It’s been a 6 month stretch in Bloor West Village none of us would have imagined back in January. COVID-19 has put its stamp on our neighbourhood like many others in Toronto, but in doing so, it’s also revealed a strong spirit among residents: on the streets, in shops, on porches and sidewalks, in the parkettes and in line-ups.

The BWVRA too, has remained steadfast in serving its residents, meeting on-line each month since March, discussing important matters like local development and improvements. As usual, we won’t be meeting in July and August, but look forward to getting back together in September, where our AGM will be following shortly. Until then, this website will still be the home for important updates, as always.

Enjoy the well-earned summer.

A key part of the Bijou development at the Humber Theatre site will be the rejuvenation of the northeast corner of Bloor Street and Riverview Gardens. Currently, this swath of property is unadorned with any landscaping or design elements and features a less-than-ideal off-camber sidewalk going around the corner. Upon completion of the condominium, this will be changed for the better.

Above is a rendering proposed by the developer of the Bijou, that our community is supporting. The current proposal was arrived at as a result of numerous consultations with a BWVRA neighbourhood advisory group. As shown, it will include greenery, a staircase to better navigate the downward slope and new seating areas. Final drawings will be made available once a Site Plan Approval is received from the City. This is another example of the BWVRA in action.

“I was just looking at the BWVRA notice about the Humber/Riverview building.  I have to commend the BWVRA on its continuing work to keep the village development to a reasonable level.  The rendering of the proposed building is at least kept to mid-rise and the design at least has some interesting features that break up the glass box effect.  I think that without the continuing pressure that the Association has wielded, BWV would look very different at this point.  Well done!” 

ES, Toronto

Residents should know that over the past year, City transportation staff have continued to study the area, meet with area stakeholders and review comments received from residents. This intersection doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation for safety and navigation – especially for pedestrians and cyclists.

Based on this work, City staff are putting together proposed design changes to the intersection which will be presented to the community in Spring 2020. Our local Councilors office will be in touch when the meeting date and location are confirmed.

City staff has determined that extending the left-hand turn lanes between Jane Street and South Kingsway, will relieve some of the dangerous vehicular behaviour that is currently taking place. It’s our understanding that this work will be taking place in Spring 2020.

Source: Google Maps

You already know that your Bloor West Village Residents Association has been working tirelessly over the past number of years to preserve and protect the special qualities of Bloor West Village that we all value and enjoy every day. The initiatives have included successful challenges to several inappropriate over-sized development proposals, along with our continuing efforts to have effective planning controls put in place for Bloor Street through the Village.

Your Association has also hosted many highly popular all-candidate debates and Janes Walks and our website continues to record thousands of visits every year, indicating that our Bloor West Village residents really care about and want to know, what’s going on! BUT…none of this would have been possible without the many dedicated volunteers who have served on our Board of Directors to help organize the various initiatives that have made BWVRA so relevant to our community.

THE PROBLEM IS…as with any volunteer organization there is always on-going attrition, usually due to family responsibilities, career demands and relocations. Over the past year, a number of our Board Members have had to move on, leaving us with an inadequate number of Directors to carry on with our regular activities.

WE NEED YOUR HELP…and by taking on an active role with your Association you will gain a broad perspective on civic and local issues and a meaningful way to give something back to your community! To learn more about us you could go to our website at www.bwvra.ca or, better yet, give me a call at 416-762-0912!

Jamie Isbister, Chair BWVRA

* Toronto Life Survey, 2018

We’re guessing that most residents would agree with Toronto Life’s ranking of Bloor West Village as the best neighbourhood in the city! It’s well-deserved and we are fortunate to have a number of attributes that make it so attractive and livable including:

• A vibrant main street shopping area
• Mature, stable residential streets
• Top public schools
• Walkability to all the essentials of daily life
• Excellent access to public transit, and
• An abundance of parks and other public spaces

But being fortunate doesn’t mean being entitled. These advantages cannot be taken for granted and despite the Toronto Life score, they can be threatened by:

• Inappropriate out-of-scale urban intensification
• Inadequate planning tools to guide renewal and growth
• Lack of City resources to properly maintain our parks and tree canopy, and
• Market forces and property taxes that penalize main street retailers

The good news is that we have a lot of engaged residents who can take some credit for how great our village is today! You are showing up at public meetings by the hundreds to express your concerns about inappropriate development proposals. You are challenging monster home proposals all the way to TLAB, Toronto’s appeal tribunal, and sending a message that this type of renewal is not encouraged in Bloor West Village. You are supporting the work of the BWVRA as a member and a donor when called upon. You are supporting other vital organizations such as Green 13 to ensure our tree canopy and public open spaces are protected and enhanced. And, you are shopping locally to ensure our retail main street prospers and survives as the anchor of our village.

As one of the strongest collective voices in our area, let’s keep it up! The BWVRA is always looking for energetic, committed residents to contribute their ideas and talents as members of our Board.

Do you have some time to become involved? We’d love to hear from you about your interests and how you would like to help! Please click here to learn more.

It’s been awhile since we’ve posted an update on the Humber Theatre Proposal, but that doesn’t mean the BWVRA hasn’t been busy!  Quite the opposite!  Your Association, along with the four other parties to the proceedings, has had several productive discussions with the developer.  Progress is being made and there is optimism that a negotiated settlement may be within reach.  The developer has been meeting with us on a “without prejudice” basis which means, unfortunately, we are unable to make any public disclosure of our progress.  We’re hopeful that we’ll be in a position to provide more details in time for our Annual General Meeting on May 10th, which will feature one of our always successful Candidate Debates, in advance of the upcoming Provincial Election.  We thank you again for your continuing support!

Neighbourhood Character Guidelines for Bloor West Village

First of all, a big thank you (again), to everyone who responded to our survey last October.  The exceptionally high response rate of nearly 50 % of the households that were contacted, indicates how much we care about the look and feel of our neighbourhoods.   As importantly, the feedback received helped to inform the recommendations of the concurrent study which is now complete and posted here for your information.

For those who are not familiar with this initiative, the Bloor West Village Neighbourhood Character Guidelines project was carried out as the first step to assist the City in implementing guidelines that  will help ensure that future large home renovations and re-builds respect and reinforce the existing  character of our neighbourhoods. The study area which coincided with the BWVRA catchment area, was bordered by Bloor Street to the south, Quebec Avenue to the east, Annette Street and Humberview Road to the north, and the Humber River to the west.

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