Developer Bows in Downtown Toronto Big Box Battle

Torontonians who have been fighting a Walmart in Downtown’s belovedly indie Kensington Market neigbourhood appear to have won their battle against a goliath developer. A revised development proposal features significantly scaled-down retail units.
February 17, 2014, 5am PST | Kasper_O_Koblauch
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“Kensington Market appears to have won the war against Walmart,” write Bruce Laregina and Tara Perkins.

The 2012 development proposal for a site on the fringe of the Kensington Market neighbourhood—regarded as a gem by Torontonians and tourists alike—created a waves in Kensington and beyond. The introduction of Walmart was seen by many as a threat to Kensington’s eclectic collection of independent shops and bohemian character.

“’We pushed back hard on this,’ said [Councilor Mike] Layton, who has advocated against Walmart for nearly two and a half years. ‘The pressure put on Walmart and [the developer] RioCan from our community backed them off from putting it in our area.’”

The updated proposal features an anchor unit only half the size of the original, incorporates office uses as well as retail, and allows for wider sidewalks via greater setback.

“The proposal still has to pass through city council, but Mr. Layton said he is ‘cautiously optimistic.’”

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Published on Thursday, February 13, 2014 in The Globe and Mail
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