PLANNING & ENGAGEMENT
BUILT ON SHARED VALUES & EVOLVING LOCAL PRIORITIES
Planning together for the future of Toronto
Northcrest and Canada Lands are working together with local communities and other stakeholders to generate a shared vision and a framework for the future of over 500 acres in Downsview. This vision will prominently feature the existing Downsview Park—an incredible asset for the area—and it will be informed by several other planning projects moving forward adjacent to the site.
We are at the first step of a multi-decade process of re-imagining and redeveloping an area of the city that has dramatically evolved over time and will continue to evolve in the years to come. The current changes at Downsview are being propelled by a number of factors, including: the departure of Bombardier and availability of the airport lands; the major transit investments made on the TTC subway extension and GO service expansion; and the need to help accommodate the significant growth of people and jobs coming to Toronto.
Respecting the Past & Present to Inform the Future
We know it’s important to look at the past to plan for the future. And we know there’s lots to learn—from the way Indigenous People used the site for thousands of years, to the history of agriculture, to the history of aerospace, to SARSstock… Downsview has always been an important place for many different communities, businesses, and cultures.
Today, Downsview is a hub of activity for thousands of users. The existing uses are an important part of Downsview, and opportunities to protect on-going uses as the area transitions over time are a priority for both Northcrest and Canada Lands.
Canada Lands has several tenants actively using the site that create a hub of activity. Centennial College recently opened the Centre for Aerospace and Aviation at its new campus, and Canada Lands is supporting a consortium of large aerospace companies and postsecondary institutions from across the GTA that are working to develop an Aerospace Research and Innovation Hub at Downsview (the DAIR Hub).
The Park is the heart of Downsview and will continue to play a central role. Within Downsview Park, Canada Lands is currently preparing plans to relocate the urban farm to a permanent 10-acre agriculture campus and will build a dedicated dog park in 2020. The Park’s education and volunteer programs also continue to grow and evolve.
The changing uses and identities of the Downsview lands have been shaped through time by countless people and events that are inspiring our design team. You can read about some of them on our Downsview Stories page, where you can also share your own memories of the area.
The id8 Downsview Planning Process
As well as recognizing the value of past and present use, the id8 Downsview planning process is designed to ensure that the future of Downsview is shaped by: feedback from many different stakeholders, including the expressed needs of local communities and region-wide interests; public policy priorities and requirements; and the priorities of the landowners—Northcrest and Canada Lands.
We’ve called the planning process “id8 Downsview” because we know we need to “ideate” (or form ideas) and be open to many ideas from many people to inform the future plans for these lands.
The result of the id8 Downsview planning process will be a Framework Plan developed together with you. The Framework Plan will propose future road networks, parks and green spaces, a range of land uses, and will address the need for community facilities and services. It will be the basis for an application to amend the Downsview Area Secondary Plan to better reflect the opportunities presented by these lands.
Over the next year, Canada Lands and Northcrest will engage communities and other stakeholders over three rounds of consultation, each with a different purpose:
Round One introduced the project and focuses on understanding what people value, what challenges people face, and opportunities they would like to see considered for the future.
Round Two will share and seek feedback on different ideas to include in the Framework based on technical work completed and the feedback heard in Round One.
Round Three will share and seek feedback on a draft Framework proposed by Northcrest and Canada Lands to guide future development of the lands.
We are at a first step of a decades-long process of re-imagining Downsview, and this engagement process focuses on the first year or so—recognizing that this timing will remain flexible to respond to any emerging COVID-19 requirements.
What do you value?
What could be improved?
What opportunities would you like to see explored?
Draft Framework Plan.
Exploring ideas to inform
the Draft Framework Plan.
Opportunities to consider
Northcrest and Canada Lands have retained a team of international and local architects, landscape architects, and planners to help develop a vision and Framework Plan for these lands at Downsview. The team, which is described on the About page, includes Henning Larsen Architects and SLA Landscape Architects from New York and Copenhagen, and KPMB Architects and Urban Strategies Inc. from Toronto.
This team of experienced and exciting city-thinkers is beginning to identify the opportunities they see presented by these 520 acres at Downsview, including:
The site is served by four mass transit services, three TTC subway stations and one GO Train station. Provincial land use planning policy directs cities to grow housing and jobs close to transit stations like these. We also know that as the city’s population continues to grow, transit accessibility will become increasingly important to Toronto’s quality of life.
With the relocation of Bombardier, we need to re-think what happens with the runway and the open space around it. For decades, roads have had to wind around the site, but now we can consider how to better connect these lands to the rest of the city. We will also think about how new development is served by the right internal connections as well.
These lands have been, and continue to be, important and significant places of employment right in the middle of the city. Ensuring continued opportunities for a range of employment will be important as we develop the Framework Plan.
The other significant opportunity we see at Downsview is nature, both at the local and regional scale. Locally, the site is connected to Downsview Park—one of the largest open green spaces in Toronto—and we can build on the Park’s legacy of providing quality open natural space for people who live, work, and play. Regionally, Downsview sits between the Don and Humber watersheds which connect to Toronto’s incredible ravine system. These natural assets provide critical ecological services for the city—from wildlife habitat to stormwater mitigation.