Improvements in store for “Upper Avenue”

Avenue Road is certainly one of the signature streets in Toronto—yet somehow it seems the uppermost stretch of this important city street has been somewhat neglected and underutilized. That is about to change, with the recent completion of a study of Avenue Road between Lawrence and Wilson avenues.

The Avenue Road study conducted by the city of Toronto was led by the firm of Brook Mcllroy Planning + Urban Design/Pace Architects in association with Poulos + Chung Limited. The study sought input from the local community through three public open houses and seven local advisory committee meetings. The local advisory committee comprised area residents, business owners, and property owners.

The study produced five main recommendations: maintain village atmosphere and pedestrian friendly streetscape; encourage more mixed-use development incorporating retail together with commercial and residential uses; greening of Avenue Road to include the creation of new parks and open spaces and green development; build on the brand “Upper Avenue” through gateways, public art, street signage, street furniture, and overall streetscaping and landscaping.

The Avenue Road Study concluded that this two-kilometer stretch should retain its predominantly retail character, but that it should better integrate into the surrounding neighbourhoods and provide a focal point for local residents not just as a place to shop but also as a hub for social interaction and pride of ownership within the community. The next few years will provide significant changes to this stretch of Avenue Road. If all goes as well as expected, “Upper Avenue” will be a model for revitalization for other avenues across the city of Toronto.

Source:  Courtesy of the Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

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