Welcome!

trefann-logo.gifWelcome to the website for the Trefann Court Residents Association.

The Trefann Court Association hasn’t been active for several years, but it could be re-started anytime there are several local residents who are interested and want to get involved. Some items of local interest are still being added to this site.

This website is maintained as a historic record of developments and changes affecting this neighbourhood. Scroll down to read all items (listed in date order, newest items first), or use the menu on the right to view posts by year (archives), or posts for a particular category (eg. Regent Park reconstruction).

Email us with your comments or questions.

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FIVE+ years to construct Sumach bike lane ?

A contra-flow bike lane on Sumach is a good idea. Should be simple; only 2 blocks long. Currently, the only routes in the immediate area for north-bound cycling from King to Queen are on River, Parliament, or Power (where it is difficult to cross fast-moving traffic on Adelaide and Richmond).

When the King-Sumach intersection was rebuilt in 2015, lines were painted on Sumach St just north of the intersection, for a future contra-flow bike lane (see photo below, left). Contra-flow biking on Sumach St is not yet legal, however these painted lines on the road mislead cyclists into thinking that north-bound biking on Sumach was permitted. Cyclists did so frequently, which created an unsafe situation. The city was negligent in letting this painted “contra-flow” bike lane remain on Sumach for 4 years, without completing this project. When local bike advocates met with Shawn Dillon (City of Toronto Cycling Infrastructure) in June 2017, he said:

“a two block contra-flow bike lane is planned for Sumach (Shuter to King). One block already approved; working on gaining approval for 2nd block. Will require signalized intersection at Shuter & Sumach. Hopes to complete project by Dec 2017.”


Sumach St, looking south towards King St: bike lane painted in 2015, paint removed in 2019

In her Dec 2019 newsletter, City counillor Kristyn Wong-Tam states:

“By the end of this year [2019], the major work happening on Adelaide Street … should be complete,along with the new contra-flow tracks being installed along Sumach Street between Shuter Street and Richmond Street [sic] .”

Presumably, she is referring to the planned 2-block long contra-flow bike lane between King and Shuter (Richmond ends at Parliament).

Progress remains slow: after 4 years, the painted lines on Sumach north of Queen were removed in Dec 2019 (see photo above, right). In Feb 2020, a contra-flow traffic light was installed on the north-east corner of Queen and Sumach. Apparently, no longer any intention to put signalized intersection at Shuter-Sumach, according to the latest plans for the Shuter bike lane.

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protected bike lane on Shuter

Sometime in 2020, “the City will carry out much needed road reconstruction on Shuter St, between Sherbourne and River St: removing and replacing the asphalt surface and road base, and some sections of curb and sidewalk. Existing bike lanes will be upgraded to separated bike lanes (cycle tracks) from Bond Street to River Street, to increase safety and comfort for people cycling”. The city’s draft plan was shared with the public on Jan 21.

[Although Toronto’s Complete Streets Guidelines: Cycling Design, page 96 suggests that protected bike lanes should be located to the right of parked cars, next to the curb (“cycle tracks: separated bicycle lanes with bollards, planters, or a row of parked cars between cyclists and moving traffic”), this design has some downsides: getting doored by car passengers, lingering car passengers/unloaded packages blocking the bike lane, slow moving accessibility scooters in bike lane, inability to safely pass slower cyclists, etc]

School buses currently uses a long stretch of Shuter St (much more than the 35m which is currently alloted); this section of the reconstructed bike lane won’t be safe for cyclists if this bus activity continues.

6 “short” buses (Feb 5, 2:45pm)3 “long” buses (Jan 29, 8:50am)

All Shuter St. residents will have to compromise in order to accommodate protected bike lanes: on-street parking will be reduced by 55% or 133 spaces. It will become more challenging for everyone – Canada Post, Fed Ex, UPS, home repair contractors, visitors’ parking, etc – to continue to provide services to Shuter St residents. It seems only fair to ask Nelson Mandela school to similarly make minor adjustments, to ensure the Shuter St protected bike lane is as safe as possible.

St. David St already has a 35m designated school bus loading zone. There is an entrance to the school on the north side, easily accessible from St. David St. This street gets slower car traffic, and much less traffic volume, than Shuter St. Some school bus activity already happens on St David St, where it is safer for students. Our school trustee Chris Moise was asked to relocate all school buses to St. David St, but the school board (TDSB) refused this request.

As a result:

  • at the eastern end of Nelson Mandela School where the bus loading zone will remain, adjacent to the curb, the westbound bike lane will not be protected. Cyclists will have to ride immediately adjacent to west-bound car traffic (see closeup of draft pavement marking plan: area shaded in red shows bus loading zone where bike lane is unprotected)
     
  • in order to accommodate a 35m school bus loading zone on Shuter, new design standards for bike lanes means that 7-8 parking spots need to be eliminated immediately opposite, on the south side of Shuter.

Disappointing that the school won’t make a minor compromise to increase cycling safety by allowing the entirety of the bike lane to be protected.

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website cleanup

Likely no one noticed, but the WordPress “theme” for this site “broke” 3 months ago; I finally managed to fix it. At the same time, I scanned the site for broken links and fixed a few of them. Although some linked websites have since been deleted, the links remain here, as a historical record. For a few deleted sites, links have been provided to archived information.

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Contaminated soil in Regent Park

The Regent Park Athletic Fields were not part of the original plan for Regent Park redevelopment – the city’s plan published in 2004 showed new apartment buildings on this site (see image: page 10 of presentation, or view complete document in Powerpoint or PDF format)

So why the change in plans? Prior to the construction of the original Regent Park, this land was industrial. The city and Regent Park developer never advised the community whether this land was deemed too polluted for residential use. They simply boasted a 2012 announcement of “new sports facilities with support from the MLSE Team Up Foundation”.

“Based on review of the available historical information, the first developed use of the Site occurred in the 1840s. From the 1840s to the early 1910s, the Phase One Property was comprised of a mixture of residential and commercial properties. A review of historical sources indicates that the Canadian Ornamental Iron Co. factory was present at the Site and the adjacent properties to the east from the early 1910s to the late 1950s. The current outdoor hockey rink and associated changeroom / compressor building were constructed in the mid/late 1970s to early 1980s. The Booth Coulter Copper & Brass Co. Ltd. factory was present on the neighbouring property to the south from the early 1900s to the early 1960s. A foundry, copper shop, and brass finishing room were all present inside this factory.”

In 2014, a drainage pond was dug (was this to leach contaminants from the soil ?). Lots of contaminated soil was removed and clean soil trucked in, as required by the Ministry of the Environment (MoE). However, the soil located immediately below the existing hockey rink was not tested; it is possible that this soil is equally contaminated.

Additional photos of Athletic Field

Just west of the hockey rink is a new 12 story seniors residential building: the Sumach (Chartwell) building. Is the Chartwell site just as contaminated as the Athletic Field? No info in the MoE database, but maybe no environmental testing was required here since no change in use (previously residential). However, a 6 foot deep gravel filled pit and mysterious drainage tubes were installed immediately south (corner of Sumach + Shuter), once building construction was complete. Every few weeks during the fall of 2019, a GFL environmental tanker truck appeared at the site of these drainage tubes, and stayed for a few hours each time – removing contaminants perhaps; who knows? (Just west of the Chartwell is the school, where contaminated? soil was excavated and removed in 2012.)

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Shuter St history

The map on the left is a reproduction from the 1858 book “The hand-book of Toronto“. It shows North Park St, running from Sumach to 1 block west of Berkeley. (Also this map shows a street called Sidenham, located just N of Queen, running 1 block between Berkeley and Parliament.)

19031858

In 1870, North Park St was renamed Sydenham St; see 1903 map, above. (This is one of the fire insurance plans published by Charles Goad, which provided detailed information about buildings and neighbourhoods.) Sydenham was a quiet 2 lane street; Park Public School (now Nelson Mandela School) appears in this May 23 1952 photo of Sydenham street, looking east (River street is in the distance). Compare to photo taken at the same location, in early 2000s.

2000’s1952

In 1953, Shuter St was extended east, by jogging south slightly to align with Sydenham, which was renamed Shuter. Presumably, it was widened to 4 lanes at that time.

On this 1967 map, the street running from Tracey to Sackville, between Queen and Sumach, not yet shown. When that new street was constructed, it was named Sydenham St.

19671952, Sherbourne, looking E to Shuter

In 1999, Shuter was narrowed to 2 lanes, painted bike lanes were added, as well as street parking on the south side of Shuter, east of Parliament. One downside was that the street was never cleaned (winter or summer), due to street parking. As with bike lanes elsewhere in the city, cars and construction vehicles often park in the bike lane; the lane was sometimes illegally obstructed with construction materials, or by film crews. The city is planning to install protected bike lanes on Shuter in 2020.

For more historical information and photos of the original Sydenham St, see

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Queen River Secondary Plan

The city’s 2002 Official Plan identifies this area as “regeneration”. No other planning guidelines exist, so a detailed secondary plan is a good thing for neighbourhood, to better ensure new developments are compatible (otherwise, without any detailed city planning guidelines, a developer could go directly to OMB with plans for any type of development). To date, most residential development in this area has been 2-3 storey townhouses (with the exception of Vinegar Lofts and Malt House Lofts). City planning had public meetings on June 28, 2012 and Jan 24, 2013. As of Dec 2013, still no final planning report! Likely the city’s strategy is to delay completion of this plan while it charges ahead with Regent Park rezoning. By the time the folks living in 3 storey townhouses in Queen-River “wake up”, it will be too late for them to complain about the wall of 30 storey condos approved for Regent Park’s River street border.

Update, Jan 2020):

link for Queen River Secondary Plan

list of all City of Toronto Secondary Plans (more detailed local development policies to guide growth and change in a defined area of the city)

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school re-opens

After 2 years of renovations (and $8 million over budget), Nelson Mandela Park Public School finally reopened March 19, 2013. The school’s official opening was June 10, 2013; no one from the community was invited (although we endured 2 years of construction noise).

This building has a lot of history, so we’re grateful that it was preserved. To learn more about the history of the school, built in 1915, see pages 8-24 of the heritage application.

It wasn’t a surprise to us that the school wasn’t ready for the original planned opening in Sept 2012. At a June 2012 meeting with the school trustee’s assistant Beth Butcher and the school project manager Hasan Mohammed, the neighbourhood was assured the school renovation was on schedule for opening in only 3 months. New windows had been installed on the 2nd and 3rd floor, but the old windows still remained on the 1st floor. We emailed the school principal and the trustee on June 28 and asked “why the windows and window ledges on 1st floor will not be replaced?” – no reply.

One of the last activities – landscaping and sodding the front yard of the school -happened on Aug 16-20. At yet 2 days later, there was a sudden decision to delay re-opening the school; “soil contamination” seems to be an excuse made up at the last minute.

The trustee (and her staff) should assume some responsibility for this – how many other $20mm $30 million TDSB projects were underway in her ward? Sounds like Sheila Ward is passing the buck: “We need to ask whose responsibility it was to blow the whistle.”

cost overrun report

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TDSB flaunts tree protection (just like TCHC)

How tree protection works, as practised by TDSB

  • Day 1: start excavation without putting protective fence around base of healthy tree which would delimit root area where soil shouldn’t be disturbed. Citizen complaint made on day 1 at 9am by phone, photos also emailed to tree protection office.
  • Day 2-6: Dig down 4-5 feet using power equipment, very close to base of the tree, to cause lots of root damage.
  • Day 7: Replace soil, and firmly compact using power equipment, to further damage roots.
  • Day 8: Stop soil compaction activities when partially done, use chain saw to cut down tree entirely, dig out tree stump, load tree branches and stump into a bin and haul away all evidence of tree. Three hours later: no longer any evidence that tree was healthy, or even existed! (Citizen made followup call to 311 when tree removal started: advised that no update from tree protection office since original “day 1” complaint.)

So many of the city bylaws are enforced “by complaint”. Why bother complaining, if the city can’t / won’t respond? (Compare to TDSB’s tree caper in March 2011.)

These photos, taken Dec 13 and Dec 20, show exterior “landscaping” as part of the renovation of Nelson Mandela Park Public School.

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more dirt

It’s obvious that the problem of significant construction dirt on Shuter St is not taken seriously by Councillor McConnell or by TCHC. Dirt control techniques promised 9 months ago for the Sackville St entrance to the Regent Park construction site were not implemented. That street is now torn up and trucks drive directly from a field of mud onto Shuter St.

In other downtown construction sites, staff use hand shovels and brooms to immediately remove large clumps of mud from the road and sidewalk – but the city-owned TCHC is seemingly too lax to enforce the same standards here. Trefann emailed Pam McConnell in Oct 2011 to complain about construction dirt; her executive assistants heard the same complaint during 2012 at meetings they attended Feb 29 and June 26 – and last month, when questioned at a Nov 6 neighbourhood meeting, Pam replied she had “no knowledge” of this problem. Bullshit!

Posted in development, environment, Regent Park | Leave a comment