300 Bloor Street West

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The simple answer is this – for 130 years Bloor Street United Church has been a pillar of the Annex community, offering an incredible array of programming, helping people find ways to contribute to the community, and exploring the meaning of faith in changing times. We do great work and we want to be able to continue doing it for future generations. The redevelopment of the site at 300 Bloor Street West will provide the resources and support we need to make sure that happens.
Our plans for the site include three main components: responding to the neighbourhood context, securing the future, and supporting a complete community.
  1. Responding to the neighbourhood context.
    Our plans for 300 Bloor Street West have been formed with the utmost respect for the existing neighbourhood context. Starting at street level, the building will have a pedestrian-friendly presence along Bloor Street, while integrating with the surrounding neighbourhood.
    Dubbed a “mid-block” building (i.e. located between two major north-south thoroughfares: St. George Street and Spadina Avenue / Spadina Road), the height of the residential component provides a consistent visual sightline along Bloor Street, while adhering to the planning and policy framework for the area, as outlined by the City.
    The mix of community-based, commercial and retail space, along with the residential units — many designed with families in mind — are configured for flexibility and growth.
  2. Ensuring a future for the site’s past.
    The cornerstone of 300 Bloor Street West has been, and will continue to be, Bloor Street United Church (along with the entirety of Pidgeon House, located at 478 Huron Street). With the integration of a carefully-considered mix of residential units, community and worship space, retail/café opportunities, and offices, the building will ensure a long and thriving future for the church, while contributing to everyday life along the Bloor Street corridor.
    The proposed architecture is designed to preserve and sustain the existing heritage components of the site, including an intensive restoration of Bloor Street United Church. The project will generate revenue for the church’s ongoing social services and community outreach activities — essential components to the broader community fabric.
    This unique blend of culture, community services, and residential living, in one of Toronto’s most transit-accessible locations, supports many of the high-level policy directions outlined by the City of Toronto.
  3. Supporting a complete community.
    Offering a variety of housing options in a walkable, family-friendly neighbourhood is a significant part of supporting a “complete community” and a priority for 300 Bloor Street West. The building’s objectives fit within the frameworks for planning and urban design established by Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the City of Toronto Official Plan, and Site and Area Specific Policy 334, as well as many relevant urban design guidelines for sites that are well-served by municipal infrastructure, including public transit and desirable residential and non-residential functions. 

    In addition to retaining most of the existing community and place of worship uses, 300 Bloor Street West will introduce new retail space, almost 6,000 square metres of new office space, and 259 residential units, all within a 3-minute walk of two major subway interchange stations. The project will set an example of how “complete” communities can positively impact the city and its residents.
Ensuring the long-term economic viability of Bloor Street United Church, both as a place of worship and as a cornerstone of the community, is a top priority. The redevelopment of the site will provide essential funding for church initiatives, allowing BSUC to continue to support and strengthen the community. The revitalized site will:

  1. Add flexible and accessible new worship space, designed to accommodate the multi-faith community and ensure everyone can participate in church and community programs.
  2. Improve financial and logistical support for the Social Justice Committee.
  3. Provide a home for the Community Café, an important neighbourhood asset.
  4. Help maintain the Refugee Outreach Program, a program that assists refugee claimants settling in Canada.
  5. Help support Jeremiah’s Field, a no-interest revolving loan program that assists refugees with small short-term loans and provides a volunteer “companion” for each loan recipient, offering support if needed.
  6. Support ongoing collaborations with neighbouring congregations including Bloor Street United, Trinity St. Paul's United, and Bathurst United, on projects such as the Indigenous Rights and Solidarity Working Group - an initiative of the three congregations whose purpose is to educate and advocate on issues affecting indigenous peoples.
  7. Encourage the evolution of the Sunday School and religious educational programming.
  8. Provide ongoing support of the church’s varied groups, from quilting and youth groups, to film and book clubs.
Heritage experts ERA Architects have prepared a Heritage Impact Assessment of the proposed development, and its impact on the cultural heritage value of 300 Bloor Street West and Pidgeon House (located at 478 Huron Street). The report made several suggestions to improve and maintain the site’s cultural resources for the betterment of the community, all of which we have incorporated into the building plans. In brief, the report suggests the following:

  1. The proposed development, as designed by KPMB Architects, allows Bloor Street United Church to leverage its assets to reinvest in and modernize its facility, conserve the integrity of its cultural heritage value and attributes, and provide a space that supports contemporary worship and programming.
  2. Proposed alterations will allow the church to continue in both function (servicing the community) and form (retaining the most important heritage attributes of the church).
  3. While the development seeks the removal of the 1909 Sunday School addition and the 1927 southwest entry vestibule, these alterations are mitigated by the retention of the glazed promenade buffering the west and north elevations, maintaining and highlighting all four of the church’s historic elevations.
  4. A Conservation Plan should be put in place as the development proposal progresses, to detail the scope of work that will continue to build upon the conservation strategy outlined in this report.
Our vision for 300 Bloor Street West is simple - to build a project that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable, one that will engage the community for decades to come.

300 Bloor Street West will:

  1. Ensure the long-term viability of the Bloor Street United Church as a place of worship and a centre for community outreach.
  2. Enhance and revitalize the existing historic and cultural elements on site, through design that combines heritage preservation with progressive architecture.
  3. Contribute to the vibrant and thriving streetscape along Bloor Street West.
  4. Provide exciting new retail and commercial spaces to enhance streetlife and increase the offering for local residents.
  5. Introduce new residents to the Annex, people interested in supporting and contributing to the existing dynamics of the community.
  6. Improve the connectivity of the Annex with the Bloor Street corridor.
300 Bloor Street West is currently in the planning and proposal phase. An application has been submitted, and is being reviewed by the City. For more information on completed and future milestones please visit our Status page.
Bloor Street United Church, Northrop Development Corporation, and Collecdev Inc. are the three main partners in 300 Bloor Street West. All three members share a common belief that providing affordable housing in a dynamic real-estate market like Toronto is essential for the city’s long-term prosperity.

As cities grow, the demand for desirable housing becomes more competitive in all housing categories. Offering a range of housing options requires a commitment from developers to provide for various-sized units that can support families and individuals alike, catering to both the downsizer and first-time buyer segments. It is our belief that, across all levels of development, spaces should be designed with architectural distinction – a consideration that should be afforded to everyone, including our most vulnerable populations.

Our partnership is proud to leverage our experience, expertise, and established relationships with various consultants and partners to address the ongoing need for attractive, liveable, affordable housing in the housing-competitive market of Toronto. We share a strong commitment for a local economy where affordable housing acts as a cornerstone for sustainable, inclusive communities that support a vibrant and prosperous economy, one where Canadians from all walks of life can thrive and contribute to their respective communities.

In addition to the three main partners, the following consultants are integral members of the team:
KPMB Architects
KPMB Architects leads the charge, creating contemporary architecture that integrates seamlessly with the existing context of the Annex neighbourhood. Founding Partner Marianne McKenna has designed several award-winning buildings in the area, including Toronto’s Royal Conservatory and the renowned Koerner Hall. 
ERA Architects
As the heritage consultants on the project, ERA Architects’ role is to ensure that the authenticity and historic spirit of the site remain intact. Their core concern is connecting heritage to wider considerations of urban design and city building, and to a larger set of cultural values that ensure communities respect the past while continuing to grow and thrive.
The best ideas are built upon diversity, so we encourage you to join us in our efforts to contribute to the continued growth and success of the community through the development at 300 Bloor Street West. Check out our project status for a schedule of upcoming community information sessions and milestone dates. Stay up to date with the latest news on our blog and connect with our team if you have any questions or concerns.
300 Bloor Street West is requesting a 38 storey* development - a proposal that fits within the City of Toronto’s Official Plan for the location of tall buildings, and within the context of the rapidly changing landscape between Yonge Street and Spadina Avenue / Spadina Road, where a number of tall buildings have been, or are in the process of being, built.

The site will accommodate new office, retail, parking, and residential activity, while maintaining a place of worship and a centre for community outreach within the two heritage buildings. To achieve this unique mix, the site will include a residential building that responds to site-specific considerations and its impact on the larger urban context.

When developing the optimal solution, the design team examined, reviewed, and refined the building’s design to minimize shadows and the impact on sky views. The result? A combined base and tower that adhere to the City of Toronto’s Official Plan Policy 3.1.2 and positively contribute to the neighbourhood context.

As outlined in the City’s Site and Area Specific Policy 334, development along the Bloor Corridor should provide for a transition in height, density, and scale from higher building forms in the east to a low-rise “mainstreet” character in the west, with nodes of development concentrated at key intersections adjacent to transit hubs — key characteristics that we have incorporated into the 300 Bloor Street West design.

To the west of the site, at Walmer Road and Bloor Street, several tall buildings (up to 29 storeys) currently exist or have been approved for construction. To the east, several other buildings also reach these heights. 300 Bloor Street West acts as a mid-block connector between these buildings and bridges the visual skyling height along Bloor Street, while contributing to a “main street” atmosphere at ground level.

The City of Toronto considers the north side of Bloor Street a “High Street” in its Downtown Tall Building Guidelines. This typically allows for buildings that range from 15 to 25 storeys (47-77 metres). The 15-storey (47-metre) threshold is considered an “as-of-right” height, with the 25-storey (77-metre) limit achieved through site-specific re-zoning. In all cases, the guidelines that define building heights exclude a typical 5-metre mechanical penthouse, usually set back from the roofline and only visible from a distance. These guidelines are not intended to provide strict height maximums (largely because they do not consider site-specific considerations) and the City has approved many tall buildings in the downtown core that have exceeded the applicable height ranges in the Downtown Tall Building Guidelines.

As an example of how the City’s guidelines relate to the context of 300 Bloor Street West today, we can look at the Spadina-Bloor development hub to the west, where many buildings, completed 40 to 50 years ago, surpass today’s tall building guidelines. Despite their height, over time, these buildings have not only integrated into the neighbourhood context, but have come to define it.

Today, the design of contemporary tall buildings — 300 Bloor Street West included — is far more contextual. For instance, with its close proximity to public transit (a critical requirement for contemporary city planning), 300 Bloor Street West becomes a site of strategic importance for people wishing to live in the neighbourhood but who choose not to own a car. Smaller floor plates, slender profiles, and improved cladding and mechanical systems mean that today’s architecture is far more adept at being sympathetic to adjacent low-rise neighbourhoods, while still providing the density required to help the city grow.

Today’s Bloor Street differs significantly from the Bloor Street of the late 1960s. Tall buildings under municipal and university ownership, property fragmentation, heritage designations/listings, and the increased numbers of rental housing units have brought a renewed vitality to this urban corridor — one of the most unique and valued in Toronto. 300 Bloor Street West aims to contribute to that vitality, standing tall and proud, while integrating into the neighbourhood context.
Fast Facts: Other Tall Buildings in the Neighbourhood
666 Spadina Avenue (1972): 25 storeys
360 Bloor Street West (1965): 19 storeys
341 Bloor Street West (1968): 18 storeys
310 Bloor Street West (1969): 18 storeys
720 Spadina Road (1973): 17 storeys
736 Spadina Road (2007): 20 storeys

*The 38 storeys equates to a proposed height of 135.16 metres to top of roof, or 141.66 metres when including a setbacked mechanical penthouse.
There are three essential components that architects review when determining the optimal form of a tall building: light, view, and privacy (known as LVP). These three components are generally reviewed through a combination of spatial separation, orientation, and mitigating measures between buildings.

The design of 300 Bloor Street West ensures that the light, views, and privacy of the surrounding streets, open spaces, and lower-scale neighbourhoods, will not be negatively impacted, thanks to the separation distances of the proposed building from neighbouring buildings and the wide range of non-residential uses in most of the closest buildings. The impact of the tall building design on the heritage structures, shadowing, and sky views were studied, and resulted in modifications and improvements that have been integrated into the current design.

KPMB Architects conducted shadow studies during key times of the year (typically the equinoxes - March 21st and September 21st - and the solstices - June 21st and December 21st). The studies demonstrate that the March 21st/September 21st impacts will be adequately limited on neighbourhood properties north of Lowther Avenue, with only slivers of impact on the front yards of apartment buildings at 35, 40, and 44 Walmer Road at 9:18 a.m.

On June 21st, the building will not cast shadows on any properties designated as “Neighbourhoods.” The proposal will result in some incremental shadowing on low-rise properties to the northwest, north, and northeast of the subject site but these areas are designated as “mixed-use,” not “neighbourhoods.” They are occupied by a mix of predominantly non-residential uses, and the shadowing impact from 300 Bloor Street West is therefore not as severe. Moreover, the shadows will move quickly across these mixed-use properties without any prolonged impacts on any single property due to the point tower design, which creates a more elongated, but narrower and faster-moving shadow across any affected property.

With respect to nearby parks and open spaces, only a small sliver of Paul Martel Park, located west of the site on Madison Avenue, will be impacted — and only at 9:18 a.m. on March 21st, September 21st, and June 21st. There would be no impact on Paul Martel Park on December 21st, although there would be minimal incremental shadow impacts on the Huron Street Playground, north of the subject site, at the southeast corner of Huron Street and Lowther Avenue, and on Taddle Creek Park, northeast of the site, at the southwest corner of Bedford Road and Lowther Avenue. On the Huron Street Playground, some additional incremental shadowing would occur on the west portion of the park at 12:18 p.m. and on the east portion of the park at 1:18 p.m. On Taddle Creek Park, there would be small slivers of new shadowing at 3:18 p.m.

Based on the extensive shadowing analysis, the incremental shadow impact on neighbouring streets, properties and open spaces would be “adequately limited” in accordance with the applicable Official Plan policies, and respecting the site’s location within the downtown urban context. With respect to the nearby parks, incremental shadowing would be minimal and would not affect the utility of the parks given the limited duration of the shadow impact.
A range of housing types will be available at 300 Bloor Street West, including spaces designed for both local downsizers and first-time buyer segments. We will offer residences of outstanding quality at a price point that delivers exceptional value. Part of the building will also include affordable units to help address the viability of life in the downtown core.

Bloor Street United Church, Northrop Development Corporation and Collecdev Inc. share a common belief that providing affordable housing in a dynamic real-estate market like Toronto is essential for the city’s long-term prosperity. As cities grow, the demand for desirable housing becomes more competitive in all housing categories. Offering a range of housing options requires a commitment from developers to provide for various-sized units that can support families and individuals alike.
In all cases, both liveability and efficiency is essential. Even in more modest apartment living, it is our belief that spaces should be designed with architectural distinction – a consideration that should be afforded to everyone, including our most vulnerable populations.
Our partnership is proud to leverage our experience, expertise, and established relationships with various consultants and partners to address the ongoing need for attractive, liveable, affordable housing in the housing-competitive market of Toronto. We share a strong commitment for a local economy where affordable housing acts as a cornerstone for sustainable, inclusive communities that support a vibrant and prosperous economy, one where Canadians from all walks of life can thrive and contribute to their respective communities.
Construction traffic will be managed on a full-time basis with traffic control guiding trucks in and out of the site to ensure ease of traffic and pedestrian safety. A full report will be created in advance of the start of construction.