Community weighs in on Danforth revitalization

Meeting hears a desire to protect the area's unique character from development pressure

The stretch of Danforth Avenue from Coxwell to Victoria Park Avenues is home to many residents who are looking forward to more shops, parks, bike lanes and new homes, in the future.

On Monday, Dec. 11, a community-consultation meeting was held at Hope United Church on Danforth Avenue at Main Street to hear feedback about development criteria for the area.

The revitalization plan is one that Gay Stephenson, a long-time resident and coach of the Danforth East Community Association, agreed with.

She noted that she’s been involved with previous projects along the Danforth.

“I worked on the pop-up-shop project – filling the empty stores on the Danforth,” Stephenson said. “I know from people that it doesn’t feel as safe to walk on the streets when there are a lot of empty stores.”

Begun in 2012, the pop-up-shop project temporarily opens up store fronts and aims to increase foot traffic and generate business.

Since Gay has been with the Danforth East Association, she’s seen many projects come to fruition, from art fairs to farmer’s markets to the festival of lights.

The next step is to use the community’s input and feedback to improve  development in the area.

City councillor Janet Davis is thrilled with the community engagement that’s been demonstrated during this project.

“We’ve had four big community meetings to share their views,” she said. “We’ve heard a desire to maintain small retail character, the walkability, and the sense of a small-town feel.”

Davis would like to see the Danforth maintain the character that makes it unique, as it faces growing pressure for development.

“We want there to still be small shops and vibrancy,” she said. “Those are all the characteristics we want to make sure continue on our street.”

The final City Staff Report is due in March 2018.