GARA brings together and advocates for everyone living in the Grandview Area of Thornhill in the city of Markham, Ontario.
Our neighbourhood stretches from Yonge Street to Bayview Avenue and Steeles Avenue to the CN rail line.
We welcome you to our site and look forward to hearing from you.

Bill 23: Why It Matters

Members of the GARA Executive are very concerned about the passage of Bill 23 which will have serious negative impacts on critical areas of the  Greenbelt and farmlands, and will  put a significantly increased tax burden on all GTA residents. There have been so many changes, it has been hard to keep track of them all and realize how they fit together. Environmental Defence has helped make sense of it all in this summary.

Bill 23 is not just about the Greenbelt or farmland. It means a significant loss of incoming municipal funds through development charges, parkland dedication and community benefit charges that will, in turn, place a much greater burden on the city to fund services and infrastructure projects necessary to support future residential development. This loss of revenue will be made up by an increase in the municipal taxes we pay. The city of Markham estimates are 50-80% for a tax increase, which would be between $600-$1000 each year on every property owner.

The GARA Executive will continue to seek out opportunities to join the grassroots resistance to this bill and invite community members to join us. For more information click here.

The Latest Neighbourhood Development Proposal

For some years, GARA has been monitoring the application by the Zonix Group to develop the area between  Steeles and Highland Park and between Dudley and Willowdale  (36-48 Steeles Avenue East and 37-49 Highland Park Blvd).  The original plans have now been put aside.  The new application calls for two residential buildings, including:  Building A (fronting Steeles Avenue East), a 27-storey building with a nine-storey podium (407 units); Building B (fronting Highland Park),  a six-storey residential building (126 units). FSI (Floor Space Index) refers to the maximum permitted area on a piece of land for construction. Comparing these plans to other recent developments World on Yonge has a FSI of 3.5 and Vanguard 3.4.

Since the application does not conform to current zoning for our area, the developer has chosen to apply to the Ontario Land Tribunal for permission to override municipal restrictions.  A video case conference has been set for Monday, February 6th. GARA Executive members will attend.  If you would like further information please contact us.

The planning documents submitted by Zonix  are availabe hereAlso, with thanks to Councillor Irish, the table below summarizes some of the critical issues.

Project Lot Area FSI Units Parking GFA

Residential

GFA

Commercial

Description Other
Zonix Group Inc 0.9143 ha

(2.26 ac)

5.32 533 513 (800 required) + 397 bicycle spaces 48, 610 m2

(523,232 sf)

N/A

(Removed in second submission on which  the appeal is based)

Two residential buildings including:

Building A (fronting Steeles Ave E.) a 27 storey building with a nine storey podium;

Building B (Fronting Highland Park Ave) a six storey residential building (126 units)

 

OLT appeal March 30, 2022;

Case Management Conference February 6, 2023

Did you miss GARA's AGM?

Members of   GARA and our guests recently enjoyed  our virtual  Annual General Meeting. Graham Churchill, Director with Ontario Federation of Neighbourhoods, was the keynote speaker. The audience very much appreciated his presentation entitled "Sprawl, Tall, and Infill: Are these really our only options?" A recording of the meeting is  available here.

A Year in the Life of our Neighbourhood

For GARA, this has been a wonderful, busy, busy year. A year of community coming back together again.

The GARA Executive looks back on a year of accomplishment and fun!

Thanks to the tireless work of the volunteer Hosers, we began the year with the rink at the park ready for the traditional Family Skate Day.  A very welcome return after three years!

Spring brought out our volunteers for a clean-up in the woodlot and we hosted a Provincial all candidates meeting.

The start of summer brought the Sunshine Fair and official Park opening organized jointly by GARA and the Henderson Ave. Public School Parent Council.   Hundreds of our neighbours enjoyed a a great day.

During the summer, every month Peter Cox, the GARA Garden Guy, organized fascinating nature walks with a different expert each time.  He also offered garden consultations.  Having coordinated the donation of over 200 native trees and shrubs, he raised a small army of high school students to help plant them in spring and fall.

By fall, it was time for us to organize the all-candidates meeting for the upcoming municipal election.

GARA's work wasn't all fun and games. We produced and distributed two editions of the newsletter. We worked closely with Markham staff to ensure that the park is well maintained and safe. We also supported other residents associations regarding issues such as the subway alignment, development in neighbouring areas, going to meetings and preparing presentations regarding local redevelopment, zoning and the Committee of Adjustment. The fall also saw us hosting an all candidates meeting for the municipal elections.

 

Coming Together and Getting to Know Each Other Better

Let’s get to know one another! How can we build an even better community? Tell us your thoughts.

Most of us on the GARA Executive have lived here for many years.  We work with GARA because we feel our neighbourhood is important to take care of and enjoy the sense of community.  However, we also know the 2016 census said that 40% of residents have moved to the neighbourhood within the last five years.  We believe old neighbours and new have a great deal in common.  We have come here looking for so many of the same things.  We asked ourselves how can we connect and get to know each other.

To start to build those plans, we have created a neighbourhood survey that we ask you all to complete.  Please take a few minutes to complete and encourage neighbours to join in too.