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2010 Brownfields

City of Toronto, Ontario

Adaptive Reuse of the Industrial Heritage Wychwood Car Barns

An excellent example of early 20th century industrial architecture, the Wychwood Car Barns site in midtown Toronto was used for many years by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to repair and maintain its streetcar fleet. The TTC vacated the premises in the 1980s and the property (five attached brick buildings built between 1913 and 1921 on a four-acre site) was left derelict for many years. Little progress was made in revitalizing the contaminated site until environmental and cultural objectives were established through an extensive community consultation process and a feasibility study. Rather than selling the property to a private developer, the city envisioned a balance of cultural, environmental and educational uses for the Barns.

With support from FCM’s Green Municipal Fund™, the resulting project made it the first designated heritage site in Canada to seek LEED® Gold certification for redevelopment, and transformed it into a multifaceted community centre and public park where arts and culture, environmental leadership, heritage preservation, urban agriculture and affordable housing come together to foster a strong sense of community. By respecting and preserving the historic buildings and adapting them for new uses, the project also brought city staff together in a collaborative effort that inspired creativity and commitment to work cooperatively across many departments and to partner with the community in new ways.


  • 7,400 m3 of contaminated soil removed during site remediation
  • 71% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  • Approximately 90 per cent of the above-grade space will receive natural light.
  • First designated heritage site in Canada with LEED® Gold certification for redevelopment.


Page Updated: 21/12/2015