This research explores the unintended consequences of recent development trends for small businesses along Yonge Street between Bloor Street and College/Carlton Street in Toronto. By examining development projects between 2007 and 2018, the preference for large retail units at ground level with high-rise residential condominium towers above is evident. Heritage buildings and attributes are being demolished, where allowed, to create the base that supports this type of development. New development projects are increasing property values and taxes, and commercial rents. The lack of appropriately sized and priced retail space is displacing successful small businesses. The residents who are new to the neighbourhood are increasingly young persons who have higher incomes and levels of educational attainment. Small businesses may be unable to adapt to their consumer preferences. Key opportunities are identified for the City of Toronto to support successful small businesses in the neighbourhood and to maintain the character and heritage of Downtown Yonge Street.
Key words: planning; commercial gentrification; displacement; small businesses; Toronto