38 Walmer Road

This site is located in the heart the Annex, one of Toronto’s most dynamic and storied neighbourhoods. It is situated on traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. 

The existing church was built in 1889 in near-empty plots surrounded by farmland. From the beginning, it has been a place of community and social innovation – where a food bank, theatre initiative, and Canada’s first co-located daycare all thrived and where a diversity of people came together for over a century.  

The redevelopment of the Walmer Road Baptist Church represents a once in a generation opportunity. It’s a chance to build upon the areas living heritage and create a beautiful neighbourhood landmark that serves the community.  

TAS, along with our partners the Walmer Road Baptist Church, has been working with a team of designers, heritage experts and planners to develop a bold new vision for this site. Our proposal seeks to bring the site into the future while celebrating the rich history of the church, the site it sits on, and the Annex community. It includes: 

  • Adaptive reuse of the sanctuary building, to include a new space for the Walmer Road Baptist Church and new commercial community hub.  
  • 162 new condominiums in a 20-storey building.  
  • A publicly accessible courtyard for residents and members of the local neighbourhood.  

The commercial community hub will be a welcoming, inclusive place that restores the sanctuary’s historical role as a place for community, connection and social innovation. 

The development of the condos will make it possible to build the new hub, congregation space and courtyard. 

We are excited to evolve this place at the corner of Lowther and Walmer in the Annex with and for the community and see this project as a tremendous example of our commitment to building for impact.

Renderings: Nineplusten

  • 35,488 square feet gross floor area 
  • 162 new homes, including a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms  
  • Unique design that includes a 20-storey tower, a sanctuary and a courtyard 
  • 5,500 square feet of privately owned public space  
  • 162 bike parking spots 

A New Hub for Community and Social Innovation   

The redevelopment of this site is centered around the adaptive reuse of the sanctuary to create a new commercial community hub. The hub will be an inclusive place that serves the local community and contributes to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood and city. We heard from the community about the importance of providing flexible, affordable space to host events, meetings, and activities.  Leveraging this input, we’re currently exploring the feasibility of a number of possibilities that will ensure the hub is both commercially viable and community enriching. 

Design Excellence that Celebrates Heritage and Prioritizes Accessibility  

This will be a truly unique and beautiful building – a landmark in the Annex neighbourhood.  The design restores the most architecturally significant and iconic parts of the existing church. The materials for the new residential building take cues from the existing sanctuary building and the architecture of the neighbourhood to create a thoughtful and sensitive design. The design also prioritizes accessibility, including the lowering of the main entrance to ground level, making the building both more inclusive and welcoming to the community.  The new courtyard will be an important community amenity that provides space for gathering, quiet reflection, and more.  

Honouring the Living Heritage of the Site 

TAS is committed to a more holistic, thoughtful, and equitable approach to heritage that includes the full living history of the site.  We engaged local historians, community experts, indigenous leaders, and residents in a series of discussions about the site’s history. We heard about the importance of honouring both the built form heritage, as well as the different stories and uses that have taken place on the site, including indigenous history.  We continue to engage with local champions who understand that history and help us integrate the living heritage into our plans for the sanctuary, courtyard and future programming.

Local artist Ophira Calof (she/they) and their team, in partnership with the ReelAbilities Film Festival of Toronto and ArtworxTO, projected a multi-media installation called Dis/Play onto the exterior walls of the Walmer Road Baptist Church. 

Architects:

Suulin & ZAS

Planning:

Bousfields

Heritage Architect:

ERA

Renderings:

nineplusten

Community consultation conducted in collaboration with:

PROCESS 

City of Toronto Development Application Portal (search by address, 38 Walmer Road) 

2020

TAS partners with Walmer Road Baptist Church 

Engagement with local stakeholders begins

Summer 2022

Rezoning and Site Plan applications 

Winter 2022

City-hosted Community Consultation Meeting*

Summer 2023

Final report to City Council *

2024

Construction starts*

*All future dates based on current estimates, timelines may change

TAS takes a ‘listen first” approach to community engagement. We started engaging with the local community in 2020, with the commitment to learn and incorporate a diversity of perspectives into the design and programming of the site.  

Our broad engagement process included a series of interviews, workshops, site tours, a survey and an art installation. We heard from a wide variety of groups and individuals about their vision for 38 Walmer Road. Some of the key themes were:  

  • Ensure that the sanctuary program is inclusive and equitable 
  • Prioritize the sanctuary’s role as a community space, and particularly as a multi-purpose meeting space 
  • Acknowledge and share diverse histories on the site 
  • Prioritize indigenous truth and reconciliation by partnering with local indigenous community members 
  • Design to a higher standard for accessibility outdoor spaces that might include gardens, seating and landscaping. 

The community input informed the vision for the redevelopment, particularly the plans for sanctuary and courtyard and will continue to inform our work as we develop more detailed plans for the commercial community hub.  

We’re tremendously grateful to all who participated in the process and shared their ideas about the future of 38 Walmer Road. 

Check out this video about our engagement process. Walmer Road Baptist Church Redevelopment Engagement on Vimeo 

We are currently working with our partners to refine the designs and plans for the site, with a focus on the community commercial hub and courtyard.  We will be engaging indigenous experts to help us incorporate indigenous histories and perspectives into the site design and programming. We also continue to share our plans with the community via presentations and townhalls.  

A fun community event is planned for Fall 2022 – stay tuned for details. 

TAS team members shared what we’ve learned through the community engagement process so far, and how those learnings are influencing our redevelopment plans.

Have a question or a great idea to share? Get in touch with us any time at info@38walmer.ca

The Walmer Church Congregation will share special memories and stories from the site’s history.

880 Eastern Avenue

The site proposed for redevelopment is located in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood (Ward 14, Toronto-Danforth) – which is just east of the downtown core with easy access to the Don Valley, trail systems, waterfront, a wide variety of bustling retail, and community services.  

TAS acquired the redevelopment site in early 2020. It is rectangular in shape and encompasses approximately 2,710 square metres. It currently includes three addresses: 880 Eastern Avenue (mechanic and autobody workshop), 888 Eastern Avenue and 80 Knox Avenue (warehouse used for newspaper and magazine printing). Sears Street, a unique public laneway, borders its northern edge.  

Today, this particular section of Eastern Avenue serves as a distinct boundary between residential Leslieville to the north and industrial and employment uses to the south. The area is poised to change significantly over the coming years, and this project will help set a high standard for the quality and livability of a new development. 

This project presents a tremendous opportunity to drive positive impact by prioritizing the environment as well as the health and wellbeing of future residents and their neighbours.   

Our proposal is for a 12-storey purpose-built rental building that will provide a vibrant new point of transition between residential Leslieville and the industrial grit found south of Eastern Avenue.  

Determined to design this building in a locally responsive manner, we set out on a comprehensive research, engagement and consultation process. Since 2020, we connected with dozens of people who live and/or work nearby and learned that they most cherish the diversity and inclusiveness of their neighbourhood.  

Our project enthusiastically seeks to enhance local strengths by: 

  1. Seamlessly mixing a range of housing types, including larger family-oriented apartments, live-work apartments and townhomes. 
  1. Integrating flexible commercial spaces intended for businesses and organizations that serve the local community. 
  1. Providing ample opportunities for social connection, by including a new outdoor courtyard and maintaining the well-loved shared laneway. 

  • 167 new purpose-built rental homes including a mix of apartments, townhouses, and live-work apartments  
  • Unique design that integrates into neighbourhood fabric throughout 12 storeys  
  • 140,000 sq ft gross floor area 
  • 205 bicycle and 64 vehicle parking spaces 

Introducing a Range of New Housing Options   

Determined to consider the housing needs of people from all stages of life and integrate the unique residential mix found in the surrounding neighborhood, we designed this project to include a range of housing options. Its design seamlessly integrates 167 new homes, in a wide range of layouts –  including larger family-oriented apartments, live/work apartments and townhouses.   

Eliminating Harm on the Environment  

We are targeting net-zero carbon with this building – an ambitious goal that is driven by our commitment to eliminating negative impacts on the environment. We’re using a variety of sustainable building materials such as low carbon concrete and incorporating best practices to reduce heat loss, improve energy efficiency and increase air quality.  

Prioritizing Resident Health and Wellbeing   

Our future residents’ health and quality of life have been thoughtfully considered. Ample natural light and cross-ventilation have been prioritized with over half of the apartments having sunlight exposure on two sides. The building will be anchored by an outdoor courtyard, promoting livability, social connection and access to the outdoors. Our proposal also maintains the well-loved laneway along Sears Avenue as a space for utility, play and delight. 

Honouring Each Street  

This urban in-fill site is unique as it fronts onto three different streets. The proposed design recognizes the distinct character of each street, by considering the animation, scale, setbacks, access and programming differently across all three of these frontages. For example, the focus for Sears Ave is on limiting traffic and maintaining safety and access for pedestrians. On Knox, the focus is on maintaining the residential character of the street. Whereas Eastern Avenue will have commercial spaces for businesses and organizations that serve the local neighbourhood.  

Architect & Planner:

SvN Architects and Planners

Landscape Architect:

gh3* 

Community consultation conducted in collaboration with:

PROCESS 

City of Toronto Development Application Portal (search by address, 880 Eastern Avenue) 

2020

Tas acquires site

Socially distant interviews with local stakeholders

Early 2021

Pre-application meeting with City

Rezoning application

Winter 2022

Public Meeting

Winter 2023

Final report to City Council *

Summer 2023

Construction starts*

*All future dates based on current estimates, timelines may change

At TAS, we engage local communities early and thoughtfully to ensure their needs and potentials can be integrated into our projects.  

As such we initiated a comprehensive research and consultation exercise in summer 2020 seeking to:  

1. Learn all about how those living and/or working nearby currently experience their neighbourhood  

2. Establish an open line of communication for ongoing transparent discussions regarding the site’s future  

3. Gather input to inform redevelopment project vision and design principles 

While COVID-19 related health and safety protocols impacted our methodology, we still managed to engage with over 40 local stakeholders (at a distance of course!).  

This diagram (click for a larger version) visually summarizes what we learned through these conversations, with one bar representing one comment from a community member.

Have a question or a great idea to share? Get in touch with us any time at info@880eastern.com.

385 The West Mall

The site currently contains a five-storey building that includes a commercial podium as well as office uses. The building was originally constructed in three phases between 1961 to 1974. Since taking ownership in March 2016, TAS has made 40 commercial units available to a vibrant mix of tenant partners on a short-term basis. 

The scale of this project presents a tremendous opportunity to re-imagine how purpose-built rental, for-sale condominium, and community-focused commercial space can all be integrated on one large suburban site. We are excited to propose a unique project that will serve its local community by supporting multi-generational living and wellness and introducing significant pedestrian-focused public realm improvements. Our proposal was informed by:

  • Two towers are connected by a shared six-storey podium 
  • North Building is 12-storeys and South Building is 32-storeys 
  • 92% (521,000 residential square feet) residential gross floor area 
  • 8% (45,200 commercial square feet) non-residential gross floor area 
  • Approximately 32,300 square feet of landscaped open space and green roofs 
  • 653 new homes, including both for-sale condominiums and purpose-built rental units 
  • 675 bike parking and 739 vehicle parking spaces 

Architect:

SvN Architects and Planners

Landscape Architect:

Public Work

Planner:

Bousfields Inc.

Vision: Multi-Generational Living and Wellness 

Our local research and engagement process revealed a need for increased health and social services as well as senior’s housing in this part of Etobicoke, which has been expanding rapidly over the past decade. We are actively exploring and curating not-for-profit and commercial partnerships to ensure the project serves these community needs. Numerous design decisions were informed by a commitment to ensuring that the project supports the overall wellness of residents of all ages and at all stages of life.

Environmental Sustainability

Our proposal strives to achieve Toronto Green Standards v3 Tier 2 and encourages active transportation through reduced vehicular parking, robust infrastructure for cyclists, and car-sharing.

Enhanced Livability: Three Season Balconies

Expansive balconies have been designed to blur the lines between indoor, outdoor, private and public space. Intended to maximize residents’ use of outdoor spaces from early spring to late fall, this unique feature introduces a retractable glass screen system that contribute to the energy conservation efforts integrated into the building design.

Public Realm Improvements

Our overall wellness focus has inspired the design of unique outdoor spaces that will offer residents and neighbours attractive spaces to connect and socialize. Key features include:

  • Two large publicly accessible landscaped outdoor courtyards that begin at-grade along The West Mall, extend to a raised concourse area and introduce nature onto the site.
  • A sheltered ‘conservatory’ space that can be programmed for community events and gatherings.
  • A general prioritization of the pedestrian experience achieved by burying most vehicular access and parking underground.

TAS engages local communities early and thoughtfully to ensure we understand their strengths, potentials and aspirations – and can integrate these findings into our project designs.

In 2019, our team met with City Staff and have continued close communication with Councillor Holyday and his office throughout the planning process. In October 2020, we partnered with the City of Toronto to host a Virtual Public Meeting to explain our development proposal to, encourage questions and ideas from the local community.

During the warmer months of 2020 and 2021, we’ve been hosting a seedling market with The Backyard Urban Farm Company (BUFCO) to activate underutilized space on site. We continue to seek opportunities to engage with local residents, organizations and businesses to grow our understanding of local opportunities, strengths and aspirations.

We warmly welcome questions and input – please be encouraged to share yours via info@385thewestmall.com any time and a member of our team will be in touch.