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NEWS: Creating a friendlier Dupont (May 2019)

May 28th, 2019 · No Comments

Creation of city square and Dupont greening to begin this summer

Designers’ rendering of the future square on Huron and Dupont streets. COURTESY OF PLANT ARCHITECT INC.

By Nabahat Hussain

Construction on a proposed square at the intersection of Huron and Dupont streets is expected to start late this summer. The development is part of the local business improvement association’s Streetscape Master Plan. The improvements will include benches, sidewalks, trees, perennial planting, and identity signage, in addition to preserving the four existing trees on either side of the street.  

“It will be a little resting island in what is otherwise a very busy, bustling street. Dupont is going through a lot of changes, I am hopeful that this will make it more hospitable,” 

—Councillor Mike Layton, Ward 11 (University-Rosedale)

The Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA includes Dupont Street from Avenue Road to the east and Bathurst Street to the west. Huron Street meets Dupont around the centre of the business improvement area, making it a new focal point for the area. Dupont-by-the-Castle spokesperson Stephen Boujikian says the BIA’s goal is “to have a safe, clean presentable place that will attract people”.  They also hope to liven up the area, and see the project as the beginning phase of a 30-year development spree.  

Pedestrian safety will also be prioritized by encouraging slower car turns. Huron Street will be narrowed down north of Dupont and the crossing distance will shortened.

In terms of making the look of the area more appealing, a mural will be painted on the north-east corner of the square. There will also be plantings on both sides to improve the green-scape of the area and make it more welcoming. The Annex Residents’ Association welcomed the idea, said chair David Harrison. “Any landscaping improvement to this area is welcome. This design should add positively to the streetscape.”

BIA coordinator Emilia Filippelli-Ochana says the history of the area was taken into great consideration while coming up with the plan. 

“In order to maintain the original heritage of the area, the BIA has installed custom street name signs at Davenport Road and Spadina Road which have Indigenous names along with English names on each,” she says. “Wendat Square was proposed as a name for the development, but this is yet to be officially chosen. The Wendat tribe was the first to settle in the Dupont and Davenport area, most settlers know them as the Huron. This idea for the name was brought up at the public open house hosted by the BIA on March 20.” 

The project will cost $300,000 and is being funded by the City of Toronto, the Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA, and two city councillors. The former councillor for the areas riding, Joe Cressy, pledged $50,000 in Section 37 money for the project which is being carried through by Mike Layton. Section 37 entails money for community development from the city as long as there is an Official Plan for the project. 

The Section 37 money results from contributions paid by the developer of 740 Dupont Street, a mid-rise development. 

“In this case the amount was secured for streetscape improvements. I don’t think there’s a better example of a streetscape improvement than taking a derelict, dead-end side of a street and turning it into something beautiful,” says Layton. “It will be a little resting island in what is otherwise a very busy, bustling street. Dupont is going through a lot of changes, I am hopeful that this will make it more hospitable.”

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