Where should highrises go downtown? Take the survey

Open houses July 10 & 13

Where should highrises go downtown? Take the survey

Residents know where they do – and don’t – want tall buildings in the downtown: not on the Lakeshore or the core, but perhaps on Brant St north of Victoria toward Fairview.

At a recent workshop, residents had the option of picking one of four areas for tall buildings. Area #1 – North Brant – got the most interest, though some (myself included) have suggested moving the boundaries further up Brant, instead of Victoria to Maria, as shown.

Have your say on downtown development by taking the survey here: Downtown Mobility Hub

In general, residents have said so far:

  • Respect existing character and scale of Brant Street
  • Keep existing Official Plan permissions
  • Downtown is pleasant because of the mix of heights
  • Brant Street is critical to get right
  • Future tall buildings should not be taller than what exists
  • Land assembly requirements make development very challenging; not as many opportunities as it appears

Regarding development, residents have said:

  • Focus growth to “North Brant Street” and the Brant Street “Spine”
  • Mid-rise south Baldwin/Victoria on Brant Street
  • Develop “North” Brant Street to preserve character of the “spine” of Brant Street
  • John and Elizabeth Streets could have taller buildings of 6-8 stories
  • South of Caroline Street, Brant Street should be 2-4 stories
  • Towers should be set back/terraced from Brant Street
  • Brant Street should not be lined, both sides, with tall buildings.

The workshops are part of the city’s Official Plan review. The review will create a new plan, to guide future development. There are several specific studies underway as part of the review, including development around “mobility hubs.” The city’s three GO stations, and the downtown, are mobility hubs, where a variety of transportation options exist, and the goal is mixed use development with green space.

Based on feedback to date, two high level concept plans were developed for the downtown, one showing tall buildings closer to Lakeshore, and the other showing tall buildings north on Brant. See the concepts here: Conceptual Building Heights Cross Section

Learn more about those concepts and share your thoughts at an upcoming Open House.

Downtown Concepts Open Houses

  • Monday, July 10 at Central Library (Centennial Hall), 2331 New St. from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 13 at Burlington City Hall (room 247), 426 Brant St from 2 to 4 p.m.

You can also share your feedback directly with staff via email:

Additional information is available online here, including staff and consultant presentations and supporting materials: Downtown Mobility Hub Study

Next steps are as follows:

Sept 7:
  • Staff present preferred concept and draft policy at public meeting, 7pm, Art Gallery of Burlington, 1333 Lakeshore Rd. W.
 Sept. 28:
  • Staff present a recommended land use scenario and associated Policy to City Council at Committee of the Whole meeting (public can attend, but not delegate). 1-3 pm, City Hall, Rm 247


  • Staff deliver initial policy directions to be incorporated into the new Official Plan

June 2018:

  • Staff present Final Downtown Area Specific Plan to City Council
My Take:
Some key principles for me in any development of the downtown will be to enhance public parks, greenspace and street trees or other landscaping, ensure family friendly developments, preserve public access to the waterfront, conserve heritage assets during redevelopment, and promote a vibrant mix of retail, restaurants and commercial offerings. Tall buildings are better suited north on Brant, north of Victoria, where roads and sidewalks are wider, taller buildings already exist with ample space for setbacks, and there is easier access to the GO station, major roads and highways.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.


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  1. Down town has it’s own caracter as it is now, or do we go for the brand new clean look like Toronto high rises everywhere all concrete and green glass.I know what I would prefer that is keep it low rise downtown.

  2. Do believe that the city could purchase an easterly portion of the Waterfront Hotel property, extending the park area to aesthetically offset the pier. Presently the pier looking at it from above, and from the road, appears to be strangled to the one side because of the present Waterfront Hotel structure. Now, going forward with a designers look, would be to attain equal park (or as much as possible) on each side of the pier, from roadside to lake. Burlington would be the envy of all other lakefront developments because we have a strong vision for the future of our city’s waterfront prestige area. Many thanks.

  3. I agree that we should NOT have tall buildings in the downtown core. They should be further north on Brant. One respondent said the area near Cap Brick, which is also close to the GO station. What a novel idea…close to transit and it wouldn’t be as congested as it is now. There are evenings I like to walk in the core and can’t because of all the people…and it isn’t even a weekend…once the buildings already slated to be built are, it will be an even bigger nightmare of traffic congestion as well as no where to walk for all the people. The CIty really messed that up. Lakeshore right now is a mess of back to back traffic during the evenings…thank goodness I know the back streets and can find my way home without traveling along Lakeshore, New or Fairview.

  4. I couldn’t open the photo of the various areas, so could not answer that question

  5. Common sense prevails! I agree with you Marianne on keeping low buildings at lakefront/lakeshore road, and down Brant Street on both sides, to no closer than Ghent/Prospect. If we don’t keep the “present old style stigma of a DOWNTOWN, with smaller quaint buildings, then the area would only have a recognition of being”Lakeshore and Brant Street”. The unique feel, looks and shopping of a “downtown ” will have lost its historic beauty and name. In saying that, I don’t mean to keep the existing buildings, but have new buildings built that are replicas of the past. These of course will not be hi-rises on both sides of Brant to Victoria, if that could be possible. Thank you.

  6. Hi Marianne Meed Ward
    I started the survey, but areas go blank while rying to answer some of the questions. I.e. areas 1, 2, 3, and 4 do not show up on the map to select an area or answer the question properly?? Please respond Thank you.

  7. Does this mean you will vote what the majority of constituents want or what you want if they differ. From your comments uncertain. The Mobility Hub survey based on my university experinec in survey creation seems very slanted and will get them the answers they want especialy the last questions. A priority for me downtown is sufficient number of folks residing to support business so we do not have empty business with broken windows as currently is the case a brant and elgin and was very common not that many years ago before any of the current high rise towers were built.

What's your take?