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The Dominion Foundry Demonstration Project: Concept released – rebuttal and design proposal with Friends of the Foundry

University of Toronto - St. George Campus - Dominion Foundry Site

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February 24, 2021

Click here to view Friends of the Foundry

Features heritage, affordable /market housing, community space

Friends of the Foundry today released an exploratory concept illustrating how heritage and affordable housing can be used to create a new future for the historic Dominion Foundry site on Eastern Avenue in Toronto’s West Don Lands.

“There has been a great deal of public support for preserving the Foundry site with more than 23,000 people asking the province to stop the demolition they started without warning on January 14,” says Cynthia Wilkey, the co-chair of the West Don Lands Committee. “The concept we are releasing today is just one idea of what is possible. We hope it spurs additional suggestions that protect heritage and build badly needed affordable housing and community space on the site.”

The exploratory concept was developed by renowned Toronto design and planning professionals KPMB Architects’ Shirley Blumberg and Bruno Weber, urban designer Ken Greenberg, DTAH’s Joe Lobko, George Brown College’s Luigi Ferrara, and housing experts Sean Gadon and Mark Guslits. It delivers approximately 688,400 square feet of gross floor area, preserving the Foundry’s two most important buildings and contributing 870 residential units, of which a minimum of 30% are proposed to be affordable, with 120,000 square feet of community uses and retail.

“This concept has been guided by development principles that are anchored in the historical context of the Foundry and builds on what has become a well-loved neighbourhood with a distinctive sense of place,” said Shirley Blumberg of KPMB Architects. “We are honoured to contribute to the discussion and hope it unleashes our collective imagination on what we can do on this historic site.”

Friends of the Foundry released the conceptual scheme in advance of a meeting today with provincial officials to discuss the future of the site. “The province has scheduled only three brief meetings with groups over this one afternoon and buried an invitation to send thoughts by email,” says Suzanne Kavanagh from the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association. “These gestures in no way meet the meaningful public engagement standards that are considered acceptable and that we expect at this site.”

Friends of the Foundry is calling on the province to work with the community and the City of Toronto, starting with a new open competition with the right terms of reference that protect heritage, get the best possible affordable housing options, and deliver the best for this community in the long term.

“Let’s not waste this opportunity to create something we can all be proud of – a vibrant mixed-income, mixed-used community that addresses our affordable housing crisis, contributes new community space, and respects and leverages the legacy of the Foundry,” says Kavanagh.

Members and Supporters of Friends of the Foundry: 

Suzanne Kavanagh, Chair, SLNA Development & Heritage Committees

Shirley Blumberg & Bruno Weber, KPMB Architects

Luigi Ferrara, George Brown College

Cynthia Wilkey, Co-Chair, West Don Lands Committee

Ken & Eti Greenberg, Greenberg Consultants

Sean Gadon, Housing Advisor / Former ED, Toronto Housing Secretariat

Tim Hurson, Friends of the Foundry

Joe Lobko, DTAH

Mark Guslits, Affordable Housing Advisor / Faculty, Daniels School of Architecture, University of Toronto