Regeneration in the Kings: Directions and Emerging Trends' highlights the changing character of the King-Spadina and King-Parliament Reinvestment Areas. These two districts have emerged as highly desirable urban lifestyle communities close to Toronto's Downtown Core and have also seen considerable new business development since 1996. On November 12, 2002 the Toronto East York Community Council adopted a report recommending consultation with these communities on the successful outcomes of reinvestment and the challenges that remain to improve the quality of public spaces and to deliver community services.
The report highlights a number of important findings about the changing character of the King-Parliament and King-Spadina districts. Some of the indicators of change and success include the following:
- There has been a substantial amount of development activity in both areas since 1996. Eighty-six development projects are either built, under construction or being planned and a conservative estimate of the value of building permits issued exceeds $396 million, excluding the value of as-of-right development which has not needed planning approvals to proceed.
- Total taxable assessment has grown by just over 28 per cent in the "Kings" between 1998 and 2002.
- Residential development has been a focus of activity with 7,040 housing units built or in the pipeline.
- Over 321,000 square metres of commercial space has been created or is being planned, often within former industrial buildings.
- Conversion and retention of heritage buildings have occurred: 16 development projects include the conservation of heritage buildings.
- Most projects have respected the height limit regulations. Of the 86 development applications, 19 have exceeded the height limit, mostly in King-Spadina. Most zoning variances have been minor in nature and have proceeded through the Committee of Adjustment.
- Area residents tend to be younger adults, without children, who for the most part work downtown.
- Employment activity in both areas has increased by 18 per cent since 1996 outpacing the city-wide growth rate of 11 per cent. Many of the jobs generated are professional jobs in media, business services and computer services.
- Transit usage by residents is high, but a substantial number of residents would like to see an increase in public spending to improve transit service.
- The pedestrian environment is particularly important as 60 per cent of work trips are to downtown locations and 39 per cent of residents walk to work.
- 38 per cent of residents do not own a car.
Overall, the planning policies developed for King-Parliament and King-Spadina in 1996 have, along with favourable economic conditions, stimulated substantial reinvestment in both of these districts, thus helping to transform and revitalize them. Investment interest is continuing in a relatively strong economy.
Success has not come without challenges, however. Improvements are needed to the parks and open spaces throughout the "Kings" and community service needs require further assessment along with a framework for implementation. High quality new development, including high architectural standards, needs to be encouraged. A Precinct Plan for the West Don Lands needs to be finalized, including flood protection measures and open spaces, once the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan has been approved. Ongoing investment of funds to implement the Community Improvement Plans is a priority in the "Kings" areas to improve the quality of public spaces. Significant heritage projects such as the revitalization of Gooderham & Worts, the appropriate commemoration of the First Parliament Buildings of Upper Canada, and the revitalization of Victoria Memorial Square need to be advanced.
The Kings Travel Survey Bulletin
The Kings Travel Survey Bulletin is one of a series of transportation monitoring reports that present travel characteristics of residents in different parts of Toronto. Results from these monitoring surveys are used for planning purposes as part of the process of developing vibrant mixed use communities where residents and workers have greater choices of where to work and live and how to travel.