April 5, 2016 6:55 pm
Updated: April 6, 2016 7:07 am

Toronto’s chief planner looks for public input to create more space downtown

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TORONTO – The second phase of a campaign aimed at preparing downtown Toronto for further growth has been launched by city officials.

Parks and public spaces are the focus for the latest ‘TOcore’ discussion with members of the public through social media and a variety of open meetings.

“We need to ensure that we are providing the amenities that people require to have a great quality-of-life,” Toronto’s chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat said.

The area being categorized as downtown Toronto is bounded by Lake Ontario to the south, Bathurst Street to the west, the CP Rail corridor and Rosedale Valley Road in the north and the Don River to the east.

Approximately 50,000 people have moved into the area since the 2011 census was completed.

Recent projections suggest the downtown core will grow from a population of just over 250,000 to almost 475,000 by 2041.

The hashtag #DTadvice is now being used to collect ideas for how best to create new space and improve what already exists.

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“We want to be creating an environment where walking is pleasant and cycling is safe,” Keesmaat said. “Great urban places are really linked together by those public spaces.”

Keesmaat points to Chicago’s Millennium Park as an example of an urban space that was repurposed and suggests Australia could provide inspiration as well.

“Melbourne tapped into its laneways and transformed it’s café culture,” she said. “We have to get innovative in a rapidly growing city.”

It’s estimated the downtown core accounts for one-third of Toronto’s jobs and delivers a quarter of the city’s tax base.

VIDEO: Jennifer Keesmaat and Janie Romoff discuss the challenges of building transit, housing and green space as the city continues to grow.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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