Category Archives: Beautification

What will the City’s new Zoning Bylaw Project mean for Roncesvalles?

Zoning Bylaw ProjectSpacing has been covering the progress of the City’s new Zoning Bylaw Project, an effort to harmonize the City’s 43 existing zoning bylaws into one. The discussion is technical and complicated, but its results will affect all new development in the City once passed.

Today, Spacing examines the section of the draft bylaw covering Commercial/Residential, the section governing main streets outside the downtown core such as Roncesvalles.

The BIA urges the community to keep informed about the Zoning Bylaw Project. The City has set up a consultation portal, including an interactive map showing how each area is currently zoned.

Stay awesome, Roncesvalles!

More than a month after heavy machinery rolled onto Roncesvalles, our community seems to be taking the disruption in stride. While plenty of grumbles are heard in local coffee shops, the fact that these grumblings are actually taking place in the coffee shops suggests that the noise and rubble (and the occasional mental image of a giant fireball of death) are not scaring away customers. Indeed, the disruption has become an ideal way of starting a conversation, at least until December when the construction pauses, and we can begin grumbling about the cold Toronto winter instead.

Amidst the grumbles, some folks are actually having fun with the reconstruction. Like the people in Uxbridge, who decided to turn their reconstruction into a  local attraction, some Roncesvalles residents seem to be quite enjoying themselves. Parents can be seen snapping pictures of the massive pits, while their kids gawk at the mighty machines. And blogger Daddy-O snapped the work of some anonymous local artist or artists who turned the rubble pile into sculpture overnight.

Sukha Health SpaAnd some enterprising merchants see opportunity in the disruption, such as the clever folks at Sukha Health Spa (right) who are offering tired souls a chance to de-stress from all the mess. They understand that a positive attitude is good business.

And while our community is remarkably free of whining, a new “Shop Local” campaign shows what truly loyal and supportive customers we have.

Other business areas have launched Shop Local campaigns during reconstructions before, such as the taxpayer-funded campaigns along St. Clair (which have been somewhat undermined by a recent lawsuit whose success depends on convincing people that the reconstruction is a disaster).

But ours is the only Shop Local campaign we know of that was conceived, developed and implemented by the community itself.  Those new posters are the result of volunteer work by our own customers, who understand the neighbourhood’s need for a healthy and successful main street. Local designer Richard Peachey created the poster, and volunteers from Roncesvalles Renewed are distributing them to every business and to homes in the neighbourhood. This is truly amazing, and we are deeply grateful for such generosity.

The BIA would like to thank Mary Wiens, Martha Goodings, Veronica Feihl, Richard Peachey and all the hard-working volunteers at Roncesvalles Renewed. And thanks to all our great customers who have not let the disruption prevent them from enjoying the best street in Toronto! With your support our street will survive and thrive during this reconstruction, with our good humour and positive spirits intact.

Stay awesome, Roncesvalles!

Public Meeting: Roncesvalles Construction Design – June 27 – CANCELLED

Update: Gord Perks has confirmed that this meeting will be cancelled due to the strike. More info to come.

The latest preliminary streetscape concepts are available for viewing. The BIA urges all businesses and community members to examine the PDFs of the sidewalk plan (part one is the southern half, and part two is the north), and please let the BIA know how the plan can be made the best possible. Where are the opportunities for new trees, benches, lighting or bike parking? How can crosswalks be made the safest possible? How can the transit stops be made inviting and attractive? Where else can the plan be improved? You can email us at

More information on the Roncesvalles reconstruction project is available here and here.

Roncesvalles Renewed Walking Tour June 6

The transformation of Roncesvalles will begin this summer and continue in 2010. A number of broad decisions have now been passed by Toronto City Council with regards to the width of the street, transit platforms and other features. The next step will be to convene in a design charette to provide input to the city on specific design details. Gord Perks will be organizing this session shortly.

In preparation for this, the Roncesvalles Renewed team is inviting you to participate in a walk up Roncesvalles to look at the broad plan and to develop ideas for input to the city. We will meet at the Grafton Parkette, at the bottom of Roncesvalles on the east side at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday June 6. We will walk up the street with a map of the new features, aiming to discuss the

following areas:

– Tree location

– Street furniture

– Transit platform design

– Lighting

– Crosswalks

– Bumpouts at intersections

– And whatever else might come up that is consistent with the overall plan.

We hope to see you there. If you are not able to make it, please contact us at with your thoughts.