September Update

It’s back to school, but Build a Better Bloor Dufferin has been busy all summer, working to ensure that the redevelopment of the school lands at Bloor and Dufferin will benefit our community and the city at large. Read on for updates on our latest activities, and to find out how you can get involved.

Happening Now:

Bloor-Dufferin video makes the TVO Short Doc top 10!
A short documentary about the Bloor-Dufferin redevelopment by Camila Garcia and Pedro Miguez is a top 10 finalist in TVO’s Short Doc competition! Now they need your vote to get our neighbourhood’s story out to the whole province – watch the video and place your vote here.

City Planning taking community input on Bloor-Dufferin proposal
Do you want the redevelopment at Bloor and Dufferin to include affordable housing, a significant public park and adequate space for community services and the arts? How do you think the current proposal could be improved upon? Have your say on the City Planning web page for the development. This only takes a minute and is an easy way to give the planners your feedback.

BBBD seeking endorsements from local organizations
We want to make sure BBBD’s work represents the diversity of our neighbourhood. We invite local organizations–like parent councils, community services, businesses, and places of worship–to endorse our vision for the Bloor-Dufferin site, and join our Advisory Committee. Check our website to learn more and find a sample letter of endorsement.

Build a Better Bloor Dufferin Updates

Community Outreach

Big on Bloor Festival
BBBD spent July 21 at the Big on Bloor Festival connecting with our community. We spoke with hundreds of people and collected postcards with residents’ visions for the site. We now have over 800 supportive community members on our mailing list. Read more here.
Community Forum
About 100 people came to our June 12 forum at Bloor Collegiate to learn more about the Bloor-Dufferin redevelopment. Because the community consultations hosted by the City and developer did not allow open public discussion, we wanted to create a space for residents to have their say about the future of this public land. Participants spoke passionately about the need for affordable housing, more public park space, community services, and a better school building on the site.Meetings with decision-makers
Over the past few months BBBD has met with our City Councillor Ana Bailão, our new MPP Marit Stiles, and City Planner Kirk Hatcher to inform them of the community’s concerns about this development. We will continue to work with our local representatives to make sure that the public is thoroughly consulted on this development.Should Bloor Collegiate Institute have heritage status?
Did you know that part of Bloor Collegiate Institute was the T. Eaton embroidery factory in 1916, before the school opened in 1925? And that its main entrance and beautiful auditorium, built in 1949, are a unique example of moderne style? Not to mention that the school has shaped the lives of thousands of students in the past 93 years – many of whom still live in the neighbourhood. In the coming months BBBD will be investigating the heritage value of BCI, and gathering community input about how to preserve its legacy for generations to come. Read more in this recent Globe and Mail article.
How to get involved

Wear your support – buy a beautiful Build a Better Bloor Dufferin t-shirt, designed and silk-screened by hand by the newcomer youth leaders from West Neighbourhood House.

Ready to roll up your sleeves? Come to our next meeting on Monday September 24 from 6pm-8pm at Working Women Community Centre and join one of our committees. There are lots of opportunities to participate and we welcome your skills, energy and ideas. Working Women Community Centre is on Gladstone Ave, just south of Bloor St.

Can’t make it to meetings but want to contribute? Contact us and let us know how you can help! Currently, we are particularly looking for support from graphic designers, visual artists and communications specialists. e-mail us at

Coming up

This October, BBBD plans to host a municipal candidates’ debate about development in ourneighbourhood – stay tuned for details!

Who we are
Build a Better Bloor Dufferin (BBBD) is a group of residents, local business owners, artists, service organizations, and members of the local school communities. We are dedicated to the sustainable development of the Bloor-Dufferin neighbourhood as it changes with the proposed new development at the southwest corner of Bloor and Dufferin.

Our vision
BBBD believes that this public land should be used for public good. We want the Bloor-Dufferin redevelopment to include:

  • At least 70,000 square feet of finished, affordable space for community services and the arts, as envisioned by the multi-stakeholder 18-member Community Hub Visioning Group who consulted with approximately 450 diverse local residents over a 10-month period
  • A 200-unit building of non-profit, deeply affordable and supportive housing, in addition to a minimum of 10% affordable housing units integrated into the proposed condominiums.
  • A 1.5 acre public park to provide much-needed green space and compensate for the loss of the playing fields, tennis and basketball courts on the site.
  • A new Bloor Collegiate Institute building large enough to accommodate 1300 students, with an auditorium, gymnasium, and spacious playing field.
Get in touch! Build a Better Bloor Dufferin is always open to community feedback and ideas. Email us at

“Optimism” on development?

Opinion: Is the Star correct?

Christopher Hume, the Toronto Star columnist wrote in an Aug. 7 column that there is reason for “optimism” about the developers that are changing the face ofToronto.

Developers have “matured” wrote Hume, “Developers, if not planners, now include residential, commercial, retail and institutional uses in their projects, as well as community amenities and a serious public realm.”

But Bloor Dufferin residents might be forgiven if they choked on what followed:

“Matt Young, vice-president of development at Capital Developments, talks of trying achieve that urban experience of ‘organized chaos’ at the 7.3-acre property his firm is remaking at Bloor St. W. and Dufferin St. This is a far cry from the regulated sterility of every purpose in its place.

“We spent 10 months doing public engagement,” Young explained. “The biggest thing we heard is that public space is a really important part of the project. We want to create a great public realm and affordable housing along with fine-grained retail.”

Parkland, good schools, and truly affordable housing has long been what our community wants but we aren’t sure the proposed Bloor/Durfferin proposal meets those standards. And we believe the public realm includes daycare, a community centre and performance space.

Young is correct when he says, “public space is a really important part of the project.” We’d like to hold him to that.

Big On Bloor Busy for BBBD

Hundreds visit Build a Better Bloor Dufferin booth

bigonbloor edit

Volunteers staffing our booth at the Big on Bloor celebration July 21were run off their feet by people interested in what is happening in our neighbourhood.

Many people strolling the street festival stopped at our booth to express their opinions and learn more about the proposed development of public lands at the south-west corner of Bloor and Dufferin.

It’s proposed that the three public schools located on the site will be torn down and four luxury, high-density, condo towers be built, with a two-story retail mall anchoring towers that stretch to 47 stories.

“Our booth was perfectly located,” said David Lush who volunteered at the booth. “We were right across from Bloor Collegiate Institute and Kent PS and people could imagine what we are losing with the sale of our land.

“Behind our booth was the 13-storey New Horizon Towers and they could think about what a 47-storey condo would mean for our neighbourhood.”

Over 400 people gave us their names and e-mails and asked to receive BBBD’s newsletter.

 “We’re a grassroots community group working to ensure that this development is inclusive and well planned.” said Maggie Hutcheson, co-chair of BBBD. “Everyone,  from neighbours to people who live elsewhere in the city, have been supportive of our call for community benefits on this site. They want to see the best results from the sale of these publicly-owned properties.”

In the decade since it was first proposed to sell the 7.3 acre property, the community has consistently said any sale must include provisions for:

  • Affordable Housing—Housing must include family-friendly two and three-bedroom units, provisions for students and artists and those with diverse incomes.
  • Green Space—the west end of Toronto has less parkland per capita than Toronto as a whole.
  • Community Space—A community centre or Hub that can meet the community’s needs for daycare, meeting rooms, performance space and activity centres.
  • Schools—a fully funded formula to build a new high school to meet the needs of our students in a new century.