 Dupont Street. Just west of the Dupont subway station, the proposal consists of a 15 and 29-storey pair of towers comprising multiple floors of retail and office spaces, as well as 560 residential units. The setback from the rail property is two metres. 

740 Dupont Street, image retrieved via the City of Toronto

The only proposal not potentially heading to the OMB this May is RioCan's 740 Dupont Street, west of Christie Street. Originally proposed in July 2014 at a height of 13 storeys, with 225 residential units and a horizontal setback from the rail line of 17.1 metres, the proposal was revised—and approved by the City—at 8 storeys in height including two levels of commercial spaces, a unit count of 122, and a 30-metre setback at the rear of the property.

Illustration of the required setback from the rail property, image retrieved via the City of Toronto

While the final details and the future of each application remain unclear for the moment. However, both the City of Toronto and locals are determined to build a sustainable neighbourhood. More details about the project at 840 Dupont is available in the database file, linked below, others may be added soon. Want to get involved in the discussion? Leave a comment at the bottom of this page, or visit the dedicated forum threads.

Related Companies:  Bousfields, Counterpoint Engineering, EQ Building Performance Inc., Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Kramer Design Associates Limited, STUDIO tla, Tridel, Turner Fleischer Architects, U31, Unilux HVAC Industries Inc.