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The Globe and Mail

Toronto's Canary District - building a neighbourhood from scratch

Development partners aim to create a community that works, and avoid the pitfalls of athletes villages of the past

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Jason Lester, president of Dundee Kilmer Development Limited, stands outside the 1859 heritage building that once housed the Canary Restaurant on Cherry Street in the east end of Toronto’s downtown. Built initially as a schoolhouse, it will be refurbished to act as the gateway to the new Canary District.

michelle siu The Globe and Mail

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The foundations for the new community are being laid now. Eight buildings will act as the athletes village for the 2015 Pan American Games, after which the units will be upgraded and sold. The athletes village has been designed by four architectural firms to avoid a homogenous look and achieve what Dundee Kilmer calls “cohesive diversity.”

michelle siu The Globe and Mail

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“By the time the entire West Don Lands is built out, it's going to be approximately 5,000 units … multiple daycares, community centres and schools,” Mr. Lester said. “I think we're going to see a community that all of Toronto can be proud of.”

michelle siu The Globe and Mail

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Here, an architect’s rendering shows the same view once the Canary District neighbourhood park is complete. Limits have been placed on building heights.

DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

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After the Pan Am Games, housing in the area will include 787 market condominiums, 28 townhomes and 12 loft units, 253 units of affordable housing with a broad range of housing types and George Brown College’s first student residence.

Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects for DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

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Front Street will be a wide boulevard that will encourage foot traffic. In a nod to the late urban planning visionary Jane Jacobs, the buildings will employ her “eyes on the street” thesis to create safe and connected urban environments, with open streetscapes, large-scale building windows and balconies.

DundeeKilmer Integrated Design Team

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