Ryerson Study Says We Have Character

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.

The project was carried out by the Ryerson Urban & Regional Planning students senior studio class of 2017 under the guidance of the Board of the Bloor West Village Residents Association, and was informed by the Long Branch Neighbourhood Character Guidelines pilot project launched by City of Toronto Planning staff in 2016 and accepted by Council in January 2018.

The City of Toronto initiative was prompted by the significant gap in the policy framework available to guide Committee of Adjustment decision-making around so-called “minor planning variances”.  The objective of the Long Branch pilot project was, therefore, to create and test a guidelines document specific to redevelopment and infill within Long Branch that could also be used as a template and example for other neighbourhoods across the City of Toronto.

The Ryerson students used a draft of the afore-mentioned Long Branch pilot report to guide production of the Bloor West Village guidelines. The resulting document posted here has not yet been endorsed by City Council, and thus, is for information purposes only; however, its recommendations have been well received by several planning staff and our City Councillor, and we are optimistic that City Planning will assist us in proceeding with the professional follow-up study in the near future.

In the mean time, it is hoped that the Guidelines prepared by the Ryerson students can serve as a reference document for use by residents, home builders, the community, City staff, committees and appeal bodies as they develop plans and/or review applications for major home alterations or re-builds  within the BWVRA catchment area.