ERA Architects

Erik Freudenthal of Sweden

This April, ERA was pleased to co-host a special presentation by Erik Freudenthal, the Director of Information for Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm. In his discussion of this innovative “Symbiocity” approach to urban development, Erik demonstrated that low-carbon, sustainable communities really are achievable given a) the proper commitment and b) the appropriate strategies for material and resource management.

The event also brought to light some of the similarities between Sweden and Ontario: as regions with comparable sizes and populations, we can learn from each others’ efforts in northern urbanism. Continue reading…

April 25-27: Exhibition on landscape

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Please join us for the opening reception and exhibition of Gladstone Grow Op, an exploration of landscape and place curated by Victoria Taylor, OALA.

Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, April 28. Opening reception: Friday, April 26, 7–10 pm

Our contribution, Hoarding Suggestions, situated at the Gladstone Art Bar and sponsored by the Friends of Allan Gardens and ERA Architects, centres around the history of public engagement in one of our favourite parks: Allan Gardens.

In 1963, the Department of Parks and Recreation set up a suggestion box in Allan Gardens. It turned out that Torontonians were full of ideas about how to improve the park, and we found their suggestions in the city archives. Fifty years later, we are hoping to generate new excitement for revitalizing this cherished public space.

We hope to see you there.

w/ Erik Freudenthal

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We are pleased to announce a visit by Erik Freudenthal, the Director of Information for Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm, who will present recent initiatives in leading low-carbon neighbourhood design. In addition to providing insight into the case study of Hammarby Sjöstad, the event will be an opportunity to examine locations in Toronto with the potential for new low-carbon neighbourhood design strategies, such as its many Tower Neighbourhoods. Continue reading…

Attend Ryerson Planning Expo, March 23


On Saturday March 23, ERA’s Graeme Stewart will be presenting as part of Ryerson’s School of Urban and Regional Planning “Expo 2013.” The day-long event features presentations, panel sessions, and workshops on various planning topics such as housing, community engagement, and active transportation/walkable communities. Other speakers include Greg Spearn, Chief Development Officer, Toronto Community Housing Corporation; City of Toronto Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Michael Shapcott, Director of Affordable Housing and Social Innovation at the Wellesley Institute, and many others.

Ryerson is making a number of tickets available to students from other institutions as well as members of the public. To attend, please register for the event. See you there!

Eglinton’s Future: Public Workshops


ERA Architects is proud to be part of a team that includes Brook McIlroy, planningAlliance, and Public Work, among others, in the planning and designing the forthcoming Eglinton Crosstown rapid transit corridor. Join us for the first rounds of public consultation February 19th, 26th, and 28th (see for workshop details).

The largest transit investment in Toronto in a generation, the Crosstown will bring rapid transit along Eglinton from Scarborough to Etobicoke, and is the first phase of new transit investment throughout the city. ERA is examining Eglinton’s historical growth, its diverse neighbourhoods, its unique urban form, and how the corridor’s heritage can inform future growth and evolution.

For more information or to get involved, please see or


ERA in Port Union, Nfld.

ERA has begun consultations with the William Coaker Foundation and Port Union, Newfoundland, as part of the Culture of Outports program, and will be leading an exciting on-site project there in June 2013.

Culture of Outports is a series of projects that uses research, design, and planning to engage and help support livable communities undergoing economic and cultural change after the decline of the Northern Cod Fishery. Continue reading…

ERA in Buffalo

Recently, ERAers Alana Young and Josh Thorpe took trips to investigate the fascinating city of Buffalo, New York. Less than two hours from Toronto by car, Buffalo is a city of major historical significance to the region and has some stunning work in planning and architecture. Continue reading…

Append & tweak: Rethinking heritage in our suburbs

An article by ERA associate Joey Giaimo was recently published in the latest APT Bulletin of the Association for Preservation Technology International.  The article, “Append & Tweak: An Approach for Preserving the Evolving Suburban Landscape,” asks us to re-evaluate how we regard and manage heritage resources in suburban contexts, and argues for a cultural landscape approach as we move forward. Continue reading…

Graeme Stewart on “Imagine a City”

This autumn, United Way’s Imagine a City blog is hosting a series of guest writers to discuss a number of important programs related to Toronto’s future as a livable city. Recently ERA’s Graeme Stewart blogged on his vision for Tower Neighbourhood Renewal, a program we have been working on in collaboration with partners including the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R), the City of Toronto, Province of Ontario, Toronto Public Health, and United Way Toronto. Continue reading…

Amendments to Heritage Policies in Toronto’s Official Plan

The City of Toronto has just brought forward draft Official Plan Amendment No. 199 regarding Public Realm and Heritage policies. In May of this year, a staff report recommending the adoption of revised heritage policies was brought forward, and a public open house was scheduled. Prior to the public open house on September 10th, ERA submitted comments to the City outlining our concerns. We are pleased to report that some of our comments have been incorporated into the newly drafted OPA No. 199, but find that some areas could benefit from further revision. Continue reading…

The city as garden

Recently ERA’s Brendan Stewart gave a talk at Toronto’s Metro Hall, sponsored by LEAF and Park People, on the design potential of trees in cities. After setting the context of modern landscape design, beginning with André Le Nôtre’s French tradition and William Kent’s English tradition, the talk moved on to survey several interesting historical and international projects, including… Continue reading…

Trees in Public Space: ERA’s Brendan Stewart Speaks

International Influences: Inspiring Ideas for Trees in Public Space, August 16, 2012, 7pm, Metro Hall, Toronto

Presented in collaboration with LEAF and Park People, Brendan’s talk discussed the rich aesthetic traditions and histories of planting trees in gardens, parks, and urban open spaces.

Through images of beautiful and inspirational designed landscapes from around the world, we discussed how designing with trees can enhance our experience of place. Brendan also inquired into the relevance of these traditions today and how they might shape our ideas about green space here in Toronto. In a preview to the talk, Brendan recently made an appearance on Global’s Morning Show.

To register and for more information, please see LEAF’s event page.

*Note: This event qualifies for ISA Continuing Education Units (CEU).

Certificate of Merit for Urban Design Plans

We are pleased to announce that the Toronto Avenues and Mid-Rise Buildings Study has been awarded a 2012 National Urban Design Certificate of Merit.

This study, conducted for the City of Toronto, was led by Brook McIlroy and included significant contributions from Quadrangle Architects, the Urban Marketing Collaborative, and ERA Architects. The document identifies policy-based opportunities to re-urbanize Toronto’s avenues in the pursuit of well-designed, vibrant neighbourhoods.

The National Urban Design Awards are administered by Architecture Canada RAIC, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. Thanks to all of the above and congratulations to our colleagues.

United Way AGM: Graeme Stewart’s Keynote Address

On Thursday, June 21, ERA’s Graeme Stewart addressed United Way’s AGM as keynote speaker.

In 2010, ERA and CUG+R published Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which looks at a broad range of historical trends, planning issues, sustainability concerns, social needs, and opportunity for renewal in and around Toronto’s tower block neighbourhoods. In 2011, United Way published Vertical Poverty, which focuses much-needed attention on poverty, equity, and quality-of-life issues experienced by residents of high-rise housing. Continue reading…

Revitalizing Ontario Place: ERA’s Lara Herald on CBC

Lara Herald, a project landscape architect at ERA, was recently invited to speak with Matt Galloway on CBC’s Metro Morning regarding the future of Toronto’s Ontario Place.

A cluster of three artificial islands on Toronto’s waterfront, Ontario Place was launched in 1971 as an affordable and varied summer destination. Its attractions have over time included a simulated mine, a wilderness adventure ride, a World War II Destroyer, a concert venue, an IMAX theatre, a marina, a waterpark, and, of course, various places to walk, rest, eat, and drink.

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Jane’s Walk on Jarvis St.

On Sunday May 6th, ERA principal Michael McClelland joined Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and 75 interested participants on a Jane’s Walk in Toronto’s downtown east. Named for legendary urbanist and author Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walks occur all over the world in the name of promoting urban literacy and community involvement in local urban environments.

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Jane’s Walk in Old York

On Saturday May 5th, ERA principal Michael McClelland joined Ken and Eti Greenberg to take a group of 65 participants on a Jane’s Walk in the heart of Toronto. Named for legendary urbanist Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walks occur all over the world in the name of promoting urban literacy and the involvement of community in urban development.

Jane Jacobs’ critical writing and thinking has radically changed the way urban planning is practiced in North America. Her practice was clearly important to Ken and Eti Greenberg, whose work has also had a dramatic effect on downtown neighbourhoods in Toronto and elsewhere.
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