Infrastructure Ontario Holding Open House on First Parliament Site Development Plan
On Monday September 27, Infrastructure Ontario will host a virtual open house on the Transit Oriented Development plan for the Corktown station area, which includes the historic First Parliament Site. This meeting is an important opportunity for the community to weigh in on the proposed development and loss of critical parkland and heritage interpretation opportunities at this historic site.
In January, the City learned that the Province of Ontario had initiated expropriation proceedings for the First Parliament Site lands owned by the City of Toronto, near the planned Corktown Station of the future Ontario Line subway. I am deeply concerned by the potential risk to this important historic site and city-building project.
Located at the intersection of Front and Parliament Streets, the First Parliament Site is a full city block, bounded on the west by Berkeley Street and on the south by Parliament Square Park. These lands are a site of local, provincial and national significance. Following thousands of years of human activity and use by Indigenous communities, in 1797 the site became the location of the first purpose-built buildings to house the Parliament of Upper Canada. After its destruction by United States forces in the War of 1812, a Second Parliament building, followed by a district gaol (jail), and then the Consumers' Gas Company buildings occupied the site.
Years of community advocacy, championed by the late Deputy Mayor McConnell, led to the uncovering of the archeological heritage at the site, and the lands were later secured into public hands by the Ontario Heritage Trust and the City of Toronto.
The First Parliament site was to be developed for a mix of public uses in partnership with the Ontario Heritage Trust. The First Parliament Project team has engaged stakeholders and the public, and has completed a Heritage Interpretation Strategy and Master Plan implementation framework for the vision. City Council has approved a new district library for the site, and new park space, commemoration of the heritage of the site, and new public use opportunities are envisioned.
Infrastructure Ontario's development submission for two major blocks at the future Ontario Line Corktown station will be presented at this open house. Notably, the plan removes public lands that were zoned as Park by the City and replaces them with high intensity development. In this parkland deficient area, the site was intended to provide critical new green and open space to contribute to a livable community as new development proceeds. The removal of parkland and the opportunities for appropriate heritage interpretation is a key consideration as compared to the City's Master Plan for the site.
The City's Master Plan Built form Demonstration Plan including 6,082m2 of dedicated open space:
Infrastructure Ontario Development Submission for the expropriated City lands/First Parliament Site (Front E/Berkeley/Parliament/Parliament Square Park)- including 900m2 of dedicated open space and 46-, 24- & 25-storey towers:
Infrastructure Ontario Development Submission for expropriated private lands (King E/Berkeley/Parliament/Front E) 46-, 46- & 12- storey towers:
Successful city-building requires collaboration between government partners, working together on shared objectives. I will continue to work with Councillor Wong-Tam, stakeholders, and the public to secure the goals that our community and leaders like former Deputy Mayor McConnell have envisioned for this important site, and urge you to make your views known at this upcoming open house.
Corktown Transit Oriented Community Open House
Date: Monday, September 27, 6:30pm