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 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:
As we come to the end of what has been the very difficult year of 2021, the CLRA wishes all a Happy New Year and our best wishes for a healthy 2022 and a return to normalcy in our lives.
Join the CLRA and support your community
BACKGROUND TO GARDEN SUITES
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.
We will keep you informed.
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:
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Report prepared by Barbara Chernin 14/07/21
June was a pivotal month for the Environmental Group and the neighbourhood in relation to this northeast corner, an old gas station site for about 50 years still in the process of remediation by Suncor and planned for residential development. The community has ongoing queries and concerns on the environmental impact of the legacy contamination, remediation efforts, and the potential that development of the site may cause further environmental impact.
Almost 20 years later, a final report indicating that remediation objectives have been achieved has not been issued. After about two years of asking questions regarding the site and off-site cleanup, EG as lead on this project is hopeful questions will be answered. Involvement from the Casa Loma Residents Association (CLRA,) Councillor Matlow and concerned citizens have greatly added to the project’s progress with their time and knowledge.
In June, a meeting was held through Councillor Matlow’s Office with The City, the Casa Loma Residents Association (CLRA), Environmental Group (EG) and concerned citizens. The outcome was that action was swiftly taken in June by the Councillor’s Office in motions passed by Community Council. The motions were directed at the Developers Kingsett Capital and Canderel as well as the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and Suncor. They called for greater transparency by the Developers, Suncor and MECP requesting ‘the relevant information relating to the contamination and remediation efforts be made public’ (See Meeting summary June 17th, 2021 below)
The Environmental Group’s Project Lead Barbara Chernin will be sending a letter to MECP Minister Jeff Yurek detailing concerns and inconsistencies in reporting which have brought us to this point. Giving the public more knowledge about the environmental behaviour and potential for spread of contaminants in their neighbourhoods and associated remediation and risk management efforts will assuredly spark a positive note for collaboration and engagement.
1467 BATHURST STREET SITE BACKGROUND
The Bathurst/ St Clair gas station, with an added carwash and auto repair, was onsite for decades and leaked gasoline and other contaminants in the late 90’s into areas to the south, east and west of the site, potentially including Wells Hill Park. In 2001, “Petro-Canada/Suncor and the City of Toronto entered into an enforceable License Agreement where Petro-Canada/Suncor would undertake remediation” and ongoing monitoring to respond to the contaminants from 1467 Bathurst Street and indemnify the City against any third-party claims as a result of the contamination spread.
Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and the City have repeatedly pointed to public sites and Freedom of Information requests for the Community and the Environmental Group to gain information and clarity– about 3500 pages of documents. The publicly available documents include highly technical monitoring reports and conceptual models which make it difficult to get an easily accessible answer on exactly where the gasoline leak is currently, the extent of soil and groundwater contamination, and how far the gasoline plume had spread. Presently, the site owners do not have a building permit.
Thanks to Councillor Matlow’s Office, a meeting called for by Chernin of the Environmental Group (EG) occurred with the City on June 17th. Concerned community members attending along with EG were Casa Loma Residents Association (CLRA) represented by counsel Richard Macklin and interested citizens Dr. Dianne Saxe and Dr. Elizabeth Haack. Hosted by Councillor Matlow and Jade Leung-Administrative Assistant to Councillor Matlow; City attendees were Scott Pasternack (City Legal), Rick Gibson (Manager Soil & Groundwater Quality), Natasha Zappulla (Toronto Building) and Stephen Li (Environmental Coordinator substituting for Transportation City).
SUMMARY DETAILS OF MEETING AND ACTIONS TAKEN PAST AND PRESENT
Meeting Summary June 17th 2021
The Environmental Group (EG) goals still remain:
The Environmental Group applauds both actions taken by Councillor Matlow and the Casa Loma Residents Association. The input and opinions of Dr. Dianne Saxe and Dr. Elizabeth Haack not only provided knowledge but also motivation for EG to continue. Perhaps, the work done here by the Community and Councillor Matlow’s office will set a precedent for increased engagement and transparency for communities to find out how they may be affected by the environmental cleanup of gas stations and other polluted sites.
A Proposals Report, including draft Garden Suite regulations, is going to the June 28, 2021 Planning and Housing Committee meeting. The draft regulations contained in the Proposals Report will form the basis for ongoing consultation. A Final Report with recommended rules and regulations is expected to be brought to the Planning and Housing Committee in the fall of 2021.
The Proposals Report is available HERE. It is 52 pages long so here are some of the highlights:
The M5R postal code which includes Casa Loma, the Annex and west of Yonge below the railway tracks to Bloor had one of the highest participation rates for the City’s Survey in March. Contact us if you would like to bring anything to the attention of the CLRA . If you would like to communicate directly with the City, please contact:
David Driedger, Senior Planner, Community Planning
Tel. No. 416-392-7613
UPDATE- COMMITTEE DECISION JUNE 28, 2021
The Planning and Housing Committee:
1. Requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning use the draft Garden Suite regulations presented within this report as the basis for further community and stakeholder consultation and technical review.
2. Requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning bring forward a final report detailing Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments to permit detached accessory dwelling units for residential properties not on a public lane (Garden Suites) to the Planning and Housing Committee Meeting in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The Gypsy Moth is evident again this year in our neighbourhood. The CLRA brought this to the attention of the City and learned there are no plans for spraying our neighbourhood this year. The last spraying took place in June 2019. Private arrangements with arborists are the only way to go this year.
Joel Harrison, a Forest Health Care Inspector with the City went through the Casa Loma area this week and saw some remnants of the Gypsy Moth population from 2019, but he considered it still relatively low when compared to what is going on in some other parts of the city and the province.
We can’t ever eliminate Gypsy Moth, we can only hope to try to keep numbers low enough to reduce the damage that can happen to sensitive trees like oak. There is no aerial spraying planned for this year but it isn’t too late to hire private tree companies to spray private trees if you feel it necessary. For that you’d have until about mid-June.
Attached is a PDF guide with some other techniques that residents can do yearly to help reduce gypsy moth.
If you go to the City’s website: www.toronto.ca/gypsymoth then you can also drop points as to where you are seeing caterpillars and/or potential problems through this online reporting tool. The City will use this data to delineate its surveys for Gypsy Moth eggs in the fall. This helps the City determine if populations are rising and if intervention is required.
BOXWOOD TREE MOTHS
The Box Tree Moth was detected in Toronto in August 2018. In November 2018, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the presence of box tree moth in an urban neighbourhood in Toronto. This is the first confirmed report of this pest in North America. Damage to boxwood plants is caused by the larvae (caterpillars) feeding primarily on leaves and sometimes on the bark. Infested plants are disfigured by the loss of leaves and by the webbing spun by the larvae. Younger larvae feed by eating the lower surfaces of the leaves only, leaving the upper epidermis intact. Older larvae feed inside the webbing and skeletonize the leaves, leaving only the midribs, and occasionally the outer margin intact. Neighbours have had success treating these caterpillars with BTK. Larvae are most susceptible to BTK when they are in the early developmental stages. BTK has no known toxic effects on humans, other mammals, plants, birds, fish, or honeybees or other beneficial insects. It is available at places like Home Hardware and Sheridan Nurseries.
The development at St. Clair & Bathurst (1467 Bathurst St. to be known going forward as 490 St. Clair Ave. West) has changed ownership to Canderel , a large condominium developer, and will be converted from rental units to condominium units. KingSett Capital who previously had an ownership interest will now fulfill a lending role. The project is about to move into the Planning Stage and the new owner is hoping to begin selling early in 2022.
The CLRA will continue to monitor the development to ensure none of the original concessions are lost and all environmental and traffic congestion issues will be addressed in the Planning Stage.
Reported by Renx.ca – The Real Estate News Exchange
Canderel is in, BentallGreenOak is out, and KingSett Capital has transitioned to a lending partner for a three-building condominium project in midtown Toronto.
KingSett and BentallGreenOak had plans for a three-tower development on a 1.91-acre site at the northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street, beside St. Michael’s College School, but Canderel recently paid $102.43 million for a 50 per cent stake in the property. The deal took BentallGreenOak out of the picture and left KingSett remaining involved as a lender for the project, Canderel vice-president and chief operating officer Ben Rogowski told RENX in an exclusive interview.
“Our experience with KingSett and our reputation of following through on the commitments we make gave them comfort in trusting us, that we would get to the finish line,” said Rogowski. “It certainly was a complicated process because of the nature of the property and the opportunity. It took some good teamwork on everyone’s behalf to get here.”
Montreal-headquartered Canderel acquires, develops and manages office, retail, industrial, residential and mixed-use real estate. It was attracted to the St. Clair and Bathurst site because of its close proximity to three modes of public transit, a large grocery store, parks, restaurants and other amenities.
Plans for the St. Clair and Bathurst site
Canderel also likes what the site itself has to offer, with its 361 feet of frontage on St. Clair and 212 feet of frontage on Bathurst.
Zoning is already in place and there were plans for a 35-storey tower, two more of approximately 30 storeys and approximately 10,000 square feet of retail at grade spread across the three buildings. There will be one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units in the BDP Quadrangle-designed buildings, with an opportunity for some much larger suites in one of them.
“There will be a range of units that will cater to the full spectrum of buyers out there,” said Rogowski. “The beauty of a project like this is that you’ve got the opportunity to cater to everyone.”
There will also be a daycare centre and a seniors centre on the site as part of a Section 37 agreement with the City of Toronto, bringing the buildings’ total square footage to around 900,000, Rogowski added.
A park will be located on the southwest corner of the property and a privately owned, publicly accessible space will extend north from the park to the driveway between the property and St. Michael’s, which was the original owner of the site and had leased a portion of it to a gas station before selling in the previous decade.
“There will be some modest changes that you typically see in moving from a zoning approval to a site plan approval,” said Rogowski. “But, we’re not proposing to change any of the material items.”
A site plan application will be submitted within a month and it’s anticipated sales will start in the first quarter of 2022. Canderel would prefer to start construction as soon as possible after that, but it will depend on the project’s sales success.
“Ideally it’s one build-out, but we’ve got the ability to build it out in two phases if that’s what the market tells us,” said Rogowski.
Report from the CLRA
The demolition and new build at 136 Lyndhurst Ave is an example of manipulating the City of Toronto’s heritage and planning process where an owner deceives to get exactly what they want, thus helping to destroy a unique heritage neighbourhood.
This is a continuation of the problematic development process that has occurred with this property. The first chapter has been detailed on the CLRA web site. In a nutshell, the owner of 136 Lyndhurst purchased a home that had been identified as a heritage home of interest within the Casa Loma Heritage Conservation District study along with a number of adjoining homes including a remarkable home at 134 Lyndhurst designed by Eden Smith, the famous Arts & Crafts architect active in Toronto at the turn of the last century. This grouping of heritage homes formed the entrance to Lyndhurst Avenue adjacent to Lyndhurst Lodge on the way to Casa Loma itself. However because the HCD study was not completed it left this home vulnerable to demolition. The owner was aware of the significance of this home when he purchased the home and during meetings hosted by Councillor Matlow that included the owner, his architect and the President of the CLRA, they made it very clear they were aware of the inclusion within the HCD study but had absolutely no interest in preserving the home or even the front façade even though we shared with them an assessment by heritage architect Joan Burt identifying the unique heritage aspects of the home including its special brick design over the windows. 136 Lyndhurst had an appropriate connection to the neighbouring properties to the south and north and all maintained similar setbacks and also protected privacy with respect to each other.
During the meetings with Councillor Matlow the owner asserted that they had come up with a planned modest contemporary home that would fit into the context of the street and neighbourhood and that further absolutely NO variances were being sought for the planned new home. Accordingly upon presentation of their building permit plans seeking no variances they were granted a demolition permit on March 16, 2020. The home was subsequently demolished and then the owner quickly submitted new building plans to modify the original plans that had been submitted in order to get the demolition permit.
On July 14, 2020 Jamie Atkinson, Zoning examiner for the City of Toronto issued a letter outlining 3 major deficiencies from the new plans that would require variance permission under the Committee of Adjustment.
The owner’s architect submitted plans in October 2020 to support the request for these three variances while building of the new home continued during this time without ANY notices to the community that variances were being requested so that the owner could obtain what he wanted and planned all along
For some reason, ONLY on April 30th was notice of the Committee of Adjustment meeting sent out to the neighbours for a COA hearing on May 11 – a full 10 months after the initial deficiency notice issued by the City’s zoning examiner! The CLRA felt that the variances that were being sought would set a terrible precedent not only for the neighbours but the whole neighbourhood and also felt that this non transparent building process needed to be exposed – especially as the owner continued to build his building where he did not have the proper permissions.
The CLRA retained Alex Lusty from Davies Howe to act on our behalf and evaluate what principles should be presented to the COA and what processes were apparently being circumvented. The CLRA submitted a letter to the Committee of Adjustment on May 4th, 2021 and together with our counsel tried to fully understand why it had taken 10 months for this to get to the Committee of Adjustment and exactly what were the nature of the variances being sought.
Only upon exhaustive investigations with numerous building officials were we told that a modified building permit had been recently granted on March 15th to permit the increase in the wall heights to the south and north thus permitting the high flat roof and floor to ceiling windows peering down on the adjoining property to the south and dramatically changing the character of this home in contrast to the neighbourhood. After a full year and half of this project even the neighbours weren’t aware of what the owner was planning!
Eventually we found out just before the COA hearing that there was an obscure election zoning by law exemption available to the owner – either get the height of the side walls increased or the rear walls – but NOT both – it’s an election. The owner elected to have the exemption apply to the side walls and then went to the COA to get the exemption for the rear walls – thus asking for both when this was clearly not the intention of the bylaw.
During the COA hearing the architect for the owner only talked to the rear variance and the additional variance to build an underground storage room for which the CLRA had no issues. He did not even address the third variance that was officially part of the COA notice and stemmed from the July 14th 2020 zoning deficiency notice and simply said that both of these variances identified on the notice applied to the rear walls – which was completely false and inaccurate. Our counsel tried to point out that the process was unfair and should require rejection of the application since there was a clear inconsistency between what the applicant was asking for and submitting and what the official notice described. Unfortunately the COA simply ignored any of the points submitted by our counsel and also by Kerry Wood, a resident across the street who pointed out that this home was being constructed against the zoning processes and policies established that others have diligently followed.
This whole file is problematic on so many levels and sets a terrible precedent that heritage and zoning by laws don’t matter if you have enough money and can hire professionals who will simply figure out how to circumvent the process.
Accordingly it’s really important that the CLRA step in to supervise these kinds of applications that threaten to destroy the unique character of our neighbourhood and also allow neighbours to seriously infringe on the property rights and enjoyment of their properties.
Everyone should know and be aware that the CLRA will vigorously protect the heritage of the Casa Loma area, one of the City’s very few acknowledged heritage districts as well as the spirit and letter of the zoning by laws designed to create a level playing field that balance owners’ rights with the rights of neighbours and the whole community.
The CLRA has filed an appeal of the COA decision to TLAB.
The proposed regulatory framework has four parts:
Residents who may be renting rooms or are considering renting rooms should participate in the discussion. Details on a Questionnaire available until May 18 and a public meeting scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on May 11, 2021 are available HERE.
If the Casa Loma Residents Association can be of help, please email
The City of Toronto has initiated a process to develop policies and zoning rules to permit “Garden Suites” to be built city wide in the backyards of homes on lots that are not next to a public lane, subject to a range of criteria to be decided.
A “Garden Suite” is a second, generally smaller, house built in the backyard of a detached, semi-detached, or townhouse property.
The City hopes these new homes will provide affordable rentals and homes for grown children and aging parents. Note that this project is distinct from Laneway Suites of up to two storeys that have been allowed, subject to permit, since 2019 in the backyards of homes on lots that are next to a public lane.
The City has just released a survey to explore your opinions and concerns about new backyard houses in the Casa Loma neighbourhood and other neighbourhoods in the city. The srvey should be submitted by April 30th.
A link to the survey is below.
BEFORE YOU RESPOND TO THE SURVEY, the City has asked us to consider:
The Garden Suites Survey is the first step in the City collecting information from the public about the opportunities and limitations of Garden Suites in neighbourhoods across the City. By responding to the Survey you can help define the rules and regulations for Garden Suites. We ask all our residents to complete the survey.
Please do so when you can allocate about 20 minutes to complete the survey.
If you would like to be send comments and/or be kept informed by David Driedger, the City’s Lead Planner for the Garden Suites Project, you can be placed on the City’s email distribution list
UPDATE April 22, 2021
The City is hosting a series of virtual community consultation meetings where you can learn more, ask questions, and share your comments about Garden Suites.
Date: Tuesday May 11, 2021 – Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Date: Wednesday May 12, 2021 – Time: 1 pm – 3 pm
Date: Thursday May 13, 2021 – Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
You can register for the meetings HERE
The CLRA has prepared a critique of the proposed 9 storey self-storage building proposed for the lands centered where the coin wash is located on Bathurst St. just north of Dupont (1109 Bathurst St.). We are concerned that it will discourage, if not sterilize, the whole front part of Dupont in that area and the streets surrounding it from future residential intensification. This will be Canada’s tallest self-storage building upon completion. Raising 9 storeys and encompassing 160,000 sq. ft.
Some points raised in our critique:
The CLRA has been engaged with residents on Austin Crescent and Lyndhurst Court as well as the Tarragon Residents Association and the Annex Residents Association to take our concerns to Councillors Matlow and Layton before the Application is submitted to the Toronto & East York Council. The CLRA critique can be obtained HERE. Documents filed with the City related to the application can be accessed HERE.
Excerpted from the Draft Position Statement of The Annex Residents Association (‘ARA’)
April 19, 2021
This first Project Position Statement – prepared after the Project Review Meeting on 9 March, 2021, will be updated as the City processes the development application. This Statement, and the views expressed in it, are presented by ARA ‘without prejudice’ to any legal actions arising in the course of the City’s review and possible appeals.
Brief Description of Project
The development application by Talus is for a nine-storey self storage facility on the northern part of the block between Dupont and the CPR line, and Bathurst and Albany. The application is for a Zoning Bylaw Amendment and Site Plan Approval. An Official Plan Amendment (OPA) is not necessary as it conforms to the OPA arising from the Dupont Visioning Study in which ARA was heavily involved.
Since the Dupont study and resulting OPA and Zoning Bylaws did not anticipate any free-standing facilities in the General Employment Area stretching 20 m south of the railway corridor, the applicant is asking to amend the zoning to: 1) extend the General Employment Area designation 10.5 m south into the Mixed Use zone abutting Dupont (their site stretches ~30 m south from the corridor boundary); and 2) extend the height limit of the southern Mixed Use zone to the rail corridor boundary to allow for a 9-storey (~35 m) building. The proposed building will have an entrance off Bathurst Street and an exit onto Albany Street.
The project site is immediately to the west of the nine-storey Bianca condominium under construction and immediately south of the CP Rail Corridor.
The site is subject to the 2016 mediated Ontario Municipal Board settlement on Official Plan Amendment (OPA) through a Site and Area Specific Policy (SASP) for the north side of Dupont between Kendall and Ossington, resulting from the Dupont Visioning Study that ARA spearheaded in 2011. This Planning Context has a major bearing on ARA’s positions on projects along Dupont as it supported the mediated settlement.
ARA’s Issues, including Possible Impacts:
The proposed building will curtail the future development of the southern part of the block since the developer is allowed to build up to the southern lot line with no setback requirement.
The proposed building will have a negative impact on views from residential areas to the north as it will present as a massive form with minimal surface articulation. The proposed building will also have a negative impact on those using the planned Green Line as it will cast shadows on the linear park and could be experienced as a menacing blank wall.
Also, there is concern about reflected noise to the north.
As part of our environmental commitment, the ARA would like to support alternative modes of transportation, particularly for short trips. We would like the new Self Storage facility to prioritize bike, e-bikes, and bike trailers as preferred transportation vehicles for customers and act as an anchor to provide the community with e-bikes for community renting or borrowing.
ARA recommends that (1) the building be reduced to six storeys (including mechanical) and (2) the south elevation step back above the first floor.
In written comments, Planning (Jason Tsang) has suggested that the building height be reduced to eight storeys – or more – and that there be step backs on the north and south elevations. Although these are positive suggestions, height remains an issue and the need for a step back above the first floor on the south elevation remains to be addressed.
Site Plan Control has not yet been formally addressed, although some suggestions have been made. SPC will proceed after the rezoning is decided at TEYCC; P+D has asked that the community be consulted in the Site Plan review process.
To comment on this interim Project Position Statement, please email David Sisam, Member of ARA’s Planning and Development Committee, at: .
The City’s Road Operations Department began clearing our streets of leaves on Saturday as arranged with the CLRA. They removed leaves from Lyndhurst Ave., Lyndhurst Court, Austin Terrace, Austin Crescent and part of Wells Hill. On Monday they will finish Wells Hill and remove leaves from Hilton, Melgund, Nina, Walmer and Castleview.
Bagged leaves will be picked up separately on Tuesday November 17th under the 2020 waste collection schedule.
Where possible, please do not park on streets to be cleared on Monday so that the removal will be as complete as possible.
We do not know if there will be another removal of leaves from the streets this year. Please use yard waste bags from this point on. There is one additional scheduled pickup of bagged leaves on Tuesday December 1st.
The CLRA has asked the City to clear our streets of leaves which have now been accumulating for some time. The City therefore will be sending in a crew to remove leaves from our streets early morning this SATUDAY NOVEMBER 14th. To facilitate the leaf removal, and where possible, residents are asked to remove their vehicles from the streets.
Please pass this information along to your neighbours.
One of our residents on Walmer Rd. brought to our attention the petition organized by Councillor Josh Matlow to assist him in getting City Council approval to improve the snow clearing of sidewalks in downtown neighbourhoods like ours where the sidewalks are not being cleared to the same standards as other neighbourhoods in Toronto. You can assist him in getting this addressed by signing his petition at https://joshmatlow.ca/snow-clearing/
Councillor Matlow will also be hosting an online community safety forum to provide an opportunity for residents to ask important questions to the Toronto Police Service and City of Toronto staff from Fire Services, Social, Development, Finance and Administration, Shelter Support and Housing Administration, the Community Crisis Response Team, Municipal Licensing and Standards and Transportation Services.
DATE: Tuesday, November 24th 2020
The link to this forum will be posted on https://joshmatlow.ca/communitysafety/ at 6pm on November 24th, i.e. 30 minutes before the start time.
The format will not show any of the attendees, only your voice will be recorded if you wish to ask a question or make a comment.
CASA LOMA RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION
Please pass on to us () any matters you would like us to address or any ideas we can bring to our neighbours. We can help each other and accomplish more together.
We have been informed by Josh Matlow’s office that a RED LIGHT CAMERA will be installed at Bathurst and Nina before the end of November.
A red light camera is a type of traffic enforcement camera that captures an image of a vehicle which has entered an intersection in spite of the traffic signal indicating red (during the red phase).
Generally, the camera is triggered when a vehicle enters the intersection (passes the stop-bar) after the traffic signal has turned red.
The set fine for running a red light detected by a camera system is $260, plus a $60 victim surcharge and a $5 court cost. The total payable is $325.
The RED LIGHT CAMERA at Bathurst and Nina has been a project of the CLRA for a few years. It will be the third camera in our area. The others are located at St. Clair and Spadina and Bathurst and Davenport.
We have also been informed that the traffic signals at Bathurst and Melgund will become active this Friday, November 6th.
Liberty Entertainment Group (LEG) recently re-opened Don Alfonso 1890 as a “POP-UP” restaurant in the Conservatory of Casa Loma. The high-end restaurant, which opened in the Financial District in 2018, closed following government pandemic mandates on March 19. In mid-August, LEG announced they would close for good as its location in the Consumers Gas Building on Toronto St. was bought by a foreign company that plans on turning it into a condo.
The new temporary home inside Casa Loma seats 60 guests, arranged to meet the government’s social distance requirements. The Conservatory has traditionally been used as a wedding venue, accommodating 90 guests for a seated dinner or 150 for a standing reception.
Activity at the castle is down considerably because of Covid. The POP-UP restaurant will bring back some employment and shouldn’t make a noticeable difference to the traffic, noise and congestion that has been the case at Casa Loma in the past.
The CLRA is concerned about the possibility of this POP-UP restaurant becoming a permanent fixture in the Stables building at some point in the future when life after Covid returns to normal. We have brought this concern to our Councillor Josh Matlow. At this point, LEG has raised with the city (Economic Development and Culture) the notion of a restaurant on the “north campus” but discussions have not yet begun as the City has indicated several initial research steps need to be taken first such as compliance with zoning, building envelope capacity and heritage. The City has assured us that we will be fully consulted before any decisions are made or even any significant action is taken, and then if the idea is advanced any further than a general idea, there would be further consultations on specific matters such as design, traffic, etc.
Our Councillor’s office is following up on the lease review process for the Stables that has been stalled due to the pandemic. Once they have any news on that (and/or the restaurant), a meeting will be held with the CLRA.
The CLRA strongly feels that no restaurant or other type of permanent establishment should be installed on this property given that the Stables and other structures north of Austin Terrace are wholly within an established residential area and that this area is already disrupted by traffic exiting onto Walmer Rd. from the stables. We have asked our Councillor to have the City incorporate our position into any discussions they will have with LEG or other party related to the lease and use of the Stables and other properties north of Austin Terrace.
We will be following developments closely and keep you informed.
The following was received from Councillor Matlow’s Office.
Liberty Entertainment Group (LEG) has made the responsible decision to put public health first by cancelling this year’s Legends of Horror event at Casa Loma. Councillor Matlow’s office was in communication with Mayor Tory and LEG directly over the course of this week further to community concerns.
Although the event could have gone ahead under provincial guidelines, the Councillor shared skepticism about the ability to control crowds gathering before/after the event on sidewalks and in parks. The LEG decision is consistent with the recommendation of Dr. Eileen de Villa, Chief Medical Officer, City of Toronto, to restrict socializing with individuals outside one’s household due to the rising number of COVID cases.
The CLRA supported Councillor Matlow in his discussions with all parties involved.