Queen West Triangle settlement

Word has spread that the developers, the City, Artscape, and community advocates from Active 18 have come to a deal regarding the future development of the Queen West Triangle.

From Artscape who brokered part of the deal:

An innovative partnership has been forged in the Queen West Triangle between Artscape, the City of Toronto, Westside Lofts (Urbancorp) and Active 18 that will see the creation of a 56,000 square feet artist live/work project within the Westside Lofts development at 150 Sudbury Street.

The development of affordable artist live/work units within a condominium complex is a first for Toronto. The deal also represents a new self-financing model for affordable housing development that requires only a nominal public investment.

“Developers, community activists, and the City have a strong shared interested in making the Triangle as creative and dynamic as possible” said Artscape President and CEO, Tim Jones. “There is no reason why this model cannot be replicated across the city to address the decades-old problem of the displacement of artists through gentrification.”

The value of the project has been independently appraised at $19 million. Artscape will purchase the units for $8.4 million, a price that includes the cost of construction but not architectural and other soft costs, land value contributed by the City in the form of free density, or profit.

Artscape plans to create up to 70 affordable ownership and rental units. Monthly rent for a one bedroom rental unit is targeted at $725 or roughly 80% of Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s average market rent for Toronto. Unit sizes and mix will be determined after consultation with potential purchasers and renters. Construction on the project will begin in January 2008 with completion projected for early 2010.

From the Theatre Centre:

This settlement provides a wealth of benefits for the West Queen West community and ensures the continued vitality of the neighbourhood as a place where artists can live, create, and present their work.

For two years The Theatre Centre has been advocating for the adaptive reuse of the Carnegie Library as a place of cultural public assembly. This 9000 square foot building at Queen and Lisgar St. is ideally suited to become a creative community hub serving artists and audiences alike. 


  1. I sincerely hope that the name of the Library will remain, especially if Beatrice Lillie was an important person in parkdale’s history. The artist hub centre thing is really not on.

  2. Beatrice Lillie, almost forgotten now, once in a while one sees her records in yard sales. She has never really received the attention in Canada that she deserves.

  3. Thanks for posting on this Matt. The Star wrote on it today too.

    I’m glad that some artist accommodations have been made in the Triangle, and I thank Artscape and Active 18 for doing that work.

    But I’m still ambivalent about the situation in general. It feels urgent to try and ensure more affordable housing in the area for people who are not cultural workers… or cultural workers who don’t “qualify” as such. I hope this is really just a start for wider equity improvements in the area.

  4. Some might suggest that there are already avenues for lower income families to get housing (certainly not enough) but there is no program in place for cultural workers. This starts to address the needs of culture as a key part of any city’s social fabric.

    But yeah, what’s backlog for needy families: 70,000 on the City’s waiting list?

  5. Nothing will stop the gentrification of the area kicked off by the Drake and Gladstone revivals. The presure is already heading north to Dundas and College.

    We will see what this turns out to be in 10 years but one thing is for sure; there be be a lot less diversity and fewer artists in the area. I think the trend, like in the States, will find artists moving (oh my god) to the suburbs looking for space and locations they can get long leases for or buy.

    I dont think anybody came out looking very good in this process except the Active 18 group although they themselves were part of a 3ard or 4th wave of gentrification themselves since Mervin Hollander started renting warehouse space to artists on Abell and Nobel around 1981 and a few other spaces appeared on Sudbury and Dovercourt. To some extent I think that other needs in the community were overshadowed in the press as artists are not the only group in the area facing pressure.

    I wish too that instead of pushing the concept of artist enclaves that the idea that every community needs to be diverse, including working arrtists, would have received more attention.

    10 years from now, will this be the victory that some think it is ? We will see.

  6. I lived in the area for many years and I predicted the huge potential of the area when it was filled with boarded shop windows, the transformation has been amazing and it will keep happening no matter what. The place must maintain its diversity, artists shouldn’t have to move to the burbs in the search for decent affordable housing (it is a dead end place to go anyway with oil prices going up). I just can’t figure what is the notion of diversity in a neighbourhood. When I hear diversity I don’t know if people mean all kind of groups (especially artists) excluding high income earners or all kind of groups including high income earners?

  7. I want to see some gentrification further north, on Bloor between dufferin and lansdowne. Maybe Duff’s tavern or the house of lancaster can become the new drake.

  8. I would put up with the Starbucks if the Lancaster became the new Drake.

  9. Actually comparatively speaking the Lancaster is a pretty good neighbour. The real trouble spots are Duff’s and the “Kiss Cup” restaurant.

    I’m hopeful that when the new film studio opens at Lansdowne, the influx of workers will lead to some improvements in the area.

    I have the starbucks location picked out already 🙂

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