The SEDRA Owl: March 2023

Presidents’ welcome: Jane Auster and John Hiddema, SEDRA Co-Presidents
Image: John Hiddema (SEDRA Co-President), Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Jane Auster (SEDRA Co-President),
photo c/o Jane Auster
Building Community: What does community mean to you?Our community is growing and changing as we welcome new neighbours moving into the buildings springing up in every corner of South Eglinton/Davisville Village as well as making a home for the “old” neighbours who have lived here for years.Their length of residence may vary, but all of their interests align.We are all looking for a safe, vibrant, green community. At SEDRA, we think these are not just lofty aspirations, but achievable goals. And we are working hard with our neighbours to achieve them.Making Davisville Village greener: TTC Lands, Hillsdale Park and 60 BalliolIf you haven’t heard already, there is a visionary proposal in the works to transform the TTC lands at Davisville and Yonge. At the core of the plan is a one-hectare park that will connect to Oriole Park and the Beltline. But there’s so much more: the proposal also calls for heritage preservation (and expansion) of the McBrien building (currently TTC headquarters), the construction of new housing (much of it affordable), the addition of a “gateway” spanning Yonge St. and connecting Balliol on the east side with the new parkland. This is development at its best: community-focused, green, inclusive, visionary. SEDRA is part of a large area-wide working group helping to turn this vision into reality.On a smaller scale, SEDRA worked with the city – and the new residents of the Art Shoppe condos – to expand an existing parkette on Hillsdale Avenue so that it now provides a greenway between Hillsdale and Soudan avenues. This restful space features native plantings and trees, ample seating, and a contemplative ambience. SEDRA will continue to advocate for new green spaces like this within our urban environment.60 Balliol is an address, but it’s much more than that. It’s a well-loved park in the heart of the Davisville apartment neighbourhood that is under threat of being paved over to make way for a new condo tower. We feel this much-used park dating back to the 1960s – one of the few green spaces in South Davisville Village – is worth fighting for, without denying the developer the right to build on a nearby site. We are working closely with the councillor’s office and local residents to try to save this already-existing park for the community. If you’re interested in helping, please contact SEDRA at ac.ot1718968254norot1718968254ardes1718968254@tned1718968254iserp1718968254.

Making Davisville Village saferThe City of Toronto has been creating Vision Zero policies for several years now. One of the easiest wins for pedestrians has been the installation of LPIs, or Leading Pedestrian Intervals, which give pedestrians a head-start crossing intersections. SEDRA has been instrumental in seeing these LPIs installed on Yonge Street and at Soudan and Mt. Pleasant. Now we are working with our two councillors’ offices to get LPIs for Mt. Pleasant from Manor Rd. to Merton St., and especially at Davisville, which is a busy crossing for schoolkids in the area.We are also working closely with our neighbour RA – Oriole Park Association – on a new, comprehensive traffic plan for Chaplin Crescent and Davisville Rd. This intersection, which is going to see the exponential rise of new buildings over the next five years, is desperately in need of a well-considered traffic safety plan.Building partnershipsDid you know? SEDRA works closely with neighbouring residents’ associations to “cover” our part of Toronto, especially in the face of new development proposals. The Sherwood Park area is the scene of growing interest, especially on Bayview north of Eglinton and the north side of Eglinton. For several years, the local residents’ association has been inactive. Working with the Leaside Residents Association, SEDRA is now helping to “birth” a new RA, called the Broadway Area Residents’ Association. It’s always exciting seeing a group of residents pull together to fight common cause. Stay tuned to welcome this new RA to the neighbourhood!We want to hear from you. What’s on your mind? What’s important to you? How can we all do a better job of building community?
Tall and Mid-rise Working Group (TMWG) Update: Jeff Latto, Chair
Image: Map of developments in Davisville Village, c/o FONTRA, City of Toronto
Firstly, allow me to introduce myself. I am the new Chair of the TMWG at SEDRA and a Davisville Village resident for the past 24 years. My career as an architect in both the private and public sectors (on staff at both the TDSB and Metrolinx) has prepared me well for this posting.Walking around our community it is not hard to find evidence of the development pressures we are currently facing. In all pockets of the SEDRA neighbourhood we can see new application notices, demolished structures, and deep excavations. As of February 2023, all approved or soon to be approved projects will yield an estimated 18,000+ new neighbours living in 12,000 new residences in our area. It’s truly mind-boggling to think about this amount of change.At the TMWG we work with impacted communities to share what we know about the planning context that is driving this growth so that there is an understanding of what all parties (city, developer, community, SEDRA) can do to make these projects work better. We are all aware this growth, and specific projects, can have consequences felt directly by our neighbours.Recent Bills 108 and 138 passed by the Ontario Government set the groundwork for a developer-centric planning regime in Ontario. The faith is in the market to provide solutions to our housing shortage and as such these Bills reduce the perceived obstacles that developers often speak of such as high development fees and community engagement. At SEDRA we remain open to see how this legislation will work. We don’t dispute that Ontario will expand its economy through population growth; we don’t dispute the need for more housing; and we don’t dispute that our neighbourhood is highly attractive. In fact, the development we are now seeing is largely expected and accommodated for in the city’s Official Plan.In future issues of this newsletter we will undertake a deep dive on a recent project to illustrate what worked and what didn’t in this new planning environment. We will discuss how SEDRA played a role in mediating between the community, the city, and the developer and in ensuring the community voice is included in the conversation for good development.I sincerely hope you follow along.
Linger and Learn in Mount Pleasant Village: A Message from our friends at Mount Pleasant Village BIA
Image: Muskoka Chairs – similar ones will be featured along Mount Pleasant
While we might have to endure a bit more of winter, we’re looking ahead to summertime! And we hope you’re curious and love to learn new things as much as you love summer because this year, Mount Pleasant Village BIA will be sharing the history of our street in Muskoka chairs spread along Mount Pleasant Road.There will be a QR code on the chairs, and each chair will have a different story or curiosity for you. So make sure you scan every chair to enjoy some nice tidbits of our history. From Mabel’s Fables, Regent Theatre to a robbery on Belsize and much more!Follow us on social media to learn when they will be up!Instagram: mount_pleasant_villageFacebook: MountPleasantVillage
SEDRA makes a submission to the Electoral Committee to reinstate Historical Boundaries
Image: Map of Historical Electoral District of Toronto – St. Paul’s, c/o Elections Canada
The residents living between “Eglinton – Merton – Bayview – Yonge” have been part of a single voting ward for almost 150 years. Doug Ford changed that in 2018 with his decision to align the city’s wards with the federal/provincial riding boundaries to create 25 new wards.The federal government modifies electoral boundaries after every 10-year census to reflect shifts and growth in the population. The City of Toronto wards are now included in this boundary alignment process.On July 27th, 2018, the Ford government proposed a change to the ward model in the City of Toronto that would result in community representation by two councillors and planning decision making from two separate planning councils.The initial report from the Electoral Boundaries Commission surprisingly reset the riding boundaries to reunite the east and west parts of SEDRA under a single ward.SEDRA and various residents took the opportunity to write submissions to support the realignment. Here is the text from the Commission’s report.“The Commission received two submissions from neighbourhood associations concerning this district. The first submission was from the South Eglinton Davisville Residents’ Association. This association supported the proposed boundaries as it keeps the Davisville neighbourhood whole. A few submissions from individuals in the neighbourhood echoed this sentiment. This neighbourhood was wholly in TORONTO – ST. PAUL’S after the 2003 redistribution, but was split up after the 2013 redistribution. The Commission has placed TORONTO – ST. PAUL’S eastern boundary on Bayview Avenue, keeping all of Davisville in TORONTO – ST. PAUL’S.”Let’s hope the changes survive the final steps in the review and approval process.