Toromont Unveils Masterplan South of Vaughan Metropolitan Centre
Sept. 12, 2023
Vaughan's urban transformation, fuelled by its increased connectivity to the rest of the Greater Toronto Area through the recent subway extension, is set to receive a significant boost with Toromont Industries' masterplan for the redevelopment of their long-held industrial site at 3131 Highway 7. Situated on the south side of the road opposite where the first towers of Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) have risen, this proposal presents a move to remake this vast acreage as part of this York Region city's downtown.
Historically, the area surrounding 3131 Highway 7 has been a blend of low-rise industrial and commercial spaces. The shift towards a more mixed-use landscape with plenty of residential sees the developers catering to the housing demand in the GTA. While this site has served as Toromont's head office and provided space for their operations for years, with the arrival of the subway here in the last decade, the value of the land has outstripped its current use.
Toromont Industries Ltd is a major player in Canada's specialized equipment sector, and has played a pivotal role in powering essential industries across the country and into the US, ranging from providing equipment and longterm servicing for the mining landscapes of the north to urban construction hubs. With a history that began in 1961, Toromont's name reflects Canada's two major commerce centres at the time; Toronto and Montreal. Over the past six decades, the company has expanded its footprint, acquiring multiple franchises and businesses.
Designed by WZMH Architects, the redevelopment spans an expansive 8.6 acre/3.48ha site, encompassing a blend of residential, commercial, and public spaces. The highlight, undoubtedly, is a proposed 79-storey tower, that, upon completion, would be the tallest yet at VMC. However, the sheer scale of the project goes beyond this singular tower. The masterplan envisions a total of 1,328 residential units in its first three phases, 24,336m² of commercial office space, and 3,300m² of retail area.
The site is a mere three-minute walk from Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station on University Line 1, via an extension of its underground concourse. A VIVA bus rapid transit stop sits immediately above the station, while the SmartVMC regional bus terminal is just another couple minutes walk north, situating the property by a nexus of connectivity. This transit-oriented development approach aligns with sustainable urban planning principles, promoting reduced vehicular reliance and encouraging a pedestrian-centric environment.
The City of Vaughan's vision for the VMC area is a dynamic, active, and diverse downtown. With major investments in high-order transit, VMC is poised to become a hub of increasing activity. The City's Secondary Plan projects a minimum addition of 12,000 residential units and 8,000 jobs to VMC, continuing its shift from its low-rise, low-density commercial and industrial character. The nascent burgeoning urban core of VMC stands to gain further momentum from this expansion of its development area. Toromont Industries Ltd says their vision dovetails with the City's aspirations, promising a tailored, holistic urban evolution of the site, arguing that economically, this development would be a significant job creator, both during its construction phase and post-completion with an influx of businesses, retailers, and more residents. The Toromont proposal was brought before Vaughan's Design Review Panel in late July, 2023.
While SmartCentres dominates VMC northwest of the Jane and 7 intersection, and Cortel dominates to the northeast, the South VMC area dominated by QuadReal and Menkes is already witnessing a surge in high-rise developments, several soaring above 50 storeys. Other players are in the area as well, including Graywood with 55-storey towers at 11 Interchange Way and Plaza at at 216 Doughton Road to the southeast of Jane and 7 at 52 storeys. These developments and several more nearby by other developers collectively signal a shift towards high-density urban living in this new centre of Vaughan.
UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.