Stroll: Gerrard Street East & YMCA
We chose the stroll on Gerrard Street (east of the Don Valley) as the second stroll in this series. Mostly, it was because of our desire to explore Little India and our craving and never-ending love to Indian food. We married this stroll to the stroll at the YMCA at Yonge and Grosvenor, which is close to the beginning of Gerrard Street East, since the two provide an interesting opportunity to see the contrast between the sleepy development activity on Gerrard east of the Don and the gush of development on Yonge Street. It is also interesting that Gerrard East has so little activity compared to Queen East and the Danforth.
Most of The development activity is up to 6-storeys, and we noticed some townhouse complexes too, mostly not more than 4-6 units.
Some development applications on Gerrard:
227 Gerrard St. E. – a 6-storey mid-rise
794 Gerrard St. E. – a 6-storey mid-rise
1117 Gerrard St E. – a 5-storey senior residence
The biggest shift along Gerrard will occur when the GO RER station at Gerrard Square is built which will provide access to Union Station in about 7 minutes. If the Relief subway line is built, it will also have a station in that location. This will completely transform Gerrard Square and its surroundings.
An interesting development to look at, though definitely not new, is the Bain co-op, Canada’s first social housing project which was completed in 1920. The co-op has 260 apartments ranging between one and four bedrooms. It is noticeably denser than the surrounding single-family houses in Riverdale, yet it creates a wonderful village atmosphere, with a true sense of community and family-friendliness.
For Micaleff, the struggling East Chinatown reminded a bit of Queen West West before it became hot and trendy, with its empty storefronts. A decade after the book was published, we still can’t say it resembles Queen West West of today, or even Queen East or the Danforth which are located just a little away from Gerrard.
Walking west and crossing Yonge Street and sticking to the YMCA area, the presence of new development has changed significantly. I believe Yonge St. will have its own tour, but since we are already here, I will mention a few interesting projects:
- 8 Elm St. – previously proposed as an 80-storey tower with zero separation to the sides and an FSI of 45.5. The owner was later able to combine the site with lots on Yonge Street and provide tower separation that meets the urban design guidelines. The current proposal was approved for 67 storeys with an FSI of 29.4.
- 33 Gerrard – known as Chelsea’s Green, a complex of 4 tall buildings at 46, 50, 74, and 80 storeys.
- 25 Grosvenor – sold by the province to incentivize affordable development and to allow market-rate housing combined with affordable units.