A group is forming to educate us and take action to protect our Nordheimer Ravine. The group, led by Susan Aaron of the University of Toronto with the assistance of Barbara Chernin who heads our Environmental Group, is organizing a walk through the ravine and is working to bring in staff from Toronto Parks, the Toronto Region Conservation Board and Councillor Josh Matlow’s office. We will inform you when a date is chosen. If you are interested in helping in this very worthy endeavor, please contact or for more information.
An earlier CLRA report referencing our ravine was published on April 15, 2022. In addition, there have been many reports referencing the environmental issues affecting the ravine emanating from the 3 tower condo development at St. Clair & Bathurst. For further work on efforts to protect Toronto’s ravines please see the recent article in the Globe and Mail below.
Toronto’s ravines are in a critical state, threatened by invasive species, climate change and intensive land development
Globe & Mail, September 10, 2022
Toronto’s ravine system makes up a significant part of the city’s green infrastructure, as natural parklands and urban forests provide countless environmental, health and recreational benefits. However, the city’s ravines are in a critical state, threatened by invasive species, climate change and intensive land development.
In January, 2020, Toronto City Council adopted the Ravine Strategy Implementation Plan to protect the city’s ravines. A group of volunteers formed the Toronto Nature Stewards (TNS) to help implement the plan and advance independent stewardship to restore the ecological health of Toronto’s ravines.
Daniel Cushing prepares to remove lily of the valley from Roxborough Parkette North site. JOEL RODRIGUEZ/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Hundreds of volunteer stewards work under the direction of lead stewards and meet regularly to pick up litter and remove invasive plants, such as lily of the valley, Japanese knotweed and dog-strangling vine, which can crowd out native species.
Before the program started, only city park officials were allowed to remove invasive species from ravines. But the partnership allows volunteers to identify and remove these plants without supervision.
Catherine Berka, Geoffrey Chan and John Oyston work on identifying and removing Japanese knotweed. JOEL RODRIGUEZ/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Geoffrey Chan and Catherine Berka are lead stewards at TNS’s Roxborough Parkette North site. Mr. Chan says the stewardship work has given him an appreciation for the rich variety of life that exists within the city’s ravine system.
“I used to think only of places like the Amazon as being powerhouses of biodiversity, but here in this part of Ontario, we have a wealth of biodiversity too,” he said. “Although I grew up in Toronto, I never knew this until now. It’s right in our backyard, and it’s a treasure.”
Finbarr O’Callahan works on identifying and removing Japanese knotweed. JOEL RODRIGUEZ/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Toronto Nature Stewards now oversees 23 sites and has 60 trained lead stewards across the city. The stewardship year begins in April and runs until late October or early November.
Leslie Kestin, Geoffrey Chan, Finbarr O’Callahan, John Oyston, Jonathon Martynski and Anqi Dong at Roxborough Parkette North site. JOEL RODRIGUEZ/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
July 23, 2022 / CLRA / Comments Off on Some Personal Services Businesses now permitted in all homes
On July 22, 2022 City Council approved amendments to the official plan and bylaws to extend permissions throughout the City for six types of personal services shops where clients and customers may come to a home (barber, hairdresser, beautician, dressmaker, seamstress and tailor) and for an office for a regulated health related professional.
July 13, 2022 / CLRA / Comments Off on Second Casa Loma Yard Sale Scheduled for Oct 1st.
Last month 40 houses participated in the 15th Annual Casa Loma Yard Sale! This is a Casa Loma Yard Sale record!!
Due to several requests, a second yard sale will be held this year on Saturday October 1st. To register so your home is included in the advertisements, postings and maps or if you want to volunteer or if any student in your household need community service credits, contact Cheryl Millett
July 12, 2022 / CLRA / Comments Off on CLRA Joins Objection to Davenport and MacPherson Development Proposals
The CLRA has joined with the Tarragon Village Community Association (our neighbour to the south) and the Habayit Shelanu Senior Residence in objecting to developments proposed on Kendall Avenue just south of our community.
A developer, Zinc Developments is proposing to build two 8-storey residential buildings; one at 555 Davenport having a gross floor area of 10,906 square meters, and containing 134 residential dwelling units and another at 500 MacPherson having a gross floor area of 11,572 square meters, and containing 135 residential dwelling units. The properties are currently owned by George Brown College and the development requires Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments.
The CLRA has no issues with the principle of converting the existing properties located at 555 Davenport Road and 500 MacPherson Avenue which are currently zoned industrial education, to residential but we do have concerns regarding excessive height, need for setbacks from the Habayit Shelanu seniors residence, the potential heritage significance of 555 Davenport, the preservation of views to Casa Loma, to the Lake Iroquois escarpment, the preservation of City and skyline views from the Baldwin steps, Casa Loma and public streets on the escarpment as well as the potential need to preserve parking for George Brown students and staff and the overflow parking required when there are events at Casa Loma.
The Multiplex Proposals Report , part of the City’s EHON ( Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods) initiative, was adopted by the Planning and Housing Committee at their July 5, 2022 meeting. The term Multiplex refers to duplex, triplex or fourplex buildings. The objective is for more housing units to be built in Neighbourhoods. It is intended that multiplexes will continue to be built to the same general scale and zoning standards for low-rise buildings. The Casa Loma neighbourhood is considered a Neighbourhood under the Official Plan. This can be seen in the Official Plan MAP.
Consultations on the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-Law changes to enable the recommendations in the Report will continue through the Fall of 2022. The recommended Official Plan and Zoning By-Law Amendments are expected in early 2023.
July 5, 2022 / CLRA / Comments Off on Residents may now apply for Garden Suites permits.
On February 2, 2022, Toronto City Council adopted the Garden Suites Official Plan Amendment and Zoning by-law Amendment. The amendments were appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) shortly thereafter. On July 4, 2022, the OLT decided that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeals, and dismissed them. Read the full OLT decision.
The CLRA has been following the Garden Suites initiative since March, 2021.
The CLRA was successful in negotiating a reduction in height for the proposed Self-Storage building to be built at Dupont and Bathurst. Other architectural changes were also agreed to. The developer has agreed to reduce the height to 8 floor from the originally proposed 9 floors. This will improve the sightlines over the city for homes on Austin Crescent and Lyndhurst Court.
Good news as we have been able to stop, at least for now, Liberty Entertainment Group’s plans to re-locate their restaurant Don Alfonso 1890 to the Casa Loma Stables.
Councillor Josh Matlow organized a meeting with Robert Levy, President of the CLRA, neighbours, Joanna Kates and JoAnn Breitman, city staff and Nick Di Donato of LEG and others after neighbours noticed work taking place behind the stables. Matlow had previously promised that nothing would be done with the stables until a full review of the lease was undertaken and the community consulted. Matlow was taken aback that plans for a restaurant had progressed with the knowledge of City staff.
Liberty president Nick Di Donato confirmed his company had planned to relocate the Don Alfonso 1890 restaurant to Casa Loma’s stables. The restaurant had been operating as a pop-up in Casa Loma’s Conservatory during the pandemic. An application quietly filed with the City last year did show plans to build a kitchen, washroom and covered walkway to accommodate the restaurant and with “encouragement” from Economic Development construction had started ahead of a permit being issued.
There is no doubt that LEG has done a great job since taking over management of Casa Loma in 2013. Since then, according to the City, LEG has made $11.9 million in capital improvements and paid Toronto $11.2 million in rent and other proceeds. However the CLRA has been complaining for years about the traffic congestion and noise coming from LEG’s success with little concrete results. None of the recommendations in an expensive Noise and Traffic Mitigation Study undertaken by the City in 2018 were ever implemented. It is the CLRA’s view that activities at the Stables should be very limited as they are located within a residential area with homes adjacent to, behind and across from the Stables and just because the Stables are there they should not be used as an active annex to the Castle. In a survey of street residents in November 2021, 78% of the residents on Walmer Road opposed a restaurant being established there.
The City has now agreed to consult with the community before encouraging or approving any plans for additional uses of the Stables. Thank you Councillor Josh Matlow.
Follow-up: Don Alfonso 1890 re-opened on the 38th Floor of the Harbour Castle Westin Hotel in early July.
April 15, 2022 / CLRA / Comments Off on All Things Green – Update from the Environmental Group
Post from Barbara Chernin, head of the Environmental Group
Starting off is news about homes abutting Nordheimer Ravine and a potential project where the TRCA (Toronto Region and Conservation Authority) is exploring the idea of a Plant Native Trees and Shrubs program on private ravine properties. It would not only contribute to the beautification of the neighbourhood but have an environmental impact as well. When I conducted a survey with a handout dropped off to homes backing on the Nordheimer Ravine back in November, I was delighted to find that 12 homes expressed interest in the project!
Colin Love, Supervisor, Community Learning Toronto – Education and Training for TRCA will continue to explore what a City of Toronto Community Planting and Stewardship Grant would look like with the encouragement of the Casa Loma Residents Association. If funded, this could potentially cover the costs of native trees/shrubs to be given to residents so that residents could plant themselves on their own property. TRCA could provide some training such as webinars for residents to participate in. The program would be launched in the summer of 2023.
In the meantime, here are non-profit and City of Toronto low cost or free planting programs with additional information now on offer for spring and summer months ahead, starting with LEAF which has a wide array of volunteer and low-cost planting initiatives.
Native Tree and Plant Programs for Your Gardens:
LEAF, a non-profit organization that teaches people about trees and gets them excited about the urban forest is located at Wychwood barns https://www.yourleaf.org/toronto-homeowners . LEAF “envisions healthy vibrant communities where everyone values and cares for the urban forest.” They supply native species of trees and shrubs for your backyard and public spaces such as their LEAF Learning Garden , offering urban forest stewardship through planting, education and training. Community Programs Manager Brian Millward, suggests a few LEAF programs that Casa Loma residents can get involved in:
This program allows homeowners to plant native trees and shrubs in their backyards at a subsidized price with the guidance of certified arborists. They make sure that you get the right species for the right space!
Please note that you must move quickly if you are interested as I noticed most of the plantings are sold out until 2023. Spring deliveries begin in April and continue through to the end of June.
Themed Bundles for urban gardens include samples in Edible Bundles with such plants as cranberry and northern wild raisin to Songbird Bundles which include lowbush blueberry and Privacy Bundles with dense growing shrubs such as bayberry.
LEAF OFFER: They are now offering themed shrub bundles, designed to help you beautify your yard. A bundle of four native shrubs, delivered to your door with mulch, a planting and care guide and a specialized fact sheet (only $100 + HST– that’s like buying four shrubs for the price of three!)
If you have problems ordering, contact Jess Wilkin directly at 416.413.9244
This program is for those who wish to have more of a hands on role in the community.
Volunteers play a critical role in helping improve the urban forest by participating in community outreach, tending to Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens and supporting our community tree planting events. If you are interested in tree planting at home, try their:
Full Service Tree Planting for backyards
$150 – $220 (+ HST) per tree includes *
30 minute consultation in your yard with a LEAF arborist
5 to 8 foot tall native deciduous tree or 2 to 4 foot tall native evergreen tree
delivery and full planting service
mulch and planting/care guide
online educational videos
30-minute virtual consultation with a LEAF arborist
City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation also offers a residential public road allowance. A property owner can submit a tree planting request for the City-owned road allowance in front of their home or business just by calling 311.
The City of Toronto also has a number of free resources for members of the public living next to a ravine, or who want to learn about native species and combat invasive plants and trees.
Invasive plants have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts reducing populations of native plants and insects dependent on those plants, permanently altering communities and ecosystem functions, and costing economies millions of dollars each year. See Pages 7-52 of this Booklet Beautiful Non Invasive Plants For Your Garden for a list of a variety of species that are unwanted and a list of great alternatives instead. Instead of English Ivy? Try planting Wild Strawberry instead to protect your garden’s ecosystem!
For property owners bordering Nordheimer Ravine, TRCA’s Colin Love strongly recommends: A Property Owner’s Guide to Healthy Ravines. This booklet has great information about local invasive plants common in ravines and best management practices.
City of Toronto Community Stewardship Program – Nordheimer Ravine
Volunteer group for residents interested in learning more about their local ravine along with stewardship practices (e.g. invasive species management)
There are two general orientation sessions that start on April 20.
One enterprising volunteer organization called Friends of Cedarvale (FOC) embarked on their own tree planting program. This organization is dedicated to maintaining and improving Cedarvale Park and Ravine in Toronto. John Cummings, Chair Friends of Cedarvale spoke to me about a pilot project created with Eric Davies, one of the country’s foremost authorities on the revitalization and preservation of urban forests. The project called Oak Sapling Nurseries grew oak saplings in 5 sapling nurseries in the gardens of Heathdale Road homeowners who have properties backing onto the Cedarvale ravine. About a year and a half later, there are young oak saplings that are healthy and expected to continue their growth in tree adulthood.
John and Eric started this project because they are greatly concerned that native trees on Toronto’s ravine slopes are being displaced by non-Native Norway Maples and European buckthorn trees and seedlings. Norway maples in particular, cause shade and prevent other plants from growing around them. John noted when recently visiting a Wells Hill Avenue backyard, a proliferation of young Norway maple saplings in the Nordheimer Ravine. He says “it is evident as well in Cedarvale (and I believe throughout the ravine and river valley system in Toronto). Ideally, these saplings would be removed at an early stage of their growth. Invasive plants, particularly dog-strangling vine and garlic mustard can be seen in both ravines.”
Make no mistake, invasive trees and shrubs are very responsible for the poor condition of our lovely Nordheimer Ravine and I applaud the efforts of any program that gives residents a chance to keep it healthy and thriving.
For more information and to join neighbours interested in all things green , contact Casa Loma resident Barbara Chernin at
Resident Vincent de Grandpré brought to our attention a program called Community Canopy. Registration is now available for all Toronto residents.
The City of Toronto has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to connect Toronto residents with free trees through an innovative online mapping tool that may take the guesswork out of where to plant a tree on a specific property. Through the Community Canopy Program residents can use the software interface to identify the ideal planting location that will maximize the air, water, energy, and carbon benefits of their tree.
Trees available are: American Linden (Basswood), Eastern Redbud, Northern Red Oak, Smooth ServiceberrySugar, MapleSwamp, and White OakWhite Pine
April 7, 2022 / CLRA / Comments Off on Update on 1467 Bathurst St. (land at St. Clair & Bathurst)
You probably have noticed the pyramid pile of earth on the old Petro Canada site at St. Clair & Bathurst. This is contaminated soil removed from the section of the property on which a condo sales office is to open this summer. The sales office will be for a 3 tower condo project to replace the original 3 tower rental project for the site.
The Environmental Group had the opportunity last week to speak to Canderel’s Director of Development and Investment Dana Roebuck regarding the 1467 Bathurst Street site.
We discussed many of the concerns the Environmental Group has regarding the remediation of the property and ongoing remediation. Presently, thanks to City Council Motions passed with the help of Councillor Matlow in July, the City has granted the developers a building permit for a sales office only which she says will go up this summer. Pending a completed risk assessment, they will get a Record of Site Condition (RSC) to develop the property with the intention of building 3 towers of condos.
It is my opinion that the development of a 3 tower, each of 30+ stories, condo tower project with its resulting traffic congestion, use of heavy machinery equipment, overshadowing and wind tunnel effects will environmentally impact Nordheimer Ravine already in poor condition.
What is concerning now is that large mound of contaminated soil on the 1467 Bathurst Street site which cannot be moved due to a provincial trucking strike. This means that it will sit there until the strike is over. There are two options available—One is to truck the contaminated soil away privately so that the soil does not remain close to the street and St. Mike’s School. Heavy rains will also affect its spread. The other option is to stop excavation until there is a reasonable expectation that the soil will be hauled away to an appropriate landfill in a timely manner. If you also have concerns, please contact me I have contacted the Ministry of Environment in the hope that they will deal with this swiftly.
Alison Reid, a resident of Casa Loma who lives at 99 Wells Hill Ave, along with a few friends, has arranged for a private shipment of goods to Ukraine to assist the Ukrainian people under attack from Russia. The goods will be shipped by MEEST a reputable shipping company that helps humanitarian efforts.
She is inviting residents in the Casa Loma community to donate anything on the list of most needed items. (See below). Things don’t need to be new so it’s a great way to purge and put gently used items to good use.
If anyone is interested in donating, she is accepting donations this Sunday on her front porch (Please place items in a garbage bag to protect them from inclement weather).
Please see the linked Google worksheet provided by Ali.
I just wanted to send a big thank you to the Casa Loma community for their generous donations for Ukraine. I received so many goods on my porch this weekend that I was sent a cube van to pick it up – as my minivan was not large enough.
January 28, 2022 / CLRA / Comments Off on Self Storage at Bathurst & Dupont – Article in Globe & Mail
The CLRA has been working with neighbouring residents associations and the City planning department to secure changes to a proposed self-storage building at Bathurst & Dupont. A recent article in the Globe & Mail on this proposed development is available HERE.
December 30, 2021 / CLRA / Comments Off on Garden Suites Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments to go to Planning and Housing Committee (PHC) on Wednesday January 12 at 9:45 AM
The CLRA has been following this City initiative since it was first announced in March this year. We did not make a formal submission but did forward along comments we received from residents, including some who completely oppose the proposal. We understand a couple of changes that were requested will be accommodated in the Final Report:
The By-law will clearly specify that Garden Suites are to be used as a principal residence (e.g. tenant) and will not be permitted to be used as gyms, studios, offices etc.
The separation requirement between the back wall of the principal residence and the garden suite does not have to meet the minimum separation proposed if it is to be constructed on the foundation of an existing ancillary building, e.g. garage
The Final Report to the PHC will be available on January 5 and we will publish it on the CLRA website.
The Planning and Housing Committee will meet at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday January 12 and will receive comments from the public at the meeting or prior thereto. This meeting will be held on-line and can be viewed at the time through www.youtube.com/TorontoCityCouncilLive. If you wish to address the committee meeting directly, please register by email to or by phone at 416-397-4579, no later than 12:00 p.m. on January 11, 2022.
You may also send written comments to the Planning and Housing Committee. Send written comments:
by email to
or by mail to
City Clerk, Attention: Nancy Martins, Administrator PHC
100 Queen Street West, 10th Floor West Tower
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Note that any submission will appear on the City’s website and will include your address, phone number and email address unless you expressly request the City to remove this information.
.For your information, the members of City Council on the Planning and Housing Committee are:
December 6, 2021 / CLRA / Comments Off on Additional Yard Waste Bag Pick-up Scheduled for Tuesday December 14th
We are pleased to report that the CLRA, through the assistance of Councillor Josh Matlow, has secured an additional Yard Waste Bag Pick-up for TUESDAY DECEMBER 14th.
This has been a late fall and many leaves fell just before our first snow fall and some continue to fall this week. For that reason we requested and secured an additional Yard Waste Bag Pick-up date.
Please take this opportunity to bag or have your garden service bag the remaining leaves, especially those that have been piled on the street. It is against City By-law 743 to dispose of leaves on the street. They pose a safety issue for drivers and pedestrians and will likely interfere with spring runoff.
The full text of Municipal Code Chapter 743 can be accessed HERE
On November 17th, Councillor Josh Matlow arranged for a Webex meeting with representatives of the CLRA and neighbours in the vicinity of Casa Loma Stables. The purpose of the meeting was to address the suspicions of local residents that Liberty Entertainment Group (LEG) was preparing the Stables for a new restaurant. Also on the Webex conference call were representatives of the City’s economic development, heritage, and permitting departments and Nick Di Donato, CEO of LEG. Robert Levy, Dyan Kirshenbaum, Jeff Maiste and Dale Joffe participated on the call from the CLRA.
We learned that indeed LEG is planning to open a restaurant at the Stables, namely Don Alfonso 1890, the restaurant that LEG has been operating during Covid on a temporary basis in the Conservatory of the Castle following its closure from its original location on Toronto Street. Indeed, we also learned that the project is somewhat advanced and the above noted city departments were aware of it but that Councillor Matlow was previously unaware. On several occasions we have been assured by Councillor Matlow that the City would not enter into a new leasing arrangement with LEG without first getting community input. On the Webex conference call Councillor Matlow instructed the city departments to neither agree to nor sign any lease amendments or modifications for the Stables with LEG until a working group with CLRA representatives is established to review the LEG plans and evaluate the impact the plans would have on the neighbourhood and explore more acceptable alternatives if required. We have requested copies of the proposed plans for the new restaurant.
On November 16, the CLRA participated in a webinar on Garden Suites, hosted by the City of Toronto. Garden Suites are essentially smaller houses you will be able to build in your backyard as residences to rent or to provide accommodation to other family members. The opportunity is available on detached, semi-detached and town house lots. The City of Toronto is encouraging their construction as part of the city’s intensification strategy, particularly in areas within a 10 minute walk of a subway station. An additional 700,000 people are projected to move into Toronto within the next 30 years to bring our total population to 3.65 million. The Garden Suite initiative follows the successful, albeit slow, introduction of laneway suites which were first approved in 2019. To date less than 250 laneway suites have been built out of a total estimated potential of 25,000. Laneway suites constructed to date have cost between $300,000-500,000 which is likely one reason their introduction has proceeded slowly. Another may be that the zoning regulations were at first too restrictive but more recently have been broadened somewhat to reduce the time and cost of going to the Committee of Adjustment for relief.
The regulations now being proposed for Garden Suites have been developed from this background. Input from respondents to earlier surveys and their early introduction in Ottawa, Waterloo and Pickering also identified that garden suites have more privacy issues compared to laneway suites which have typically followed a townhouse style with entry from a back laneway.
The City is now asking for final input before the proposed regulations go to the Planning and Housing Committee in January and City Council in February for approval. There have been some changes to the proposed regulations since we last reported on June 22nd. The full text of the Draft Bylaw can be accessed HERE.
Here are some of the highlights
A maximum of 1 Garden Suite or Laneway Suite is permitted on a lot.
Located a minimum of 5 meters behind the residential building.
Have a maximum of two storeys.
A maximum height of 4 meters if the garden suite is located between 5 meters and 7.5 meters behind the residential building and 6 meters if the garden suite is 7.5 meters or more behind the residential building. The additional 2 meters must incorporate an angular plane, front, back and side, usually 45 °.
Up to an extra meter of height is allowed for ancillary items on the rooftop such as mechanical and ventilation equipment.
The interior floor area of the garden suite must be less than the gross floor area of the residential building on a lot.
The area of the lot covered by a garden suite and all ancillary buildings combined may not exceed the maximum of:
20 % of the lot area.
40% of the rear yard area.
60.0 square meters.
There are soft landscaping requirements such as grass and gardens. Note that swimming pools are currently included as soft landscaping but stone patios and decks are not.
If the lot frontage is greater than 6 meters, soft landscaping must cover a minimum of 50% of the rear yard area.
If the lot frontage is 6 meters or less, soft landscaping must cover a minimum of 25% of the rear yard area.
Tree protection will be an important consideration in the approval of a Garden Suite.
The required minimum rear yard setback for a garden suite is equal to the greater of 1.5 meters and half the height of the garden suite if on a lot with a lot depth greater than 45.0 meters, and in all other cases, 1.5 meters.
The required minimum side yard setback for a garden suite if the side lot line does not abut a street, and there are openings such as doors or windows in the side main wall of the garden suite, the greater of 1.5 meters and the amount that is 10% of the lot frontage, to a maximum of 3.0 meters. In all other cases, the greater of 0.6 meters and the amount that is 10% of the lot frontage, to a maximum of 3.0 meters.
If it is on a corner lot and the garden suite contains a parking space and vehicle access from the street abutting the side lot line, the required minimum side yard setback is 6.0 meters. In all other cases, the required minimum side yard setback is the greater of the required minimum side yard setback for the residential building on the lot and 1.5 meters.
Note that if a property has previously been granted a variance to a side or rear yard setback or the required separation between the main house and an approved ancillary building such as a garage, garden shed or studio, that variance will apply to a garden house on that lot instead of the proposed regulations.
In the past, many variances in our neighbourhood have been approved at Committee of Adjustment.
Fire access from the street must be provided with a width of no less than 1 meter. The garden suite cannot be more than 45 meters from the street.
No parking space is required for the garden suite. A garden suite must provide two bicycle parking spaces within the garden suite or within any required separation distance or the required building setbacks for a garden suite
The City is asking for input on the proposed bylaw changes before November 30th. The City has a website for Garden Suites and has prepared a video on the proposed bylaw changes. Please provide your questions and comments to the City HERE and please copy and paste your comments in a email to the CLRA to help the CLRA develop a neighbourhood consensus.
On September 23, 2021 the CLRA met with Councillor Josh Matlow and his Planning and Policy Advisor Slavisa Mijatovic. The meeting was held on Webex. Although city employees are gradually returning to the office, meetings with the public are still restricted to online.
Several issues were discussed:
Business at Casa Loma
Neighbours have noticed what looks like bathroom and kitchen work taking place at the Casa Loma stables that may be related to plans for a new restaurant there; work that is without permission or permits.
This activity took Matlow by surprise. He will ensure that a freeze is put on any such activity until there is a genuine opportunity for community input on the reasonableness of any plans and their impact on the neighbourhood. He will meet with Economic Development who has stewardship of Casa Loma and Nick Di Donato of Liberty Entertainment Group.
Casa Loma Transportation & Traffic Mitigation Study
Implementation of recommendations in the Study which took place through 2018 and 2019 in which we all had significant input, is now in limbo. Many of the staff in Transportation services have been seconded to the City’s Covid response through programs like CafeTO, ActiveTO, etc..
Parking Restrictions on Neighbourhood Streets
Residents have been questioning the myriad of parking restrictions in our neighbourhood. Matlow explained that parking restrictions throughout the City have developed on an ad hoc basis over the years based on requests. There is no overall rationale for the differences from street to street including streets designated for overnight parking permits. Historically, the City has responded to petitions from residents which starts with a petition signed by 25% of residents on a street followed by a formal polling by the City.
Front Yard Parking
We reviewed the subject of Front Yard parking as residents have brought concerns to our attention. A Front yard parking pad can negatively affect the root structure of trees and cause water runoff problems in addition to potentially making the streetscape less attractive. For these reasons the City requires a permit for a Front Yard Parking pad. This permit is not transferrable to a new owner and has to be re-applied for by the new owner. We have created a section on Front Yard and Street Parking Permits on our website. It includes an overview, streets in our neighbourhood designated for Street Permit parking and links to permit Applications and a list of homes in Toronto that have Front Yard parking permits. Please follow this LINK.
Scheduling of Collection and Removal of Leaves
Matlow will enquire what public facing maintenance schedules the City has and get back to us. He also asked us to put forward our recommended schedule for the collection and removal of the leaves in our area including temporary suspension of street parking to allow for proper and efficient collection.
Implementation of the Casa Loma Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Report
The City’s Planning Department is challenged city wide. They are currently in the process of preparing a report on their capabilities for 2022. Until this report is received, reviewed and acted on by City Council, it is unlikely that there will be any movement on the HCD designation. A related matter is our ongoing effort to have the property at 5 Austin Terrace, the E.J. Lennox house and gardens, upgraded from Listed (1973) to designated under Part IV of the Heritage Act in the City of Toronto Heritage Register.
Heritage Marker and Plaque for our Neighbourhood
We explored the construction of a heritage marker and plaque to be placed at an entry point for our neighbourhood, perhaps on the area created in 2019 by the reconfiguration of the intersection of Wells Hill, Melgund and Lyndhurst. We will be gathering ideas from residents over the next few months and Transportation staff will help us with the placement to ensure it conforms with traffic site line requirements.
Monitoring the Gypsy Moth infestation in our area has been an annual focus of the CLRA. The last neighbourhood spraying took place in June 2019. We were not able to have our neighbourhood sprayed in 2021 as the City had other neighbourhoods in priority. Matlow’s office will assist us in getting Forestry to evaluate our needs in the spring of 2022.
Garden Homes will be encouraged by the City much like Laneway Homes have been for the past few years and for that reason public consultation has taken place and guidelines issued prior to a final report later this year. There is a link on our website HERE. Matlow will ensure that the CLRA will have the opportunity for further input.
Garden Homes like Laneway homes are being supported by the City to increase density, reduce the cost of housing and at the same time increase the property tax base. Matlow’s preference is to increase density along major streets which are now populated largely by 2 to 3 story buildings encompassing retail and residential by permitting heights similar to those along Paris streets.
Although our neighbourhood may not be a prime location for Garden Homes, we will represent our residents in the current evaluation stage to ensure any development is appropriate.
Proposed Self Storage building at Bathurst and Dupont
Although not in our neighbourhood, the proposed building will have implications for views from our escarpment and noise reverberating from railway tracks adjacent to the building. We are working with neighbouring residents associations and Matlow will bring our concerns to Mike Layton, Councillor for the area.
Development at former Petro Canada property at St. Clair & Bathurst
There was no new information on this project which has significant implications for traffic congestion around us, capacity limits at our schools and environmental concerns and unanswered questions from its former usage for many years as a gas station. We will likely be getting more information in the weeks ahead following its sale last June to a new developer and conversion from a proposed apartment complex to a condominium complex.
Residents with comments, questions and suggestions are encouraged to contact the CLRA at . We are in continuous contact with our Councillor’s office in addition to the formal Quarterly Meetings with our Councillor. Through his office we are connected to the relevant City staff responsible for attending to the matter.
The CLRA keeps a record of the names, street address, email addresses and phone numbers of residents who live within the boundaries of the CLRA and who have been identified to us through membership registrations, community events and referrals. We do not share this information with any other party, including other individuals or organizations in our community. Everyone for whom we have information receives email communications from us. If you wish to stop receiving emails, please reply back to any email received and all your personal information will be removed from our database. Our database is maintained on a private server independent of the server that provides our web hosting.
We do not receive your credit card number, expiry date or security code when you pay for your membership on line. That information is received by our credit card processing provider. We have chosen Stripe Inc. as our processing provider, one of the largest companies in the business. The CLRA has secured an SSL certificate so that all information is encrypted in your credit card processing.