Planning Studies & Initiatives

Old Town Toronto Heritage Lighting and Interpretation Plan

Old Town Toronto is the historic core of Toronto. Within its boundaries lie the original ten blocks of the Town of York along with one of the largest concentrations of 19th century buildings in Ontario. The City of Toronto has recently completed a Heritage Interpretation Master Plan and a Heritage Lighting Plan to enhance the heritage of this area for all Torontonians. The boundaries of the study area encompass Yonge Street to the west, Queen and Shuter Streets to the north, the Don River to the east, and the railway corridor to the south.

The Heritage Interpretation Master Plan

Heritage interpretation enhances personal experiences, increases respect and understanding, and communicates the importance of our cultural heritage sites. The Heritage Interpretation Master Plan was prepared for the City of Toronto by a consulting team led by Commonwealth Historic Resource Management.

The Master Plan establishes a thematic framework, through which the interpretation of the Old Town is organized. Through work with stakeholders the team identified a number of key nodes corridors, and gateways for interpretation. The plan will showcase the heritage of the Old Town through interpretive installations, programs and tours, lighting, plaques and markers, and public art.

The Heritage Lighting Master Plan

The night lighting of heritage buildings enlivens neighbourhoods by enhancing their unique character and creating a vibrant walkable environment. Their careful illumination celebrates our rich cultural heritage and creates places where people want to be. In recent years, major winter cities around the world have transformed their downtown historic areas through illumination.

The City of Toronto recently secured the services of Gabriel McKinnon to prepare a Heritage Lighting Master Plan for Toronto's Old Town. The plan establishes a strategy to highlight the distinctive architecture and heritage of the area and explore opportunities to improve the lighting of the public realm. The Lighting Master Plan is now complete and is available for viewing.

Flatiron Building, temporarily lit November 6 & 7, 2009 St. James Cathedral, temporarily lit November 6 & 7, 2009