King warming stations

Warming stations coming to King Street

Tuesday marks the launch of Toronto's Everyone is King design competition, which will eventually see a whole host of new, "vibrant, animated public spaces" installed along King Street between Bathurst and Jarvis.

The spaces, of which there are 19 in total, will be located in curb lanes where car traffic has already been restricted by the King Street Pilot Project.

Local businesses, professionals, students, community groups and other interested citizens are encouraged to submit their ideas for parklets and public installations along King Street to the city beginning today.

The winning designs will launch this spring, according to The City of Toronto, but first, there will be fire.

"The city will also introduce warming stations, ice sculptures, fire performers and art installations in the short term," wrote Mayor John Tory and Ward 37 Councillor Michael Thompson in a Star editorial on Tuesday.

The short-term curb lane features are meant to "animate these spaces in the winter months," as well as promote local businesses along King Street throughout the pilot project.

"While the pilot was an undeniably necessary step to try to introduce better transit on a busy route," wrote Tory and Thompson, "we have been hearing from some local businesses with concerns that these changes could be impacting their bottom line."

"The city is collecting data on sidewalk traffic, point of sale transactions and other metrics, but we must also do more to make sure everyone knows King St. is open for business."

Plans for the 19 new public spaces and design competition appeared on the city's website weeks ago, but Tory announced a new measure aimed at driving local business this morning.

A new program called "Eats on King" will promote local quick and full-service restaurants in and around the King Street Pilot, according to Tory, between Feb. 19 and March 29.

It'll be interesting to see how much of an impact warming stations alone have on King Street restaurants and stores during this painfully cold and relentless winter.

At the very least, they'll make waiting for streetcars on King more comfortable. Hurrah for that!

Lead photo by

David Lussier


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