The city is planning to build an entire residential neighborhood in the centre of the city as part of a plan to transform its suburban streetscape.
Urban Habitat is set to be built on the outskirts of Toronto and will be one of the largest residential developments in the city, which already has an entire city park.
City officials say the project will include about 1,500 new homes, including about 600 in condos and apartments, with more than 200,000 square metres of office space and around 500,000 sq metres of retail space.
The project has been pitched as a “game-changer” by Mayor Rob Ford, who said he wanted the city to “put itself back into the game”.
The plan is expected to be unveiled in a public hearing on Tuesday.
But the project is being put on hold until it can be examined by a special council committee.
Ford said it was the city’s job to create jobs and improve the quality of life in the suburbs, and that “this is the right thing to do”.
“It’s not about building a luxury condo tower in the middle of Toronto, it’s about rebuilding neighbourhoods,” he said.
“I’ve been saying this for a long time.
We can’t build a city in the heart of the suburbs.”
The controversial plan is being developed by developer JL Construction and is the first phase of a $2.4 billion urban development project.
It will see residential towers built along the city centre along a new “green corridor” stretching across the city.
Mayor Ford has previously pledged to tear up many of Toronto’s streetscape, including the city parks, to make way for the development.
A public hearing into the project was held in late March and was attended by councillors from a variety of political parties.
Some of those who spoke at the hearing said the city needed to take the issue seriously and build a new model of urban development, similar to the city that has emerged in Vancouver.
They said there was a “massive gap” between what Toronto’s residents want and what is possible.
One member of the public, a former municipal councillor, said he would like to see more housing and retail on the periphery of the core of the neighbourhood, rather than the central portion of the residential neighbourhood.
“We need to put our money where our mouth is and let’s put our housing where our mouths are,” the councillor said.
The developer is also planning to add about 150 new apartments to the residential section of the project.
The city is already developing a “green corridors” on the city outskirts that will see a total of 1,000 new residential units built, with 1,300 to be constructed on the east side of the urban development.