Heritage

Will the history of Corktown be part of the narrative of the First Parliament site?

Answer from CreateTO: During the consultation process for the Heritage Interpretation Strategy, many narrative threads were identified including the relationship of the site and its buildings to the surrounding area.  There was a definite interest in learning about the lives of the people (early settlers, residents, laborers, immigrants, etc) and how they lived so yes, Corktown was part of that narrative.

Can any future buildings replicate the original architecture or the character of the historic neighbourhood?

Answer from CreateTO: Yes, however, one of the Guiding Principles for the development of the First Parliament site is to have a design character that is sympathetic to the site's heritage and context but is contemporary and of its time.

How does the City include preservation of historical buildings and sites into new building contracts?

Answer from CreateTO: There are 3 parts to this answer: 

  1. Developments in private ownership that contain heritage resources are subject to conditions under the Ontario Heritage Act, the Planning Act, and sometimes a municipal heritage easement agreement, in addition to the provision of a letter of credit equal to the amount of the secured conservation. Commitments are also regularly referenced in other legal instruments (e.g. Section 37 agreements) and reference/drawings within the actual Zoning-By-law may be appropriate.
  2. Properties in municipal ownership are subject to designation and alteration conditions.
  3. Properties in provincial ownership are subject to internal provincial processes, standards, and guidelines, but are not required to obtain any municipal approvals or enter into any legal agreements.

First Parliament Site is of high civic and national importance. What plans are there to protect and/or investigate the archaeological heritage of the site prior to any work occurring?

Answer from Metrolinx: Metrolinx is currently putting together archaeological workplans for the First Parliament site that outline a path forward and identify opportunities to conserve and commemorate archaeological resources on site. We are working with licensed archaeologists and subject matter experts from the City, Ontario Heritage Trust, Infrastructure Ontario as well as the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation to ensure we are all aligned on the approach.

All plans will be reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries before any work begins.
Metrolinx will be carrying out a thorough and complete assessment of the entire site, which will ensure that all archaeological artifacts and features are documented and conserved. Where possible, Metrolinx will endeavour to protect archaeological features in-situ.

Archaeologists and Indigenous Community Field Liaisons will investigate the site beginning in the Summer of 2021 before construction begins.

How will the site’s rich history be honoured and addressed? How is the preservation of historical sites and buildings incorporated into the planning process and are historical bodies/groups consulted?

Answer from Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolix: The city-block between Berkeley Street and Parliament Street on the South side of Front Street East, also known as the site of First Parliament, is currently tenanted by a parking lot, a car dealership and a car wash, and has been used intensely for private and industrial purposes for over a century.

Metrolinx will consult with the City, the Ontario Heritage Trust, heritage experts from Infrastructure Ontario, the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and Indigenous Nations to develop a Heritage Interpretation and Commemoration Plan that profiles the rich history of this site.

The City of Toronto along with its partners and stakeholders have already built out a robust Heritage and Interpretation Strategy for this site. Metrolinx intends to use this work as the foundation for the overall interpretation and commemoration strategy for this site.

Metrolinx has established a First Parliament Working Group consisting of representatives from the province, Metrolinx, Infrastructure Ontario, and the Ontario Heritage Trust, as well as nine different City of Toronto departments, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and Waterfront Toronto.

In addition, the Metrolinx Ontario Line project team has started working with Indigenous communities to coordinate the involvement of Indigenous Community Field Liaisons in the archaeological assessments process.

Partners will have a deeper understanding of commemoration opportunities once archaeological work gets underway and we begin to understand what type of features and artifacts exist.

Archaeologists will investigate the site beginning in the Summer of 2021 before construction begins so that any historical artifacts can be documented and conserved.

The First Parliament Working Group will advise the Province on appropriate commemoration for the history and artifacts that may be uncovered at the site within the proposed Corktown Transit-Oriented Communities development.

Infrastructure Ontario looks forward to receiving input from the Working Group on cultural heritage commemoration that could be incorporated into a future Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) market offering of this site once all required approvals are in place.

How will the proposed developments reflect the current historic architecture and character of the St Lawrence Neighbourhood, Corktown, and Distillery communities?

Answer from Infrastructure Ontario: The Province will be consulting heritage and architectural experts on the design of the development.

The Province is looking forward to receiving input from the City on how architectural and design requirements for the area can be incorporated into open market offering documents for the site.

Following review by the City of Toronto, the Province will be engaging with the local community to gather feedback on the proposed plans to ensure they meet the needs of the community they will serve. The Province will also engage with Indigenous partners to better understand their interest in the project and plan to launch engagement in Fall 2021.

How does Metrolinx/IO intend to ensure the Ontario Heritage Trust-owned portion of the site is protected?

Answer from Metrolinx: Metrolinx is committed to working with the Ontario Heritage Trust on all steps of the archaeological process as well as a heritage interpretation and commemoration plan for the entire First Parliament site.

Some excavation will be required on this site to support construction of the future Corktown Station. However, no construction activity will begin until all archaeological assessments are completed, including uncovering any archaeological features or artifacts that may be present. Wherever possible, Metrolinx will strive to conserve these features in the places they are found.

All archaeological work will be done according to the standards and guidelines laid out by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and all plans will be reviewed and approved by the Ministry before any archaeological work begins.

Who will be leading the heritage interpretation and commemoration plan for the First Parliament Site?

Answer from Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario: The Corktown site is required for subway construction of the Ontario Line and is also the site of a proposed transit-oriented communities (TOC) development that will support local transit needs.  Metrolinx and the Province plan to work with the City of Toronto, Indigenous partners, and the local community to raise the profile of the site in downtown Toronto where Upper Canada’s first parliament buildings used to stand. While the site is now mostly occupied by a parking lot, a car rental dealership, and a car wash, we want to make sure that any history hidden under the surface is interpreted and commemorated as part of the Ontario Line design.

Archaeologists will investigate the site beginning in the Fall of 2021 before construction begins so that important features and artifacts can be documented and conserved. As archaeological work gets underway and we begin to understand what type of features and archaeological resources exist, the First Parliament Working Group will advise the Province on appropriate commemoration for the history and artifacts that may be uncovered at the site within the proposed Corktown Transit-Oriented Communities development. 

Through the First Parliament Working Group, Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario will be working with representatives of the City, the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Indigenous Nations including the Missisauagas of the Credit First Nation as treaty holder, and Infrastructure Ontario to guide the archaeological and commemorative process. This includes the development of a robust Heritage Interpretation and Commemoration Plan for this site which builds on the Heritage Interpretation Strategy and the Master Plan work led by the City and reflects the community’s input. 

Infrastructure Ontario looks forward to receiving input from the Working Group on cultural heritage commemoration that could be incorporated into a future Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) development. 

Can the province ensure their intent for the archaeological preservation components to be made more substantial as part of a museum/cultural site worthy of its historical significance?

Answer from Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario: Metrolinx has established a First Parliament Working Group consisting of representatives from Metrolinx, Infrastructure Ontario, and the Ontario Heritage Trust, as well as nine different City of Toronto departments and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. In addition, the Metrolinx Ontario Line project team has started working with Indigenous communities to coordinate the involvement of Indigenous Community Field Liaisons in the archaeological assessment process.

Once archaeological work gets underway and we begin to understand what type of features and artifacts exist, partners around the First Parliament Working Group will advise the Province on appropriate interpretation and commemoration for the history and artifacts that may be uncovered at the site within the proposed Corktown Transit-Oriented Communities development. 

Infrastructure Ontario looks forward to receiving input from the Working Group on cultural heritage commemoration that could be incorporated into a future Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) development.

Where are the archeological findings stored and where will they become public?

Answer from Metrolinx: Archaeology work will be done to identify cultural remains or heritage elements that can be conserved, protected, and commemorated, as appropriate. All artifacts and features will be cataloged and documented by qualified licensed archaeologists.  

Archaeological teams will draw from their professional knowledge and experience to determine the best way forward for any archaeological materials uncovered, while following all relevant legislation, standards, and guidelines. Monitors from Indigenous Nations will be invited to participate in all archaeological work to ensure any Indigenous archaeological resources present are treated in a culturally sensitive manner. 

Metrolinx will consult with the City, the Ontario Heritage Trust, heritage experts from Infrastructure Ontario, the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and Indigenous Nations to develop a Heritage Interpretation and Commemoration Plan that profiles the rich history of this site, building on the robust Heritage and Interpretation Strategy for this site, which was developed by the City and community.

Phone: 416-392-7903
Constituency Office: 100 Queen St W, A5, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

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