Bloor Dundas Condo - Giraffe Living (Tas Design)

Im sure you have walked past the site (old Joe Mercury) when going to Dundas West station.

But looks like they are renovating the old building and setting up a registration office with showrooms for potential condo buyers. Looks like this project is in full swing.

The area just got a lot busier, and so much for OMB. Looks like City Of Toronto has overlooked the neighborhoods objections (TTC included).

Very unfortunate as I was present at the Town Hall Meeting, and heard 1st hand the problems this condo will bring in the surrounding area and the intersection itself.



1540 Blooe Decision.pdf175.93 KB

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What's next for Bloor and Dundas site

Apparently the site has been sold by TAS (their Giraffe project was rejected).

Would be great to know what's next...



Hey Nick,

Did you happen to hear who they sold it to?

I'm also curious about what will happen there. That building just continues to fall into further disrepair.

-Vic this is who they sold it too. Rumor has it, they are looking to buy out some of the other stores/houses west of the "Giraffe" building..

Indeed it looks like they are

Indeed it looks like they are renovating the old building and setting up a registration office with showrooms for potential condo buyers. I hope the change bring up a lot of difference. Thanks a lot for the info and details.

Local Building makes "Ugly" List

BlogTO chose the building at the south west corner of Bloor and Dundas as one of the ugliest in the city. No argument from me.

Here is another example of

Here is another example of the stunning design by Teeple who came up with the Giraffe.

It would have been nice to have a showcase building by Teepe, slowly becoming one of the best firms in the world, near us. Too bad that TAZ didnt use their brain when considering the access.

Its also too bad that the Church on Wallace failed in their first attempt to sell their church; Teeple would have been the firm on that too.

Speaking of brains, whatever happened to Gord "transportation and intensification" Perks? Maybe he will be running in Etobicoke next time. : )

yes, the design was one of

yes, the design was one of the best I have seen in TO and beyond, I was initially excited to see change happen on that intersection, and better yet a very interesting GREEN, showpiece of a building, I too have heard from many people who hated it ONLY because they didn't like the design or similar, boring is the Bebloor & ugly is the Crossroads, this would have been much better appearance and a needed lift for the areas skyline.
It is the same thing that hold even the best be it: ideas, innovations, corporations, gov't or what ever, - peoples high resistance to change, if it ain't broke don't fix it, leave well enough alone
forget about beautification, betterment, common sense etc

I understand the issue of the height and the setbacks and all that, but perhaps TODAY this section of Bloor is an Avenue but what will it be as TO continues to emerge..? not to mention it is a major transit hub (TTC/GO) one of the few where they intersect and a transit hub that is waiting to happen as more people move away from cars. Not to mention the cross roads with two of Canada's most recognized streets......, the thought that the owners of the PriceChopper/SDM plot were also watching this development to plan their own is precisely the point I am making, lack of vision ... they built that suburban style complex just a few years ago which should have been some type of low/mid or maybe even highrise containing those services below, for them to think about it now only means they will destroy something that is only a few years old, which will likely end up in a landfill or dump, poisoning the environment to build what they should have done 7-8yrs ago...

To me considering what services already exist on that intersection, and the fact that the city is growing quickly - which is a good thing, we as tax payers should also be trying to find cost efficient ways to welcome our new citywide neighbours who will also benefit from the services that have already consumed our tax dollars or our fare increases (TTC), instead of spending billions more to fund rapid transit serving suburban areas we are intensifying TODAY while contributing to more sprawl and consumption of green space.

We have areas like this that should be intensified because the services (TTC/GO/Bike trail etc) are there, they will not cost millions - billions to make more planned density and the need to fund rapid transit to serve the new residents (like the huge humber bay/south Etobicoke or Sherway Gardens areas etc).

We have some gifted & talented designers out there, why make it easier for them to develop in wide open areas like the ones mentioned, then scratch our heads trying to decide where the money will come to bring services to the new residents who will occupy them.
Versus, we have already funded those services in specific areas (sometimes underutilized) and yet make it difficult for the developers who wish to develop in those very areas to get the green light,
further, these developers are also helping us to maximize, monetize and fully utilize our publicly funded investments (TTC/GO/WTRP) before we have to invest more elsewhere, we are doing it to our selves

These are just my thoughts about what is wrong with those who are short sighted with good development and what is wrong with the City Planners, the intersection of Dundas & Bloor is not an Avenue it is a Centre, a West Toronto Centre with amenities, it will qualify as such if people would see it as such

It's tough to make eveyone

It's tough to make eveyone happy but it's like someone posted before. The people who are against it will show up to the meetings and voice their opinion. The pros will just sit back and wait for it to be built. I wonder what the builder plans now.

Dead Giraffe is even deader now

Ward 14 Councillor Gord Perks just posted an updated to his website:

More good news re 1540 Bloor Street (The Giraffe Building). The OMB upholds the earlier ruling.

In a letter addressed to our City Solicitors, the Executive Vice Chair of the OMB refused the request for a review of the OMB decision dated March 9, 2010. The March decision refused the re-zoning request to permit a 27 storey building on the site at the north west corner of Bloor Street West and Dundas Street West intersection. Accordingly, the OMB decision remains in force and effect.

This OMB Decision and letter of July 30, 2010 are in accord with the Council direction on this matter, which directed the City Solicitor and appropriate staff to attend the Ontario Municipal Board hearing of the owner’s appeal, to oppose the current applications and to advise that Board that City Council’s position is that any redevelopment of the site at 1540 Bloor Street West must comply with the zoning by-law implementing the Bloor-Dundas Avenue Study.

This is indeed a step in the right direction. There are some legal procedures that our Solicitors and the Developer need to resolve, my office will keep you posted along the way.

Attached is a copy of the decision for your reference: OMB 2010-07- 30

Baby Giraffe? Well, after

Baby Giraffe?

Well, after watching some of this unfold, I have to say that it is a tremendous diasppointment that the Giraffe has been stunted. I can't imagine what better thing could happen to that intersection- something unique and interesting and a beacon to boot- perhaps it might have been a catalyst to inspire some other creative ideas for the area, or simply to have been a fresh injection of life and intrigue in an otherwise drab crossroads. Too bad.....could have been really neat.

Hopefully Girafe comes back

Hopefully Girafe comes back with a new design.

The design was awesome. It

The design was awesome. It was the access that was the only real issue. All the other complaints were really about people not liking change.

Intensification and Planning - moved to new forum

Hi everyone,

I moved the conversations about general planning/intensification issues into their own forum. Let's continue to use this forum for Giraffe / Dundas+Bloor conversations, the other forum from the general intensification topics.

Value Village

The huge and prime parcel of land that the Blansdowne Value Village sits on. Does anyone know if after Value Village's lease runs out, will the land be developed? And if so, what would be appropriate for the land, tall towers, or townhomes, etc?
Does anyone know when Value Village's lease runs out?

Editor's Note: I posted this as its own forum topic here. Please post replies in that forum.

I agree with you on some points

Hillary, the only place where the word NIMBY appears was in your letter.

I agree with you on some points and I also think that some people have opposed this for the wrong reasons whether it be self-interest, fear, or resistance to change.You may not like that but maybe being removed a bit gives some sense of context that being in the middle doesn't.

You have more faith in official plans and by-laws than most. Explain how 351 Wallace got built in violation of the OP. The City caved is how it got built because at the end of the day they did not want to spend money at the OMB fighting the wharehousing of people but instead wanted to fight tall buildings at transit hubs. Show me how this proves the system works. Lets see if the money train continues as developer after developer appeals for exemptions in our general area and they will. Why, because the vacant land or properties that could be redeveloped are too valuable. Our provincial government is about to drop a few billion dollars partially in our area creating a transit hub at Bloor and links up at St. Clair which will create even greater pressure for intensification in the surrounding area. Who runs the OMB ? Put two and two together. Throw in a city that is desperate for cash and we will see how strong these by-laws are.

In terms of Gord Perks, his comments to some extent were idiotic populist pap. You can say whatever you want about the Giraffe but "cookie cutter condo" is not one of them unless you want to play to the home crowd. Reviews of the building from a design point of view were unanimously filled with praise for originality. I thought Gord was above pandering but not so.

There are many people like your self who have informed views on this issue and I know that we agree on some things and dont on others but I have great respect for all the hours and research you have done. I can also say that I have talked to some residents in the area who were running around with their heads cut off like the Giraffe was the end of civilization as we know it seemingly with no knowledge of how much better the west end is from what it was even 20 years ago. I had to sit and listen to people lecture me about how bad the Giraffe would be when I know that they havent got out of their car and walked anywhere in their hood for years and never shop in the area and dont know anything about the history of the area. Maybe the Bloor stretch would not be DEAD (or at least more alive) if they cared as much about it as suddenly they have: People who didnt care about Metrolinx and how that will physically affect the area and their precious home prices and instead got all ruddy faced about one tall building that will probably do more to revive that corner and create green living than anything that has happened on that corner in 40 years. More than a few said they were against it because they did not like the way it looked.

There are tall buildings next to homes at Kipling and Islington and they seem to be ok. There is more street life there than ever. At 6 points there is a major redevelopment, probably more to your liking but they have the space. Intensification in the more downtown areas requires that you build up, there is no other solution and being near transit hubs makes all the sense in the world. Its the way things are going to go and would be better to embrace it and work with it than fear it.

I want to save a special section for the Crossways: it doesnt mean anything except how not to develop a corner. The setback that people talk about actually works against the building, corralling it off from the streetscape and making sure that it is never integrated with the community. Setbacks on dense properties are bad for busy urban corners. The Crossways proves this.

I agree with you about access and I think the developer made a tactical and design error by not buying at least two more properties but many people who went to the meetings had no problem with the actual design or height. They were drowned out. On the east side we have seen how even a boring building like BeBloor is bringing life to a very neglected strip of town and most people in our area would welcome the intensification and life that something like Giraffe could bring to Bloor. Its only a matter of time before the houses along Bloor, many already with that waiting for development look, are redeveloped and there will be many views on that but most people I have talked with welcome it including tall buildings. At the end of the day I personally believe that tall building should be built to intensify street corners near transit hubs and that it is the green and responsible thing to do while bringing life to a street. Everything I have seen and read tells me this is the today, tomorrow, and future of cities.


Scott, I was in part reacting to your reference to NIMBYs in your own post (March 17, 12:48 pm). You gave that as a reason for not participating in the design charrette (for the Avenue Study); otherwise, I would not have used the term as I think it is an unhelpful generalization that can include a very wide range of reasons for opposing a development. Yes, some people were a bit hysterical but that doesn't mean there was not a solid case for the city's position.

Here are few other responses to your post:

On the matter of the Crossways and setbacks - In planning terms, there is no setback. The Crossways is built out to the property line and that is generally the standard for buildings like that. It does, however, have a stepback. That is, after rising up from the property line, it steps back after four storeys. The point that I think you are trying to make is the above-grade access to the building, which creates an unfriendly frontage. This also happens at other locations on Bloor (both above and below grade access was a bad habit a couple of decades ago and is partly the result of unimaginative ways of addressing changes in the topography and underpasses). The new Avenue By-law based on the Avenue Study requires at-grade access on new development.

I haven't followed 351 Wallace closely, so I am unable to comment on the Planning Department's handling of that application, with respect to deciding whether to go to the OMB. However, I know that with 1638 Bloor (at Indian Road), the planners were looking for nothing above 10 storeys but decided not to go to the OMB to fight an application for 12 storeys. The planner was opposed to 12 storeys because he predicted that it would set a precedent that would lead to a relative imbalance between the north side of Bloor and the south side of Bloor. (It is very easy to achieve the 45 degree angular plane at the rear of the properties on the north side of Bloor owing to the separation distance from the neighbourhood created by the subway tracks which are very wide along this stretch of Bloor because of the Vincent Yards maintenance tracks. The commercial properties on the south side are separated only by a laneway from the neighbourhood and the 45 degree angular plane is pierced by anything over four storeys, so the south side can only accommodate six storeys, even with a rear stepback after four storeys. The developer had filed an appeal. However, given the odds of winning an argument at the OMB over two storeys and given the stretched resources at the planning department, we all met with the developer and architect and achieved some design concessions on the building to reinforce the cornice line and stepbacks and the OMB appeal was settled prior to a hearing. As I say, I don't know the case at 351 Wallace but it is often the case in negotiated compromises that do not make it to a hearing that the city does get something back even when it concedes on points it does not like. I would like to see the city give Planning a much bigger budget but the city's financial straitjacket is outside the scope of this message.

With respect o Kipling and Islington. Maybe you are not as familiar with the OP as I am after sitting through many, many, many design charrettes and public consultations! So I am just going to gently remind you that Bloor Street, around Islington and Kipling is NOT designated as an "Avenue" in the OP. In this section, Bloor Street is a "Centre" (indicated in red on the OP) and that means that the plan permits tall buildings there. That's why they are builkding them there - because they are allowed and as of right under the plan. Bloor-Dundas is an Avenue, not a Centre, therefore, in general, we will see mid-rise, not high-rise.

With respect to the Giraffe design. I agree that it was not originally a cookie cutter design and even when TAS made changes to hit a lower price point, it was still not bad. I am all in favour of buildings that are contemporary. But the site was too small to allow any transition to the west. On the Dundas frontage, it had a more-or-less sheer vertical plane (again, no space for any stepbacks on the eastern face) making for a very unpleasant pedestrian environment. The building had problems being in that location.

On the mobility hub (as Metrolinx calls it). Yes, Metrolinx thinks that Dundas West/Bloor could be a mobility hub. On paper, it looks promising, since a rail corridor crosses a subway line. However, there are substantial impediments. On the physical impediment side, the TTC has a four-track maintenance tunnel on the south side of the station, so it is currently impossible to create an underground linkage (for example, from 1540 Bloor). It is true that the platforms run east under the Crossways (I think at level 2 of the underground parking) but the Crossways has shown no interest in allowing access through their building. Let's face it, it would cost them a lot of money to make internal changes to realize any returns. The cost-benefit calculation just doesn't make sense, especially as their shopping area is already well above grade. Apart from the phsical impediments, there is very little interchange on the part of passengers. Fewer than 100 people a day get off the current GO Georgetown and even fewer get on. Some of the people who get off work in the Crossways, so they don't transfer to the subway at all. Metrolinx will be studying the options for connection soon, but I am not expecting anything earthshaking (more like a overground walkway along the south side of the used car lot). The projected numbers for the mobility hub in The Big Move are very heavily contingent on the building of the Downtown Relief Line - I'm not holding my breath on that one, especially since the province just halved the funding for Transit City.


Nicely put Scott, I will be

Nicely put Scott, I will be moving to the BOB once they get done. What will happen with the developer and that corner now?

I really dont know. The

I really dont know. The developer of BOB held on to large swaths of land around here for years and years without suffering any pain that I am aware of and Gliden who has a tentative deal to sell 371 Wallace (north side) sat on that land for 15 years before deciding to sell it. Property owners can carry a loss and hold land a long time; or at least until the political winds change. Right now many land owners in our area are waiting for the (poorly conceived) Employment Lands zoning by-law to come up for renewal. They are betting it will be changed or scrapped altogether. I have talked about it here before but nobody is going to build a new factory at 371 Wallace in a congested city were costs including wages are higher. It would make more sense to have a mix of residential and business including some live/work space for designers/photographers/etc (who wont need to drive to work) or software firms and of course the developer would make more money. I would guess that the new owner of 371 Wallace is going to wait it out. The overall point is that developers can out wait politicians and residents and if they cant they sell to another developer.

The corner of Bloor and Dundas is very valuable especially as the entire area is going through a revival. Don't underestimate how things like the new LCBO south of the corner or the future airport link/GO station, or Railpath stage 2 will make this a desirable spot. There will be a lot of pressures to intensify that corner coming from the real estate market and the province (who see intensification as part of their green belt strategy).

Predictions....hmmmm. I don't think this is over. I think that given Steven Teeples record of bold designs I could see TAZ quietly buying up a few more properties and sweetening the pot by incorporating the cash starved TTC (Dundas West) into their plans. It would be hard to say no to a plan that benefits the TTC and transit in general. A few more properties would solve their access problems. Even if a new developer buys it there will still be access issues so I tend to think whoever has that corner will go big.I also think (hope) that the south west corner, one of the ugliest in the city, looks prime for a tear down and intensification of some sort. I agree with Hilary that the east side of Dundas is the new gateway to the Junction and will be developed (I feel) rapidly. I wonder if Price Chopper owns the land to the south where the used car place is.

There are many places in this city where people will spend 800,000 dollars to live in a house next to a tall building such as the Yonge/Eglington and High Park as examples. And those are residential side streets like Erskine and Broadway Avenues and Pacific and Quebec respectively. Nobody has lost money owning one of those homes.You are seeing intensification along Bloor at Highpark and at Bloor and Keele. The number of stories for the Giraffe is consistent with other intensification along Bloor and with existing examples I have mentioned. The old way of thinking with tall buildings in giant open spaces such as seen in East Toronto has been discredited and they are now filling in those spaces with low to mid height build form. I sure would love to see some new life at Bloor and Perth, near my home.

Dog Park

As an aside, at least the property at NW end of Wallace will make a great dog park until they decide what to do with property development!

Giraffe condo OMB decision

Having represented the West Bend Community Association on the LAC for the Avenue Study, I don't really understand the postings here about residents being motivated by NIMBY-ism and fear of change. Throughout the process, from the Bloor Visioning workshops to the OMB hearing itself, I would say the majority of residents support intensification around Bloor-Dundas. No-one really thinks that the strip malls (Midas, 7/11) and parking-focused sites (Shoppers/Price Chopper, Loblaws/Zellers) on Bloor and Dundas are defensible or desirable. We all know they will be intensified and that's a good thing.

Given that understanding, there is room for legitimate disagreement over what built form should be used to achieve intensification. Should density be piled up on a few corners (as in The Crossways Complex and the Giraffe proposal) or should it be distributed more evenly across many sites? In the Official Plan, in place as a defining policy document for about 10 years now, the Avenues (including Bloor and Dundas) are targeted for intensification through a mainly mid-rise built form (the distributed density model), while the Downtown and the three Centres accommodate tall buildings (the more concentrated density model). One may disagree with the OP but this isn't a new concept; yet the developer decided to take on the OP and the Planning Department, instead of coming in with a project that would be a better fit for this tight site. Obviously, they thought they could make a case, but on the evidence presented at the hearing, their case proved to be much weaker than the city's case and they lost. Given the weight of evidence, it would have been surprising if the verdict had gone the other way.

No-one who lives in the neighbourhood can be happy that we will have to live with what may be a derelict site for some time to come but approving this application - which, I must point out, was also an appeal against the new Avenue By-law - would have undermined the intent of the by-law across the entire study area. During the hearing, we heard for the first time that the owner of the Shoppers/Price Chopper site had come in with a concept for two tall (20+-storeys) towers. If the Giraffe appeal had been successful, I'm sure this application would have come back, citing the Giraffe precedent, and other applications for other sites may well have followed. For developers and for residents, having a new by-law with as-of-right zoning provides a more stable development environment. Everyone knows what's allowed and we don't have to go on a site-by-site basis. That doesn't mean that developers won't ask for variances here and there but we expect to see less of that.

What Next

What will Giraffe (TASdesigns) do now?

short-sided, no vision...

perks is just another politician who doesn't want to upset the voters. maybe his stance would've been difference if it was dec 2010, and already re-ected.

why does this neighbourhood oppose everything? why do residents feel the need work against the planning process, instead of with it?

well, good luck with that corner...maybe another coffee time or payday loan store can open up and you'll all be happy.

Clumsy Populist

The planning meetings do not exactly attract a representative cross section of the community. People who hate proposed changes are far more motivated to show up. Even then, many people at the meetings about the Giraffe project have been supportive.
We will see what happens but I hope we don't end up watching the existing building decay. The FODB used the building on the South West corner as a positive example but I think it has to be the ugliest building in the city - probably in the universe.
When you manage to get a good architect working on a project, it makes sense to me to show some respect for that.

Perks is playing the populist here

"‘You can't take the big-buck, easy-way, cookie-cutter development and throw a condo tower on every corner. You actually have to think about the neighbourhood where you're building.'” Says Perks.

Giraffe was hardly a fast buck cookie cutter condo, it was 100% the opposite. Perks is playing the populist here as many people didnt like the building because it wasnt a bland cookie cutter condo like the one at Glen Lake. There used to be metal foundries only a few years ago along Dundas that spewed dangerous fumes and people still lived there. I guess that was not as scary as a new condo at a transit hub. And nobody seems to complain about the Shoppers with the giant parking lot that attracts tons of car traffic to the area. Funny how selective people can be about what is good planning.

Hilary Bells concerns are good ones and I dont understand why the developer didnt buy one more building to give them more room; it seems so obvious. I agree there has to be a way for a high quality game changing development to happen at that corner. If the Giraffe wants to move a bit east I would welcome it.

I am really disappointed that

I am really disappointed that they wouldn't at least offer some sort of variance that would approve a reasonable height; reasonable being one that would not negatively impact the character of the intersection & community, but one that would still make the the site attractive to the developer.
Why is it always a conversation about what doesn't work rather than what could work?

May Be A Hollow Victory

As always I find myself not agreeing with the OMB. Corners of major intersections near TTC and a future transit GO hub is exactly where tall buildings should go.

I would agree that it was too high and there were serious traffic/walker issues with the entrance but I hope they dont walk away or sell off so we get a fourth ugly building on that corner. That area needs some energy and revitalization.

Some will call this a victory but I may turn out to be a hollow one.

Giraffe: Overruled by OMB

This email is from Councillor Gord Perks' office:

Hello All,

Excellent news, we won at the OMB for 1540 Bloor Street West! Here is the summary of the decision:

"In the final analysis, the proposed structure of 92.5 metres in height at over 16
times coverage is simply too large for the site and inappropriate for the area. In my
opinion, it is not consistent with the findings and recommendations of the Avenue Study,
it does not conform with the City OP and it does not represent good planning.
Based on all of the foregoing therefore, the proposed development is not
approved and accordingly, the Developer's appeal is dismissed."

This represents a huge victory for all the community members who put so much volunteer time into opposing this development - you know who you are. I think we might want to organize a little event to celebrate and acknowledge some local heros. I'll be in touch with more on that soon.

Please find attached the report from the OMB.


Gord Perks
City Councillor
Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park

Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West
2nd Floor, Suite A14
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2

Giraffe update

From the Daily Commercial news and Construction Record:

Toronto, Metro Toronto Reg ON NEGOTIATED/PLANNING
Giraffe Condos, 1540 Bloor St, Dundas St, M6P 1A4
$50,000,000 est

Note: Owner is finalizing site plan approvals. Owner is seeking City Council rezoning and development approvals. Sales and marketing are on hold. The rezoning and development approvals have been forwarded to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Sales and marketing are underway. Schedules for Working drawings, Invitation of a Const Mgr and Sub trades and construction will be set based on occupancy and final OMB approvals. Further update early Spring, 2010.

Project: energy Star Appliances; proposed construction of a 29 storey condominium building with 300 suites and retail and amenity space at grade level. There will be a two storey amenity area featuring a Party Room, Lounge, Fitness Room, Sun Deck, Outdoor BBQ; 24/7 concierge; 8,000 sq ft roof garden; 60/40 glass to stone ratio. Owner will seek a Silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

Scope: 375,000 square feet; 29 storeys; 2 storeys below grade; 300 units; 6 acres

Development: New

Category: Apartment bldgs

Link found via the Urban Toronto forums.


Looks like it"s been appealed to the Board. Case PL090733.

Giraffe Living

I was wondering if anyone had any news about the development. I dont see much bodies going through there, except the occasional RE agent.

I wonder if the economy has slowed down their aspirations to build the Giraffe....

Please post if you have any news on this development.


Giraffe in The Globe

The Globe & Mail has an article about this project today:

Giraffe Receives Good Reviews

The Giraffe building received 2 good reviews in the Globe today.

This again bolsters the argument that the Giraffe, with its cutting edge design, will make Dundas and Bloor a destination instead of a "drab urban corner" and lead the way from cookie cutter glass box design.

Not everything happens in public

Most of the development process happens out of public view and always has. The City and developers like to limit public involvement as it speeds up the process and getting everybody to agree on something is often not possible. The public legally has little standing in the development process due to the proxy of zoning. We all know in our hearts that people don't like change and if there is total public involvement nothing would get built. In the case of the St.Clair ROW, it is almost built, but there are a minority of people who just cannot accept it and continue to fight on. The public often fails to realize that they are not the centre of the process but just a part.

It really comes down to how much the City wants to pressure the developer to make changes or give something back. The TTC connection is something I suspect that the developer is holding back as a chip to trade with the City in trade for other zoning concessions. In terms of trees on Edna that kind of deal is done all the time and people would be foolish to not try to make that happen.

By Toronto standards the building is not that high and would sit in exactly the spot people are supposed to build tall things. Thats just where the future is.

I agree with you whole heartedly about driveway access issues and have written the City a lengthy letter about my concerns and a connection through the building would make many of these concerns go away. I should also add that since the Harris years and Amalgamation the City Planning dept. has been understaffed and asleep. The problem is that people only get interested when it affects them and what really is needed is improvements in the overall operation of the dept. including the a faster and more detailed process of making documents available to residents online. And less feel good charettes and visioning sessions that don't have any legal baring.

Giraffe Living

I was at the meeting so guess I am one these "Dreamers" you are referring to. I've grownup in this area and decided to buy a house and stay in the area for another generation.

I do like the idea of the condo, but not at its current size. Its like the developer is trying to cram in as many units as they can fit onto Joe Merc's corner. Does the building really need to be that tall? Can we not have what you visualize in your write-up with a smaller building?

As for the developer I am not sure how much they are keeping the community in the loop, this was a major concern in the meeting. Also, the traffic was a concern among pedestrians and the TTC streetcars and Buses due to their driveway being connected to Dundas West.

They have back pedaled twice now as to their driveway off of Dundas: They proposed time restrictions when it can be accessed. Also, during these restrictions they will have cars exiting (one way only) out the back alley way. Other busniess'es along Bloor need to access the Alleyway for deliveries as well, how will this work? with Giraffe residents needing access as well. Also, the no left turn restrictions in the intersection will make it difficult for Giraffe residents and will redirect traffic through residential streets to access the building. Im hoping most people will not have cars since its on the subway, but that is usually not the case - condo owners do own cars and the designated 12 spots for visitors and business customers are not enough. It only encourages condo buyers with cars.

The biggest problem which I have is that they refused to even discuss access to the TTC through their building. This would benefit both the public and their building, especially retail. Can you imagine if the crossways was connected to the subway? The business vendors in there would flourish. Also, this would take pedestrians off the street making it easier for residences to access the street using the driveway which intersects the sidewalk.

I like the design, but its way to grand in size and scope. Good Luck getting these guys to plant trees on Edna, they showed their true colours at the Town Hall Meeting back in spring and thats maximizing profit - simple math: more units = more money.


Giraffe will bring area back to life

I think this building will be the best thing to happen in the area for a long time. I have some concerns about traffic and have voiced them but if there ever was a corner in need of help this is it. It was evident to me at the meetings that most of the opponents live in a dream world until something effected them they had never bothered to look much further than then end of their yard in terms of being involved. I of course exclude Hillary Bell and her feisty group from that generalization.

The so-called City Planning Department can have all the meetings in the world and Avenue studies galore which makes residents feel better but doesn't really change much in the development process. Acting after a submission is presented for development is generally too late. Astute residents will note how the City gets vague about changes to this development because the City has very little power to force changes and has almost no money to pay for an OMB challenge (which the City looses pretty much most of the time). So instead the City has planning meetings where residents from every part of the city ask for essentially the same thing. And the reality is that ALL residents want the same lovely things for THEIR area but expect density, arterial roads, and box stores (that they all use) to be in backyard of SOMEBODY ELSE. In a way I say to residents who are upset about the Giraffe development "Welcome to the reality of downtown living in 2008".

Here are a few areas that I think need a reality check.

Density and intensification. Everybody in the world agrees that we need to do this to keep cities healthy and reduce the amount of cars on the road. Could there be a better location than this on a subway line ? Near grocery stores and activities that are a short walk away? This corner is the poster child for what modern downtown living will become. Anybody who thinks that they can live 3 blocks from a main transit hub in a city and that nobody will put a tall building on the corner has seemingly failed to notice about 1000 other corners in the same city. This is how cities build and this is where tall building go.

The Giraffe doesn't "fit in" with the area character. First off, has anybody looked at the other 3 crappy corners featuring 3 of the ugliest buildings in the city? If anything the Giraffe will actually be an improvement. Its about time that the corner had a world class building on it to make the corner a destination. And when people talk about fitting in they seem to forget that into the 1970's that corner had industry and a gas station among other things and a bit further back stretches of Bloor were just long billboards. Areas change and "fitting in" is often more of an attempt to thwart the new under the guise of protecting the old; an "old" that exists often more in myth than reality. See below.

The Giraffe will hurt parking and business and somehow hurt Bloor Street. HELLO ...Bloor Street IS dead already. Maybe if more locals used it instead of driving to Bloor West Village it might have stayed alive. I bet I shop along that stretch more than most and it needs a revitalized anchor and an increase of residents to kick start it back and make it a destination instead of a few wonderful survivors and a slew of ever changing others. Crossways killed street life east of Dundas but Giraffe has the ability to create vibrant street level activity and the traffic that can support businesses. This strip needs help. Screw parking, walk.

Access to TTC and GO. THis was a never a problem before but for some mysterious reason it now is. This IS one area that probably the City and residents can get some kind of control over and tying it in with the Giraffe will only make that corner more vibrant. This is a bargaining chip and both sides know it and talk about it.

Sunlight. This is not as big of a problem as people make it out to be. If residents on Edna were smart they would try to get the developer to pay for trees and landscaping on Edna to block the TTC and the horrid nighttime lighting (that they have put up with for decades) in exchange for the brief period of time they may be in the shade due to the Giraffe. Thats who planning actually works and I think that TAz would go for it.

So in conclusion the reality is that change is going to happen and people have to get over it. Considering how many crappy things get built in the city I feel excited that a modern original building with green credentials and an artsy vibe is being built in my hood right where it should be built. This project reflects what smart design and planning is now and I hope they can make some improvements on the design and traffic flow so it is even better. In 30 years when I want to downsize Giraffe would be exactly the kind of place I will look to buy. Right in the thick of things.

Giraffe will bring this ara back to life

Thank you Scott for your view points. It's refreshing to read a "trueful" analysis of this exciting new development. I couldn't have said it better myself! BTW - where were you during the community meetings?...could have used your input in the mostly one-sided (against development) discussions.



Tas Building was cutting edge

I was at all the meetings. There were people for it but the NIMBY's far outnumbered others so I did not go to the design charette. I would repeat though that there were people (including me) who had some very valid concerns about access. For me the actual building was the best point.

Giraffe / Bloor-Dundas

I mostly agree with Scott on this issue as well, though I wouldn't go so far as to say that the area is "dead".

Bloor and Dundas is definitely one of the most sensible places in Toronto to increase density, both commercial and residential. The TTC service, GO Transit (which may be increased to every 15 minutes service if Metrolinx has their way!), many amenities closeby, etc. I say, bring it on! More people will make the local businesses more viable.

I have also spoken up to the City about my concerns with CAR access to the Giraffe building. The idea of having that driveway cross Dundas St. right next to the Subway station is NOT a good one. Not sure what the good alternatives are though. I hope they can work something out.

The really unfortunate thing about pretty much any public consultation I have ever been to is that every issue always seems to boil down to CARS and not people. Everyone seems to want to drive everywhere, and people able to park their cars near their destinations (preferably for free!). But at the same time, they don't want more car traffic in their own neighbourhoods and nobody taking up their own parking spaces. Nobody wants more cars, pollution, congestion, and noise from cars, but want to drive everywhere.

I hope that we can more people in the Dundas and Bloor area, but maybe with a better car-free or car-light focus than what most developments have been targetting.

Giraffes in the 'hood

This letter from Councillor Gord Perks this morning should clear things up a little:

Good morning,

You are receiving this email because you have asked to be put on my mailing list for either the 1540 Bloor St West development, the 1638-1650 Bloor St West development, or the Bloor Visioning Sessions.

I understand from speaking with some of you that a sales office for 1540 Bloor Street West has been erected at the former Joe Mercury's site.

It's my understanding that a sales office is a completely legal use that only needs permits (it does not need sign off from planning staff or approvals from City Council). Interestingly enough, after speaking with planning staff I have come to find out that in various areas of the City, developers have erected sales offices prior to an application being submitted.

Here is the latest update on the 1540 development: my office hasn't heard from the developer's team in quite some time - the last meeting we had with them was our 1540 Working Group session meeting (comprised of selected residents, business owners and stakeholders in the area). At this meeting the group asked among other things that they do a revised Traffic Impact Study and take a more detailed look at the access/egress issue for the site.

It's my understanding that the City's Planning department received the revised study this week, and that the City's Transportation dept. hasn't had a chance to go through it yet. City Planning and I will be discussing the study with the working group once it has been reviewed. There has been no further discussion on the built form, but Planning has indicated that they should expect some sort of revised proposal in the next few months. Once that revision comes in, then we can expect a report and the application will go off to Community Council. Of course, I will be sending out that information as soon as it becomes available.

There has also been no OMB appeal to date.

Should you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my office. I have also copied Community Planner Kevin Edwards, who can be reached at or by phone at 416-392-1306.

Thank you,

Gord Perks
City Councillor
Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park

Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West
2nd Floor, Suite A14
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2

We must change how we live, or the climate will change it for us.

There's also a long thread about this site over on the Urban Toronto Forums. Skip to the later pages for more recent comments etc.