The twin towers at Slessor Square will dominate the skyline in Newmarket. No doubt about it.

But their overbearing bulk and mass will be more intrusive in some places rather than others.

After some prompting by the Town, the developers have agreed to produce a “viewshed analysis” giving a view of the twin towers from selected vantage points around town.

But who selects the vantage points?

These views can dramatically influence our impression of the street scene.

The Newmarket Visualisation Study, published in 2010, (see Newmarket documents section) takes eight locations around town and paints a picture of what they will look like as change occurs (emerging street scene) and at the end of the day (full build out).

In Section 3.3.1 we are given an impression of what the view from Davis Drive looking towards Yonge Street will look like at full build out.

I don’t see the 20 storey condominium at the junction of Davis and George that was given approval by the Council in 2009.

Is it there somewhere? Perhaps lurking behind a tree?

I’d like to see the Visualisation Study updated to take account of planning approvals already granted and those – like Slessor Square – that are in the pipeline.

At the moment, it suggests a future Newmarket with a variety of interesting medium rise buildings.

Not too many looming towers, if any.

It gives a false impression of what is on the horizon.

Back to the drawing board!

Regardless of how the developer refers to or advertises that the Slessor Site will be 23 and 26 storeys. 


As of March 1st, it has been confirmed with the Town of Newmarket Planning Department that the application is unchanged from 29 storeys!

So why are they insisting that the maximum height is 26 storeys including the commercial podiums when their application hasn't changed?

29 Storeys!  That is 3 times less a floor of the condos at Yonge and William Roe.  They are 10 storeys!  Three times the height!  This blogger can't even imagine it.  We are not the city, but the Town of Newmarket.

The Official Plan that has been mandated, is to increase population for Newmarket, by 13,000 by the year 2031.  But it's a big corridor. If you look at the official map for intensification it streaches from Green Lane to Mulock along Yonge, and From Yonge to almost Leslie along Davis.

  We already have approved a 20 and 12 storey at Yonge and George.  There are sites at Yonge and Eagle, Yonge and Millard (17 storeys applied for, not sure where that stands at this point).  This blogger has also heard, but cannot confirm as fact, that the Liquor Store and Shoppers Drug Mart at Yonge and Davis will be gone, and replaced with Condos, maybe they'll be commercial on the bottom.  The Pickle Barrel is only a 10 year build and will be replaced with Condos, maybe they'll be on the bottom .  The corner of Yonge and Davis that has Chapters etc, will be replaced with condos with the retail as the base.  The List goes on.  Who knows whats in the works that we aren't aware of yet!

So if we have to reach an additional population of 13,000 by 2031, with a huge corridor to intensify why would we consider putting 1600 people on one site??  This blogger believes that the density should be spread out. 

That being said, how will the traffic be handled?  That's for another blog.  But I sure won't be taking transit to lug my multiple bags of groceries home.  Will you?

Every time you leave Upper Canada Mall and head north or south onto Yonge Street, take a look at the Slessor site directly on the other side of Yonge and look at the sky beyond that site, take a good look, because that view may soon be gone forever.

Imagine having to look at the colossal structure everyday as you walk, stroll, run, bike or drive past these buildings.

Every time you leave Upper Canada Mall and head north or south onto Yonge Street, take notice of the traffic.  If you think it’s busy now…. Just imagine once Slessor Square is complete that approximately an additional 1200 vehicles or more may be added to the mix. 

Imagine it taking two or three times as long to drive from Yonge and Davis to Yonge and Greenlane.

Every time you leave Upper Canada Mall and head north or south onto Yonge Street ….

Imagine living on the other side of those towers and not having the same amount of sunshine in your yard. Imagine having to leave your own yard to find sunshine.

Soon, unless we are heard we won’t have to imagine it anymore, we’ll just have to live with it. 



On Monday 27 February Councillors will consider yet another departure from the Town’s Official Plan.

This time, the focus of attention is 55 Eagle Street.

Millford Development Ltd want an Official Plan and a Zoning By Law amendment to expand the boundaries of the Provincial Urban Centre allowing them to build a 12 storey apartment building and 38 town homes and to permit increased height and density.

It all sounds very familiar.

A series of ad hoc decisions on individual applications – each decided, no doubt, on its own merits -  makes a mockery of the Town’s Official Plan which is supposed to provide consistency of approach.

Each approval colours in another bit of the map of Newmarket.

And, crucially, they establish precedents.

The policies set out in the Plan count for nothing if they can be set aside at the drop of a hat.

The councillors end up taking decisions on a case by case basis.

And with every Plan busting application that is voted through, it becomes ever more difficult to hold the line at 8 storeys – the Official Plan’s notional maximum height for buildings in Newmarket.

The developers are also asking the Council to remove a Natural Heritage Designation on part of the site to allow the development to proceed as envisaged.

The developers also seem to have neglected to address the issue of affordable housing. A point noted by planning staff.

The details of the Eagle Street application are set out in the agenda of the Committee of the Whole (Council) on 27 February.

Does the Slessor Square development deliver affordable housing?

Curiously, there was no mention of affordable housing in the original Slessor application that went before the Council in November last year. 

Now we are told there will be affordable housing. The developers say that fully 55% will be selling below the "affordability" threshold set by York Region, currently an eye watering $400,000.

However the figures relate only to the higher of the twin towers - the Phase II Adult Lifestyle Condominiums.

And, presumably, the less expensive units will be smaller than the more expensive ones.

You can find the details in the Documents section of this website. Click on Developer's Documents.