Town Hall to Protect the First Parliament Site

In January, we learned that the Metrolinx had initiated expropriation proceedings for the First Parliament Site lands owned by the City. A public meeting on the Master Plan for this historic site was postponed while the City sought clarification from Provincial agencies.

A Town Hall has now been scheduled for April 15th with Councillor Wong-Tam, CreateTO, City staff, and invited guests Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario with presentations on plans for the site, and a public Q&A session.

Date: April 15th, 2021
Time: 6:00pm-8:00pm
Location: Zoom Webinar – Register here: https://www.firstparliament.to/townhall

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. 

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 is 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, completed a Heritage Interpretation Strategy, and is leading a Master Plan process to develop an implementation framework for the vision. City Council has approved a new district library for the site. New public open space, commemoration of the heritage of the site, and new public use opportunities are being explored.

Last year, we learned that the Province's Ontario Line project would place a subway station in the vicinity of the site. Metrolinx had informed the City that the area around the future station, including the First Parliament lands, would be required for construction staging and an access shaft, for the duration of several years of construction. Plans for redevelopment of the site would be delayed, while the City moved ahead with planning its future use.

The notice of expropriation by the Province to take permanent ownership of the site raises serious concerns for the planned public uses for the site, including critical community facilities such as the district library. 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 Mayor Deputy McConnell have envisioned for this important site.

For background on the First Parliament Project Master Plan and to receive updates visit the First Parliament Project webpage.