Imagining what Liberty Village might look like in 2050 need not heed to Liberty Village’s past but in fact has more to do with seeing Liberty Village as a piece to Toronto’s multi-cultural, multi-neighborhood base.
There is so much in Liberty Village that gives the neighborhood its own unique character and atmosphere. Thinking back some thirty years ago, it was the year 1987 and the Liberty Village region was entirely different from how it appears today. Hustling and bustling as a fair part of Toronto’s industrial engine, there are aspects of the neighborhood that have been retained in its current incarnation. As developments have knocked down many of the older buildings, retaining some, Liberty Village became an area in transformation. By 2050, that transformation is highly likely to have been completed.
The renewed Liberty Village in 2050 will be a land of condo developments, artistic and design investments, and among the creative capitals of the ever-expanding downtown Toronto area. Among the major gets of the Liberty Village neighborhood will be a plug-in into Toronto’s growing subway transit system. Having the city’s rapid transit system at its disposal, likely via an interpretation of the proposed SmartTrack system, residents of Liberty Village will be able to get in and out of it quick for a sports game, a concert, wintertime Christmas skating further down in the centre of the city, and for any number of work and play opportunities.
An Influx of Population
Toronto is set to grow its inner city population from currently 2.5 million to as high as 4 million people. In addition, the larger GTA is expected to maintain somewhere around 10 million people in total. As it pertains to how this may impact Liberty Village, the neighborhood will likely become a more “specified” neighborhood, appealing to a single demographic and providing a mix of amenities appealing to that base. For some, Liberty Village will be love at first sight. For others, they will likely leave for other neighborhoods.
It does not take any kind of expertise to be able to see that the inner city will continue to become more dense with major developments set in key areas including the west end. Liberty Village is likely to become a more dense area built around a transit hub, accommodating the condo developments set to be built in and around the neighborhood. The once-quiet areas of Liberty Village are going to turn into a major corridor for small boutiques and select living spaces, accommodating the interests of the area’s growing population.
Potentially more Pedestrian-Friendly Streets
There is a strong movement in Toronto urban planning right now to re-develop how the city’s streets are organized to create the most efficient city possible. As development intensifies, this is likely to produce streets in or around the Liberty Village area that are bicycle and pedestrian only. Don’t expect the whole neighborhood to go the way of no cars but some of the shorter streets may see themselves designated in this way.
More Development Elsewhere
Though development is strong in the west end, by 2050, expect much of that buzz to move elsewhere leaving Liberty Village to truly become a neighborhood with its own identity. There may still be some very strong re-development in Liberty Village but the city government will likely be focused on projects such as re-designing the Gardiner and building outwards based on the LRT lines. This is not a bad thing. As Liberty Village finds and establishes a new identity, it’s reasonable to think it a special neighborhood for the city.
Connecting Liberty Village with the PATH
Toronto’s underground network known as PATH already has long-term plans to expand to Yonge-Bloor sometime in the next few decades. If PATH is able to connect to Yonge-Bloor, we very well may see it extending as far west as Liberty Village – if not by 2050 then certainly not long after. Connecting the neighborhood to underground Toronto will prove to be a major benefit for Liberty Village, giving residents the opportunity to maybe never have to walk the winter streets of Toronto ever again.
The complete re-design of the Toronto waterfront is going to have a minor impact on bringing high-credit residents, inviting businesses, and vibrant restaurants to the region along it. In addition, sports developments such as potentially a 2nd NHL hockey team and even an NFL team in Toronto may bring about the development or re-development of nearby stadiums set to accommodate attendees.
There are a gamut of possibilities when thinking about what Liberty Village may look like in 2050. So much of the developments outside of Liberty Village are going to have a domino effect on how Liberty Village looks. Expect many changes – but also expect many things to stay the same.
The thing about living in Liberty Village is that there are few neighbourhoods with the same kind of rich history and character behind it. Liberty Village is its own, and seeing many of the efforts made to protect its history in re-development up until today, it can be expected that much of the history still standing will be retained and re-developed into something that re-defines Liberty Village in the decades to come.