By MES (Planning) first year student Anthony Dionigi 

Featured in the March-April 2014 edition of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) Journal

On Friday November 22, 2013, Junction Triangle resident and award winning documentary filmmaker Scott Dobson led a group of planning students from various universities on a walking tour of the Junction Triangle neighbourhood of Toronto. The neighbourhood’s uniqueness is embodied in its industrial past, and owes its name to the three rail corridors which outline its triangular shape.

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(Photo credit: Anthony Dionigi)

With deindustrialization, the Junction Triangle underwent significant transformations, allowing the neighbourhood to become an attractive cornerstone of West Toronto. In celebration of this year’s 30th Canadian Association of Planning Students (CAPS) Conference theme “Transformations,” the walk focused on various changes taking shape in the Junction Triangle. This is evident in shifting development patterns, remediation of brownfield lands, adaptive reuse, and new transportation infrastructure such as the Union Pearson Express, and the extension of the West Toronto Railpath. The Railpath extension is part of a foundational network of bike trails that links non-motorized commuters to the downtown core alongside the Georgetown South rail corridor.

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(Photo credit: Anthony Dionigi)

The tour began at the corner of Sterling Road and Dundas Street West and headed north along the Railpath. Students were immediately halted at the optical scale of the old Tower Automotive Building left derelict and waiting to be revived into The Sterling Lofts. The area south of Bloor St. and north of Dundas St. W., has undergone extensive land remediation with plans for future mixed use development.  The proposed redevelopment has caused a contestation of space for the existing industrial land occupant Nestlé Canada, who have coexisted with residents for years.

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(Photo credits: Anthony Dionigi)

Passing the historic Wallace Avenue Bridge allowed the group to reimagine the once industrial elements of the neighbourhood. On the final leg of the tour students examined the hollowed out shell of the former Wallace Avenue Methodist Church currently undergoing conversion into a LEED Platinum residential building – Union Lofts.

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(Photo credit: Matthew Boscariol)

Ending the walk with a warm drink from Café Con Leche, inspired diverse conversations amongst planning students and urban experts. Introducing students to the various historical exhibits and transformations within the Junction Triangle, proved to be an experience that cultivated a foundation in planning in one of Toronto’s most unique historical neighbourhoods.

For more information on CAPS Walks check out the CAPS-ACÉAU website here