This morning in Thornhill, Premier Doug Ford -- joined by Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark -- announced the creation of more housing in Richmond Hill/Markham. 

The Ontario Government will create 40,000 housing units at 407 and Yonge near transit. It also announced the creation of a fifth station in Thornhill to add to the Yonge North Subway Extension, which extends the TTC’s Line 1 service north from Finch Station to Vaughan, Markham, and Richmond Hill and will become a game-changer for local residents.

By building transit-oriented communities (TOCs) around the subway extension in this rapidly growing region, the government will also reduce gridlock, create economic opportunities, and support some 19,000 new jobs in the region, according to a Province-issued press release

According to the Province, thanks to TOC proceeds, the Ontario government will fund and build the additional transit station at Royal Orchard -- at Royal Orchard Boulevard and Yonge Street -- further improving access to TTC transit for residents in Thornhill, Markham and York Region. Currently, its public transit-taking residents rely on GO Transit buses and trains to get directly to downtown Toronto. Construction on the subway extension is expected to begin in late 2023, and could be completed in 2030, according to the province.

In true Ford fashion, the premier was quick to use the occasion to point fingers.

“After decades of inaction by previous governments, our government is saying ‘yes’ to building housing and subways,” said Ford. “Others will find any reason to say ‘no’ to delay desperately needed housing and transit with more studies, committees or reports. Instead, our government is keeping costs down for families by building more homes and tackling gridlock head-on by building subways, Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass.” 

The TOCs at Bridge and High Tech transit stations will bring new housing, parkland, commercial, retail and, community spaces all within walking distance of transit, says the Province. By building more homes through these high-density and mixed-use communities, the province can also offset the construction costs of Royal Orchard station through TOC proceeds, it says.

The now frequently-used Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) are being used to support the development of Bridge and High Tech TOCs, cutting red-tape to deliver more homes and transit sooner. The move marks the largest MZO ever issued by the Ford government in terms of density and inevitably opens the door for even more density throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in the future.

“Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government is using every resource to address the housing supply crisis head-on,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These Minister’s Zoning Orders will help create transit-oriented communities while building more than 40,000 much-needed new homes for Ontarians and their families.”

The announcement comes after last week’s news that the Province would join forces with the City to create transit-oriented communities near five stations near the upcoming Ontario Line

The change in plan to the subway extension comes one year after the Provincial government cut two stations from the route and moved a portion of the line above ground due to cost concerns.