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What’s to become of Scarborough’s ‘Golden Mile?’

Angela Gismondi
What’s to become of Scarborough’s ‘Golden Mile?’
CHOICE PROPERTIES — Choice Properties and The Daniels Corporation are teaming up to transform the 67-year-old Golden Mile shopping centre into a mixed-use transit-oriented community. Phase one will include two condominium towers, a purpose-built market rental building, ground floor retail uses, institutional uses and office spaces.

The historic Golden Mile in Scarborough, Ont. will be undergoing a massive transformation over the next few decades, bringing new life to a notable area.

The City of Toronto’s Golden Mile Secondary Plan encompasses Eglinton Avenue between Victoria Park and Birchmount Road. The total area is about 280 acres.

“It’s a complete redevelopment of those lands as they currently sit for the most part,” said Emily Caldwell, senior planner with the Scarborough District City Planning Division at the City of Toronto.

Most of the existing properties will be redeveloped, she added.

“There are a number of other sites as well that will be subject to redevelopment, a phased redevelopment because most of these sites are very large…they will be parceled off and developed in phases,” Caldwell explained.

The 19-acre site where the Golden Mile shopping centre is located, 1880 Eglinton Ave. E., will be one of the first areas to undergo redevelopment. The mall is almost 70 years old. Choice Properties is the landowner and The Daniels Corporation is the developer.

“That application has approvals for both official plan and zoning bylaw amendments,” Caldwell said. “The developers and landowners are submitting the phase one application which will be right at the immediate corner of Vic Park and Eglinton.”

In addition to multiple buildings there will be multiple uses.

“There are also proposed retail uses, there are residential uses, there is this community agency space and there is also potentially…the term used by Choice and Daniels is ‘communiversity,’ which is community university,” Caldwell explained. “They are proposing that some floors would be dedicated for that type of use in partnership with Centennial College and University of Toronto at Scarborough.”

The Bank of Montreal is proposing to have their branch located there as well. It will be relocated from the existing location which is further east.

The first part of the project will not require any demolition.

 

Each of the larger sites has been able to accommodate at least one 48 storey building,

— Emily Caldwell, City of Toronto

 

“On that particular block there is surface parking so there doesn’t necessarily have to be a demolition to accommodate the new building,” Caldwell explained. “There is existing community agency use located north of where this proposed block is. That will be closed, essentially, and the new tenants will go into the new building.”

Everything that is currently onsite will be demolished in the long-term.

“The plaza itself has the food store, the No Frills, and a number of other uses as well,” Caldwell said. “There will be a new No Frills store constructed just west of that location…and then once that store is ready to be opened and operational the mall can be demolished.”

The project is currently in the site plan review process.

“Because there is zoning approval already, we have a pretty good sense of exactly where the buildings will be located, exactly how tall they will be, the setbacks,” Caldwell noted. “Now it’s more about building materials and landscaping and other design elements.”

In terms of bigger projects there are 10-plus in total in the Golden Mile redevelopment. In addition to the Choice/Daniels site is the Starlight site, which is a redevelopment of existing rental buildings. Further east there is the SmartCentres site, the Madison Group site, the Cosmetica Laboratories site, the RioCan site and the Dream site at Birchmount.

“Those are the larger ones that we currently have applications for,” said Caldwell.

Three other sites on the south side include the Eglinton Square Shopping Centre, which is the KingSett site, and the Mattamy lands.

It is estimated the total redevelopment of the area could take up to 30 years.

“COVID slowed everything down in terms of when we expected to see shovels in the ground,” Caldwell stated. “There are a number of sites that we thought would have already reached that stage, but we just weren’t quite there…We were able to reach a number of settlements during COVID during lockdown.”

The maximum height for highrise buildings in the secondary plan area is 48 storeys.

“Each of the larger sites has been able to accommodate at least one 48 storey building on their site,” said Caldwell. “Most of the time it will be located along Eglinton but there will also be some breaks with some of the midrise buildings, for example, that will be 12 storeys in height…so it’s not just a wall of tall buildings.”

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT, which has five stations along Eglinton through Golden Mile was the impetus for considering how much growth should happen in the area and where should it be located, Caldwell said.

Overall, the city anticipates the Golden Mile redevelopment will bring a total of almost 38,000 units.

“It’s a fairly substantial change from what is there now,” Caldwell noted. “There aren’t a lot of residents that currently live within the secondary plan boundaries. That’s a pretty big change over the next 25 years.”

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