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NorthYorkEd

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At one time (I'm told), the stretch of Yonge from Sheppard to Steeles was predominately suburban, with boring shopping plazas and seas of parking lots. There wasn't much of interest to coax urbanites to visit (or live) despite being along the subway line. Then came amalgamation and years of development. Now, it is practically a second downtown, with a lot more bustle, new growth, and constant rejuvenation. And it will likely only improve in this regard.

It's easy to see how developing this stretch was a no-brainer. Developers do seem to be focusing on Sheppard a bit, with several new condos and other projects likely capitalizing on easy 401 and subway access. But the walkability, amenities, and attractiveness of the streetscape in many neighborhoods along Steeles, Finch, and Bathurst is still lacking. Served well by transit, but missing that urban character that other neighborhoods are starting to nurture and grow.

Do you think the development will eventually spread to these areas as the city continues to grow? Is it just a matter of time? Or are certain areas facing considerably more challenges when it comes to rejuvenation and fresh development?
 

lenaitch

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I grew up there in the 50s/60s (actually at Finch and Bathurst but we hung out along Yonge). There weren't actually that many plazas along Yonge; one at Yonge/Sheppard (s/w), Yonge/Cummer and one around Byng which is long gone. The one at Yonge/Steeles (Centrepoint?) came later. Most of Yonge between Sheppard and Steeles was either retail or lowrise with retail on the ground and residential above. A few more small strip malls existed north of Cummer but I think even some of those included 2nd level residential. Finch, once you get a block or so away from Yonge, looks pretty much like it does today, as does I think Bathurst. Of course, my time was long before the subway. I think the lowrise retail/commercial + residential is a good planning concept that Toronto seems to no longer favour, but it would unlikely have been suitable to remain in the 'new downtown'. I'm not sure 'density to the max' is the only viable planning option.
I can see Finch filling out as property comes available both east and west of Yonge as with Bathurst if transit improves.
 

Northern Light

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What do you mean by urbanize?

If you mean move away from strip plazas or enclosed malls set back from the road.......that's already on its way. Sheppard is seeing new street-front development at Bayview Village and at Fairview Mall as well as Victoria Park/Consumers Rd. area.

Steeles has a proposal pending to redevelop Shops on Steeles at Don Mills towards street frontage and intensification, and multiple proposals at Kennedy/Steeles as well.

Finch has one for Bridletown Mall (a bit further out, admittedly) that will bring the mall to the street edge.

In terms of that treatment being continuous from Yonge to say, VP or beyond in the east.........it will take 30 years or more.........but yes its coming.

I don't know the west as well, but lots of midrise and intensification around Sheppard West Stn.

New proposals across from York U at Steeles/Keele.

So its likely on its way west as well. It will just take time.
 

NorthYorkEd

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What do you mean by urbanize?
I guess I'm thinking more about future development and improvements.

For example, it is easy to see why an area like Yonge and Sheppard would see an influx of new development and interest. Perhaps many people buying there wanted to be south of the 401, but prices pushed them further north. When you factor in the location and potential, the development and growing energy around there seems inevitable. But it seems that area was kind of stale and dormant for a long time.

Right now, homes are a lot more expensive along the Yonge stretch and surrounding streets, but cheaper in proximate areas, such as those between Bathurst and Dufferin. Will these areas start to catch more of a spark as buyers are pushed out to the sides (increased demographic transition/gentrification)? Or are there reasons why certain neighborhoods will stay kind of stuck, maybe due to lack of amenities, transit potential, zoning issues, NIMBYism, etc?

The entire city will continue to develop. But I guess as water flows to the points of least resistance, how can one make a reasonable prediction of which areas will see growth? Or resist it?
 

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