Ontario’s post-war apartment towers provide affordable rental housing to more than one million people. These buildings are aging and urgently require rehabilitation, as well as stronger connections to goods, services and transit networks. The renewal of Ontario’s sizable stock of post-war apartment towers represents an opportunity to advance both provincial and municipal goals related to housing quality, affordability, complete communities and greenhouse gas emission reduction. Improving the resilience of apartment tower housing will provide tremendous social and environmental gains across Ontario’s municipalities, and will require a set of strategies targeted to the unique needs and challenges faced by these neighbourhoods.
On November 28, 2016, the Intermunicipal Tower Roundtable convened Ontario’s largest four cities – Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and Mississauga. The Roundtable took place in the historic Dundurn Castle in Hamilton, an intimate environment well suited to the discussion due to its close proximity to some of Hamilton’s tower sites. Participants from across the municipalities actively shared learnings and strategies used to support tower neighbourhoods. They also identified the supportive roles that might be played by other levels of government in order to develop a coordinated response to the hundreds of apartment tower neighbourhoods across Ontario.
The actions identified by this roundtable sought to improve outcomes in some or all of the following provincial and municipal policy areas: Housing Quality + Affordability, Complete Communities, Climate Change Mitigation and Smart Growth + Transit.
The core outcome of the workshop was the acknowledgment of the critical need for collaboration between all three levels of government in addressing post-war apartment towers.