Friday, December 12, 2014

This Changes Everything - First Gulf starts Unilever Site Stakeholder Outreach

Possible development of old Unilever site, 21 Don Roadway - and perhaps more - perhaps very much more …

By Michael Holloway,
Ward 30 Bikes member

  • What do you think we should be talking about to First Gulf and City Planners around this city building proposal?
  • What's your vision of a Lower Don River community - perhaps just 10 short years from now?


The 21 Don Roadway Proposal has grown over the years.

Originally, the First Gulf 21 Don Roadway development proposal site was an odd-shaped polygon of land characterized by a craggy northern border aligned about 200 metres south of Eastern Avenue - extending from the Don River, east over to a line approximately where McGee Avenue ends at Eastern. Since then, the possible development site has expanded considerably.

Below is an view of the site with a boundary mark-up - a First Gulf proposal from 2012:
Image is an edit of First Gulf .pdf link titled, "Marketing Package" - at:

In May 2014, during the "Gardiner East Environmental Assessment and Integrated Urban Design Study" process, First Gulf proposed a re-alignment of the Gardiner ...

Courtesy: First Gulf/BeachMirror - First Gulf - 21 Don Roadway, May 2014 Proposal, Existing Gardiner sketch

Courtesy:First Gulf/BeachMirror - 21 Don Roadway - May 2014 Proposed Gardiner realignment, Broadview extension

... interestingly, a much larger development-area boundary is indicated in these 2014 sketches.

It includes: the entirety of the City of Toronto Transportation Services Yards at Booth Ave (large yellow rectangle in the foreground); land along the south side of Eastern from McGee west over to the rail overpass; lands to the south of the Transportation Services yards; and (I believe), the Port Authority's disused switching yard to the north of the Lower Don Recreation Trail.

Plus, about 2 years ago, while I was discussing the possibility of extending the Eastern Avenue Bike Lanes across the Don Valley to the Richmond/Adelaide Bicycle Corridor, someone from the city intimated to me that the owner of the property south of Sunlight Park Road (now BMW Canada) was key to that idea - and would need to be a part of this 21 Don Roadway development group in order for that idea to happen.

Here's hoping.

Ward 30 Bikes hasn't seen the latest First Gulf plans yet.

Below is a sketch from First Gulf that shows some transportation context - it appeared in Urban Toronto (no date of publish indicated).

  • a proposed pedestrian bridge across the Don River under the Rail Line bridge;
  • a new north-south street at the existing entrance to the Works and Emergency Services Yards at 433 Eatern Avenue (northern entrance to 30 Booth);
  • a new east-west roadway: from Booth (at the existing 30 Booth entrance-way) to a new Broadview extention;
  • a new east-west roadway from a McGee extention west to Don Roadway (at the existing entrance to 21 Don Roadway);
  • a new roadway, a dog-leg from new south Broadview west, and then south to the new 21 Don Roadway parrallel roadway.

First Gulf/Pellow + Associates Architects/UrbanToronto -

Here, thus, is a map that I made for this article, of the possible extent of this master-planned neighbourhood, city building proposed development.

(I think) the map reveals how the existing roadways might be configured as part of this development so that they connect the city to the River; the city to the Waterfront; and the east side of the city to the neighbourhoods across the Don River.

In short, we are about to build a small town south of Eastern Avenue at Broadview. ... And, as a walker and a cyclist - on that scale - that means several neighbourhoods.

This raises questions, such as:

  • How would Sunlight Park Road work as a connection point integrated into an extended Broadview at the chicane at Eastern Avenue - to create a safe route to a Cycling/Pedestrian Bridge over the Don Valley to Corktown Common Park - and beyond to the Richmond/Adelaide Cycling Corridor?
  • With Broadview extended south to Commissioners, what is the character of a new Don Roadway?
  • How do we configure the Lower Don Recreation Trail at Don Roadway?
  • Do we want to naturalize the Don River Valley north of the Keating Channel - perhaps all the way up to north of Gerrard - the distance where it is currently confined by a canal wall?
  • Can we plan to make the river accessible to the community via riverside park lands;  places where people can walk right up to the water’s edge - and dip one’s toe in?
  • Should we remove the East Gardiner, and the ramp connections to the DVP?
  • Should we remove the Don Valley Parkway in favour of a “park way” for sustainable transportation?
  • At the Eastern Avenue Bridge: Should we remove the ramps from Adelaide/to Richmond? What about the on-and-off ramps to the DVP?

What do you think we should be talking about to First Gulf and City Planners around this city building proposal?

What's your vision of a Lower Don River community - perhaps just 10 short years from now?

Michael Holloway
member, Ward 30 Bikes


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