Westbank has built a practice around long-term commitments to artistry, sustainability and city-building. These commitments underlie an orientation towards projects like Woodwards, Vancouver House, Mirvish Village, Telus Garden and Oakridge – catalysts for larger change that go beyond the borders of the projects themselves. We are here to create. To provoke. To ignite. We are the vehicle for a new movement of cultural expression.

As the practice matures, we have become more ambitious. With every new project reflecting our commitment to the philosophy behind Gesamkunstwerk, or in our recent work the Japanese philosophy behind layering, the net effect is that our work becomes much more complex and far-reaching.

The core of Westbank’s mission is to create a body of work with a high degree of artistry that helps foster more equitable and beautiful cities. Westbank is active across Canada and in the United States, with projects including luxury residential, Five Star hotels, retail, office, rental, district energy systems, affordable housing initiatives and public art. Established in 1992, we are one of North America’s leading developers, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Seattle, Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and over 25 billion dollars of projects completed or under development.

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Reimagining Mirvish Village

There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace

With Mirvish Village we seek to redefine what can be achieved—and what should increasingly be expected—for large-scale mixed-use projects.

There are moments in the arc of any city’s history that play pivotal roles in shaping its physical form and character and ultimately, its success as a place to live. Over two centuries these moments have combined to shape Toronto as we know it today: diverse, thriving, creative, tolerant and vital. Westbank was attracted to Toronto because of the rich layers of its previous city-building, and we have been inspired to shape a project worthy of this legacy.

“They have a lot of energy and a lot of vision…something very exciting could happen in this neighbourhood. There are very few opportunities to bring this size of land together and do something creative with it.”
David Mirvish on Westbank, The Globe and Mail, October 27 2013

After a year of engaging neighbourhood residents, the local business community and hundreds of other stakeholders in conversations about their aspirations and concerns, as well as about the opportunities inherent in such a unique site, we have produced a vision for a comprehensive community with purpose-designed rental housing at its heart. Our proposal is unlike any other recent Toronto development because the ideas and values that shape it are different.

Mirvish Village is conceived as a designed-from-the-inside-out rental community, one that will eventually be home to over 2000 Torontonians. Some apartments will be available at below-market rents and almost half will be designed for families. Instead of generic retail space, the Village will be anchored by a true market hall and large live music venue – both future neighbourhood institutions.

Instead of architecture that is monolithic, Mirvish Village will be an innovative collection of smaller buildings with a fine grain character and generous public spaces that put pedestrians and community interaction first. Instead of the token retention of façades, we will conserve most of the Victorian homes on Markham Street, renewing them as key portions of a vital and diverse residential/retail community. Similarly, rather than superficial nods towards sustainability, we have collaborated with Creative Energy, our recently acquired district energy business, on a strategy that will see Mirvish Village exceed the highest building performance targets and increase the resiliency of Toronto’s electrical grid by incorporating a district energy node with on-site electricity generation.

What we are striving for at Mirvish Village is to create a pivotal moment in Toronto’s history: a needed conversation about how large development proposals can be less fixated on what is merely required, and more inspired by the enormous potential they represent.

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