Green light for 66 Isabella building expansion

New wing will add 199 units of rental housing to the Village

Toronto and East York Community Council approved a controversial proposal to add a new wing to the apartment complex at 66 Isabella St on Jan 10. The new wing will almost double the size of the building while eliminating the private lawn and clutch of mature trees that currently sits at the corner of Church and Isabella streets.

The owners of the property had sought exemptions from council that would allow the addition because the new wing would cause the building’s resulting floor plate to exceed the maximum area allowed under the city’s tall-building guidelines.

Some residents were also concerned because construction would force more than 50 residents to relocate while their suites were renovated and reoriented so that the units’ patios and windows would be unobstructed by the new building.

Notwithstanding those concerns, city planning staff had recommended approval of the project and were prepared to defend the proposal before the Ontario Municipal Board if council rejected it.

The new wing will have a four-storey podium with retail facing onto Church and Isabella streets and a step-back to a 23-storey tower. There will be new amenity space for residents of both wings of the building, including underground parking, and laundry and recreation facilities.

The developer also pledges to add 18 shade trees to the public right-of-way along Church and Isabella streets.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam negotiated with the developer to secure $450,000 in section 37 benefits associated with the project. The money will be used for improvements to Cawthra Park and the linear parks that run parallel to Yonge St from Charles St to Dundonald St.

Of the 211 units, 199 will be rental. One hundred of those units will have mid-range rents for at least the first five years. The developer further pledged that the existing building will maintain its stock of rental units for at least 20 years. The provision of rental units was a major reason for staff’s support for the proposal.

An amendment from Wong-Tam requires the owner to improve its relocation assistance fund for displaced tenants and to insure itself against damage to tenants’ property and vehicles during construction.

The street-level view of 66 Isabella St:

View Larger Map


Read the final report from the City of Toronto City Planning Divisiion on the application concerning 66 Isabella St: (NOTE: document no longer available)

Rob Salerno is a playwright and journalist whose writing has appeared in such publications as Vice, Advocate, NOW and OutTraveler.

Read More About:
Culture, Power, Politics, News, Canada, Toronto

Keep Reading

Job discrimination against trans and non-binary people is alive and well

OPINION: A study reveals that we have a long way to go to reach workplace equality for trans and non-binary people

The new generation of gay Conservative sellouts

OPINION: Melissa Lantsman’s and Eric Duncan’s refusals to call out their party’s transphobia is a betrayal of the LGBTQ2S+ community

Over 300 anti-LGBTQ2S+ bills have been introduced this year. This doesn’t mean we should panic

OPINION: While it’s important to watch out for threats, not all threats are created equally. Some of these bills will die a natural death

Xtra’s top LGBTQ2S+ stories of the year

The best and brightest—even most bewildering—stories from a back catalogue brimming with insight