Etobicoke is undergoing a transformation thanks to a unique partnership. Grand Central Mimico by Vandyk Properties is a massive, mixed-use development whose heart will be a modern reconstruction of the Mimico GO Station.
The entire project will consist of more than two million square feet of mixed-use development that will span four city blocks and be anchored by more than 1.85 million square feet of residential space. There will be nine buildings and about 2,500 to 3,000 homes.
Vandyk partnered with Metrolinx on the integration of the GO Station into the project, with two underground tunnels connected to the residential buildings.
Drew Sinclair, managing partner of SvN Architects + Planners, Grand Central Mimico’s master plan architects, promises an interesting and innovative residential neighbourhood.
The goal was to build a community that was aesthetically unique and centred on something that had sufficient gravity, he says.
“With this many residential blocks, development will also include the reconstruction of the roads and, when you’re reconstructing the roads and the parks, you have an opportunity to fully integrate the buildings and the landscape in a way that you wouldn’t if you were just dealing with a traditional infill block,” Sinclair says. This allows all the elements of the master-planned community to work together – the residential buildings, the green spaces and the public spaces.
The project will have a multi-use path that runs alongside the rail corridor. “We had to create the most efficient use path to traverse the site while keeping the GO Station operational and then find some means of marrying those two to create a net benefit for this immediate community,” Sinclair says.
The result is a unique landscape effect: The greenway became a broad set of public plazas with an interesting linear element that winds through the blocks.
But it’s the rail station at Grand Central Mimico that sets it apart.
“The idea that the rail is the centre of the community is the really transformative piece here. We sort of realized about halfway through our planning process that the history of Mimico, and Mimico beyond the bounds of this site, is completely tied up with the rail station. For the last 140, 150 years, there’s been a rail station on this site. There was a passenger rail station before there was a commuter rail station,” Sinclair says.
The community’s design pays homage to the location’s industrial past, with plenty of wrought iron, and traditional brick and masonry. Landscaping, public plazas and passageways – with vibrant retail space and places to dine – are designed to align with the rail hub.
“In a way, we’re kind of recreating the intensity, the type of animation that happened around rail stations in the central part of the towns that surrounded Toronto in the late 19th century and early 20th century,” Sinclair says.
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.