Old meets new as historic Junction comes of age|
| || ||
Economic Development -- Last night, residents, retailers, developers and
artists came together to celebrate recent improvements to the streetscape in
the City's legendary Junction area in west Toronto, at a retail networking
event hosted by the City of Toronto Economic Development Division and the
Junction Business and Community Development Corporation.
The evening featured special guest speaker and marketing expert John C.
Williams, a fashion show displaying the work of local designer and two-time
finalist of the Smirnoff International Fashion Awards Nathaniel Jameer, and the
music of the Howard Lopez Jazz Group. The "black-and-white" event, in the
historic May Brothers' Building, was a fitting celebration to mark a new
beginning for the Junction area.
Over the past two years, the City of Toronto has contributed $2.4 million to
improve the Junction's appearance. Implemented in three phases, the project
includes the addition of 172 historical street lamps, trees and a refurbished
sidewalk. Private investment has also contributed to the rebirth of the area by
investing more than $5 million, including new property ownership in 12
buildings, and an additional $2 million in the restoration and improvement of
buildings, triggered by the positive benefits of participating in the City's
Facade Improvement Program.
"The streetscape improvement project and the Facade Improvement Program are
helping to make the Junction an attractive choice for businesses and
developers," said Brenda Librecz, Managing Director of Toronto Economic
Development. "The Junction is at a new crossroads in its long history - it is
undergoing a transformation and revitalization. Its unique character, proximity
to the downtown core, and reasonable retail rental rates make it an area of
great potential within the City of Toronto."
The eight-block stretch of Dundas Street West at Keele Street, known as the
Junction, has a long history in the City of Toronto. Once a thriving industrial
area supported by the railroad industries and the stockyards, the Junction fell
into decline after the Second World War. A total prohibition on liquor sales
kept the area dry from 1904 to 1997. Now home to 360 businesses, a thriving
arts community and an up-and-coming residential area, there is a renewed spirit
and sense of excitement as the Junction comes of age.
"There's an energy here now," said Henry Calderon, Project Director of the West
Junction Team, who co-ordinated the streetscape improvement plan. "There's
truly something special happening here as retailers, artists, residents,
developers and businesses come together. The people who choose to live and work
here have vision. The Junction is undergoing a renaissance - it's a re-birth, a