The Site: 1375 Queen Street West

1375 Queen Street West is a vacant parcel of land in the Toronto neighbourhood of South Parkdale, located at the intersection of Queen Street West and Close Avenue. The lot is 3,994 square feet (669 square meters), with approximately 15 meters of frontage that runs along Queen Street West. The site was previously a gas station owned by Imperial Oil since 1920. When Imperial disinvested from the site in 2003, a fence was erected and it has been empty ever since. It is a place of deep resonance for Parkdalians because of its use as an informal market, where residents hang goods of all kinds along the fence to sell to folks walking by, supplementing their own income while providing essential goods at affordable prices and participating in green strategies to re-use gently or pre-used goods saving them from the dump.

This proposed development is at the corner of Queen and Close next to Parkdale’s beloved Full Worth, a staple in the community selling culturally relevant products for more than 30 years. You may know it as the empty lot in front of Loga's Corner momo restaurant. It is just west of the future Parkdale Hub, which will be the co-location of a range of critical community services and community benefits, a result of hard-fought community battles to embed economic, climate, and social impacts in new developments. It sits just north of three local schools, and a church. You may also know it as the brownfield, a site with historical industrial/chemical use leading to potential ground contamination, sitting vacant for more than 20 years on Queen Street.

Aug 2017: Informal economy happening at the vacant site (source: Google Maps

1375 Queen Street West in Parkdale. Explore the map and the neighbourhood (source: Co-Design Parkdale)

1920: Premier Gasoline service station on the corner of Queen and Close (source: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1488, Series 1230, Item 1912)

Feb 2003: 7-Eleven gas station in operation (source: Kevin Steele)

April 2003: Gas station is closed (source: Kevin Steele)

Dec 2006: Three years since gas station closure (source: Kevin Steele)

2014: The site is vacant a decade later (source: Kevin Steele)

Feb 2020: On Queen St looking south (source: AlbertC)

Feb 2020: On Close Ave looking north-east (source: AlbertC)

Sept 2022: On Close Ave looking north-east (source: J4Q&C)