While Bloor Street is transforming before our eyes through major revitalization developments like Mirvish Village, and upcoming ones where it meets Dufferin and Dundas streets, smaller projects are also about to make their mark on the public realm of one of Toronto’s main shopping strips. The Bloor-Annex BIA has announced plans to build four parkettes and make streetscape improvements along Bloor between Spadina and Bathurst. The parkettes will be built on open part-lots, typically covered in asphalt now, where Bloor intersects Robert Street, Major Street, Brunswick Avenue and Howland Avenue.

Rendering of the Robert St Parkette, image courtesy of the Bloor-Annex BIA

Each park will feature wood decking, granite rock seating, floor lighting, a mix of new and preserved deciduous trees, and and pollen-heavy gardens. The granite rocks are uniquely sculpted in a different form at each parkette. Treated as a public art-style element, the shape of the rocks is inspired by different types of seating popular throughout the ages. For example the rocks to be featured at the Robert Street Park will be carved in the shape of an LC4 chair which mirrors the curves of the body, allowing a person to lounge comfortably. The inspiration for these elements are outlined in the image below.

The inspiration for the granite sculptures - designed by Robert Cram, image courtesy of the Bloor-Annex BIA

Designed by DTAH who were responsible for the Central Waterfront Public Realm planning on Queens Quay, the parkettes incorporate a few hints of the neighbourhood into the smaller details of the design. The benches, for example, will be constructed out of wood salvaged from the Honest Eds and Mirvish Village demolitions.

Adjacent to a number of these parkettes are additional spaces for bike parking that are not currently available on Bloor Street. The new bike racks will be designed in collaboration with OCAD students, adding a unique flair to these finer details. The BIA also plans to remove the concrete planter boxes that currently line the side walks along Bloor in favour of planting new trees that are level with the sidewalk. By allowing the tress to grow underground, they will be able to further spread their roots, increasing their height and health.

Example of one of the bike racks, designed by OCAD students, image courtesy of DTAH

Work has begun behind the scenes to construct some elements, like the public art granite sculptures. The construction of the parkettes and adjacent sidewalk improvements will happen concurrently with a re-paving of Bloor Street when the project begins construction in 2019.

Work has begun on the granite sculptures, image courtesy of DTAH

To have your say on the changes coming to Bloor Street West and take a look at some additional renderings of the Parkettes, view the associated Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Related Companies:  Brook Pooni Associates, Diamond Schmitt Architects, EQ Building Performance Inc., ERA Architects, Henriquez Partners Architects, Janet Rosenberg + Studio, Urban Strategies Inc., urbanMetrics inc., Westbank Corp