1. Food

Year round grocers offering fresh fruit and vegetables, summer markets, even cafés and restaurants will now be allowed, bringing the possibility of new flavours and more nutritious options to apartment neighbourhoods.


Debbie field

Executive Director,
FoodShare Toronto

“For the last 50 years or so, Toronto’s bylaws and regulatory frameworks have often presented challenges for local food programs, and citizens’ access to food. Areas particularly affected have been our apartment neighbourhoods, which have often had no access to quality, affordable produce and other fresh foods.

The new RAC zone allows for a variety of new programs, including community gardens, markets, food ovens, healthier street food, and generally a more diverse and abundant vision of food in Toronto.”

Social Support

Social Support

2. Social Support


Afterschool programs, day care, education, community programs, libraries, and a range of other services can be set up more easily in and around apartment towers. This makes it possible to build stronger communities with better support.


Adriana Beemans

Director, Inclusive Local Economies Program
Metcalf Foundation

“In the past, community service organizations have had difficulty accessing private apartment buildings. There has been no clear framework to guide residents, landlords, or service providers who want to do something new.

RAC zoning provides that framework while removing barriers. We can now reinvent the public space around apartments, and get access to main floor spaces, parking lots,
and lawns.

In the near future, I see vibrant main floor levels, a public realm with a ‘complete streets’ mentality, and resources reinvented locally. Local ownership, local communities, local economies.”



3. Business


Grocers, pharmacies, newsstands, cafés, and all kinds of other merchants and service providers can now set up shop publicly in apartment neighbourhoods, bringing the promise of new street life and economic activity.


Michael Skaljin

Tower Renewal Office
City of Toronto

“RAC zoning changes will improve residents’ access to commercial services and community-building programs closer to their homes. With the RAC zoning, spaces within and around apartment towers would be able to introduce such activities as small-scale retail stores, community hubs, and outdoor food markets.

This will change economic conditions within apartment tower clusters, providing increased opportunities for commercial and economic development, and, in turn, provide employment opportunities for tower residents.”

Health Services

Health Services

4. Health


Doctors offices, clinics, gyms, and a host of other facilities are now legal in apartment neighbourhoods, which means tower residents may be seeing new ways to stay healthy, closer to home.


Dr. David McKeown


“RAC zoning changes will improve residents’ access to commercial services and community-building programs closer to their homes. With the RAC zoning, spaces within and around apartment towers would be able to introduce such activities as small-scale retail stores, community hubs, and outdoor food markets.  
This will change economic conditions within apartment tower clusters, providing increased opportunities for commercial and economic development, and, in turn, provide employment opportunities for tower residents.”

New opportunities are just waiting to be realized which can transform neighbourhoods into healthier communities. 
Historically, the City’s rules have been a barrier to the provision of services in apartment towers in lower income areas. This new zoning can help health professionals such as doctors and dentists establish their practice near the homes of their clients which makes it easier for people to access the health services they need. 
Apartment neighbourhoods can now have doctors’ offices, clinics, sports and recreation facilities, garden markets, produce stores, and more.  This supports local social enterprise and gives it a chance to flourish in the community. This will help revitalize neighbourhoods and make them healthier places to live in.

Jobs & Opportunities

Jobs & Opportunities

5. Jobs


A range of employment and small business opportunities now opens up in and around apartment towers, due to all the possibilities for community and commercial activity.


Daryl Chong

President & CEO
Greater Toronto Apartment Association

“RAC zoning has the potential to transform communities.  Underutilized space can be used to provide new services, amenities, access to fresh food, arts, culture, social services, community gardens, and especially cottage industries.  There are many entrepreneurs among us just waiting for the right location – we now have hundreds of them. 

The new uses can help create more vibrant environments in tower neighbourhoods, and potentially give residents a happier and healthier lifestyle. 

Apartment owners want to see their residents succeed, and invigorating 50-year old buildings with new uses is the perfect approach. Owners want entrepreneurs to knock on their doors and say, ‘When can I start?’ ”

Learning & Education

Learning & Education

6. Learning


After-school programs for, training for adults, daycares for children, and many other teaching and learning opportunities now exist for families in tower communities… 

“Tower Neighbourhood Renewal” is reframing education and learning in practical ways to develop future community leaders.


Anita Khanna

Tower Neighbourhood Renewal,
Bathurst Finch Neighbourhood

“Realizing that the Bathurst Finch neighbourhood doesn't have a high proportion of service agencies, Tower Neighbourhood Renewal has a strong focus on piloting services in the building. As an agency that's committed to improving the mental health of the residents of Toronto, we've been operating a variety of services here from stress reduction to providing flu shots to doing low-income tax clinics to children's programming; we run the gamut!

Here, we've focused on building community and increasing connections between residents. So we've been engaging in capacity building through social events and opportunities with residents, led by residents. We have an active group that has shaped this programming and identified areas for education and training for themselves.

I think the potential for some street-level or space at the base of the towers would certainly be an asset to Tower Neighbourhood Renewal in this area. We've been conducting work in the party room in the basement of one of the towers, and we've had an issue with room capacity which limits the participants at any time.

RAC Zoning opens up a lot of possibility to enhance community connection and provide residents with support both in community as well as in their incomes and livelihoods. Our residents have talents that they're interested in developing through our programming and learning initiatives—I think the next stage of development could be supported through RAC Zoning by giving people the opportunity to try out a venture that's usually much more difficult.”



Meeting Places

Meeting Places

7. Meeting Places


Gardens, playgrounds, public squares, walking routes, bike paths, outdoor markets… it will take time and energy to make it happen, but all these things are now allowed.


Anne Gloger

East Scarborough Storefront

“Toronto’s antiquated zoning bylaws for years resulted in a sense of inequity and injustice for residents in tower neighbourhoods. People in these neighbourhoods don’t want to be treated differently from the more affluent condo communities. Neither do landlords. We all want complete communities.

RAC zoning is the first step. It takes away a lot of constraints. Residents can re-imagine their living communities as pedestrian-friendly, youth-friendly, gathering-friendly… we will be better able to connect, increase our wellbeing, our sense of neighbourhood, and our health. 

How do you do it? Residents have to empathize with the constraints and complexities the landlords are working with; and landlords have to empathize with residents’ collective needs. The East Scarborough Storefront has done it, and so can other communities!”

Arts & Creativity

Arts & Creativity

8. Arts and Creativity

Face your world, Urban Lab Slotervaart, 2005 Jeanne van Heeswijk and Dennis Kaspori Neighborhood

Art studios, galleries, theatre and dance groups, sports classes – it is now easier than ever to start and maintain a range of creative activities and facilities that nourish mind, body, and soul.


Scarborough Arts

Sergei Petrov
Executive Director

“As the last year unfolded at Scarborough Arts, it has become very clear to us that there is a real hunger from organizations in urban and suburban environments, arts, culture, recreational, business or otherwise, to work together to reach new audiences and millstones for their projects, connecting through meaningful partnerships which work to support each organizational objectives and mission, but most importantly to have a profound and a very real impact on the residents of our city that better their lives in the process.
And as challenges of operating in this vast city continues to be a reoccurring issue for organizations and groups from the grassroots to the established level, opening doors, simplifying or even tearing down barriers, working together makes it a crucial step towards a prosperous, unified, kind city to live, be in.
By implementing this strategy of working together as the core of how Scarborough Arts operates, in just few short months we've experienced tremendously positive impact on our programs that resonated with media, members, general public and others who work to serve the city through their mandates.
I strongly believe, I am certain, that RAC Zoning implementation will be a great leap towards building a more inclusive city, providing opportunities for those who need it the most, helping us to overcome many challenges that mega cities face, creating new ideas and initiatives, effecting businesses, organizations, residents and the communities at large.”


Active Living

Active Living

9. Active Living


Sports fields, rec rooms, gyms, community kitchens, fresh food, and more walkable neighbourhoods… just a few of the possibilities for fun and healthy living now open to Toronto’s apartment communities.




“Active living is a way to integrate physical activity into our everyday routines. Physical activity makes us healthier by reducing the likelihood of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart attacks and strokes as we age. The new RAC zoning creates exciting opportunities to remake apartment neighborhoods where active living is convenient for everyone. Features such as the introduction of community gardens, connecting walking and cycling trails, converting unused parking spots into sports and play spaces, and developing on-site programs and facilities for physical fitness are just a few examples of what is possible. Doing so helps residents make the healthy choice the easy choice.”