Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village have been fixtures of Toronto’s Bloor and Bathurst neighbourhood for more than 60 years. The famed discount retailer, and public realm created by Markham Street’s adaptive reuse as a cultural and commercial enclave in the 1960s, evolved through the influence of the Mirvish Family and neighbourhood communities, including the Afro-Caribbean community.
ERA is part of a collaborative project team led by Westbank and Henriquez Partners Architects, who set out to reinterpret and extend the history and character of the site in a mixed-use redevelopment. Historic buildings and their uses are echoed in the new development, including the bazaar-like quality of Honest Ed’s in the new Market, the narrow 19th and 20th century store frontages on Bathurst Street in the towers, and the theatricality of Honest Ed’s signage in the new alley. The proposal also conserves the intimate scale and public realm of Markham Street and its late-19th and early 20th-century residential buildings through a new layer of adaptive reuse and landscaping.
The award-winning proposal has been praised for its holistic approach to urban redevelopment, achieving balance between heritage conservation and renewal, and involving extensive community engagement. The project is considered a model for collaboration between the City, community, and developers.
As heritage consultant to the project, ERA contributed extensive research, prepared Heritage Impact Assessments, Conservation Plans, a multi-faceted heritage interpretation strategy, and is also undertaking the architectural conservation scope.
images courtesy of Westbank
- Henriquez Partners Architects
- Janet Rosenberg & Studio, Urban Strategies
- Adaptive Reuse, Accessibility & Additions/Building Conservation/Development & Urban Planning/Heritage & Cultural Planning
- Commercial & Retail/Housing/Multi-Unit Residential
- Michael McClelland/Scott Weir/Alexis Cohen/Ryan Love/Amanda Ghantous/Zak Fish
- Canadian Institute of Planners: Award for Planning Excellence: Urban Design, 2019