Designed as a new, vibrant community hub and gathering place, Mirvish Village will integrate a new park and market, called The Kitchen, an extensive public realm, micro-retail, 24 restored heritage buildings, unique restaurants and shops as well as numerous indoor and outdoor performance and gathering spaces all interwoven with public art installations including a mural by artist Frank Stella.
There is 200,000 square feet of Creative Workspace and Retail at Mirvish Village.
The retail at Mirvish Village is diverse, varied and designed to reflect the fine grain character of the historic site, with multiple spaces available for micro to mid-size to larger tenants. The project is anchored by The Kitchen, a market, food hall and performance venue, which forms an identifiable heart of the project. “The Kitchen is connected to every aspect of the site including the retail high street at Markham Street and the public park,” said Lynch.
Retail for the project is in four components.
Honest Ed’s Alley is a pedestrian-only thoroughfare with 25 move-in ready micro retail units. It will build on the entrepreneurial spirit of Ed and Anne Mirvish and celebrate all that they created by supporting creative, innovative and passionate entrepreneurs and small business owners. Mirvish Village will offer incubator spaces and micro-retail spaces for these businesses to showcase their products and test out new concepts.
“They range anywhere from 120-450 square feet. They’re turnkey solutions for entrepreneurs and businesses that want to test out their products and services,” said Lynch. “They can be short term as little as three months or you could do up to two years. It can be everything from a one-person hair stylist to a tattoo artist to a chocolatier to a clothing concept.
“This alleyway was also inspired by the alleyways in Tokyo. So you’re going to have lots of bright neon signages. It’s going to be lit up. A really interactive experience for people to come out and try new products and services.”
There is also The Kitchen and music venue. Lynch said The Kitchen has been designed to be a place where the neighbourhood and the broader Toronto community can come for a diverse array of food and drink that’s reflective of the cultural mosaic of the city. There will be 16 food kiosks ranging from 200 square feet to about 400 square feet.
“Within that we also have a music venue which can be indoors or outdoors, operational all seasons of the year . . . there will also be special concerts and events throughout the year,” she said.
The restoration of the Markham Street heritage houses reimagines the street as a pedestrian-oriented avenue. The 18 restored heritage houses (of a total 24 restored heritage structures) will be home to unique restaurants, cafes, bookstores, record stores and other retailers that reflect the distinct character of the neighbourhood. The project is returning Markham Street to the vibrancy of its heyday in the 1960s, when rows of 20th century residences housing galleries and studios lined the street, and artists sold their pieces on their front lawns.
“This is where we get to be really creative and curate the area in a meaningful way,” explained Lynch. “Each home has its own unique traits and a story to tell. We’ve been actively going out to the marketplace and approaching specific brands, retailers, operators, who we feel would be a great fit for the development and for the community itself and that will draw traffic to the area.
“We’ve engaged with really unique restaurant operators, cafes, bookstores, galleries, clothing, vintage stores, health and wellness groups, and more.”
Then there’s the Main Street Retail element to the project along Bloor and Bathurst which will be curated with a mix of local and international brands and retailers. Each building façade is unique, for example, one building’s façade features and art piece by Ian Wallace as part of a large-scale, multi-artist public art program that will help Mirvish Village become one of the most interesting projects in the country.