The community of Canary District dates back to 1859 as the Toronto District School Board had built one of the first free schools in the area was perceived as ‘downtown’. The Palace Street School is now considered the city’s oldest multi-room school. Upon the closing of the school, the building was renamed the Cherry Street Hotel in 1895. This famous hotel built an extension which became the Canary Restaurant 1965. The name of the restaurant was associated with a giant Canary that resided on the sign. During the 1970’s the area quickly turned into an industrial hub for the ever growing city. However, the area became desolate as the importing and exporting began to globalize exponentially. The area continued to sit unused for over 40 years until the City of Toronto partnered with key professionals to begin the formation of the Canary District. This key historical building still remain today as historical sight and gives inspiration to the 35 acre community that began its development 2014.
As a part of downtown, Canary District has been termed Toronto’s largest urban village. Taking up 35 acres around the intersection of Front St. and Cherry St. the area started its redevelopment as an effort to connect the east with the downtown core. As this community is within its beginning stages of development, the area has had the world’s brightest minds working towards building a community that focuses on offering a pedestrian friendly neighbourhood with emphasis on health and wellness. The area’s development will be a 3 stage process that includes George Brown College Residents, a YMCA, a blend of beautiful market value high rise condominiums and townhomes as well a luxury condominiums that offer a variety of amenities. The goal of offering this community as a development in stages is to allow it to grow as it ages.
The design of the community supports Toronto’s Mandatory Green Building as well as met the LEED Gold criteria. It has also been given a variety of awards including the NAHB Community of the Year, BILD 2014 Community of the Year and the Canadian Architect Award of Excellence. It was also able to gather attention on a global scale by housing the athletes of the Pan Am Games during their stay in Toronto.
This community has been termed as “having more green space than residences”. With the $15 Million, 18 acre Corktown Common Park as well as utilizing green spaces through courtyards, terraces and secondary pedestrian routes, the community hopes to attract a variety of residents to the area including families, professionals and enthusiasts alike.
The community, upon completion, will offer new roadways that will offer easy access to major highways as well as street cars and pedestrian routes throughout. Schools and daycares will be incorporated within the community as it continues through its phases of development. Street retail will offer shopping and dining that support the vision of the community and hold good business models.