The John Street Community Pilot Project plan calls for the temporary narrowing of the roadway with the space given over to a public sidewalk-café-like seating area surrounded by flowers and crowned with festive lights strung from one side of the street to the other. The pilot project will bring animated life to the street and provide a gateway to the John St. Farmers’ Market and the Best of Weston Multicultural Festival.
John Street, a secondary retail area that was once the connector to the market space at the railway station, is an important part of Weston’s heritage.
The project is one of the first ‘quick-start’ initiatives to emerge as identified during the Weston 2021 Technical Assistance Panel (TAP), conducted by The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Toronto’s District Council together with its two public-sector partners, the City of Toronto and Metrolinx. As part of a greater City of Toronto Weston 2021, the ULI TAP program was developed to bring together the finest industry expertise to determine how to best leverage the upcoming Metrolinx transportation hub and help start the revitalization of the neighbourhood.
The Air Rail Link, a division of Metrolinx, will begin stopping in Weston in 2015 en route between downtown Toronto and Pearson International Airport. John Street will be closed to vehicular traffic at the rail crossing and a new pedestrian bridge will be constructed to connect the community across the GO rail corridor. The TAP Panel envisioned John Street west of the track as a potential market district.
In December 2011, ULI Toronto District Council, in partnership with Metrolinx and the City of Toronto, was selected as part of an international competition for ULI’s 75th Anniversary Urban Innovation Fund for their joint submission titled John Street Revitalization/Streetscape Plan. The grant of $23,750, matched by partner organizations, is to inject between $75,000 and $85,000 to kick-start urban development and renewal of Weston Village. The complete revitalization plan was designed by Toronto-based DTAH.