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David Dunlap Observatory


DDO ObservatoryWhat is the DDO?
The David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) opened in 1935, a gift to the University of Toronto by Jessie Donalda Dunlap as a memorial to her husband David Alexander Dunlap. Since its inception, the Observatory has been a research centre of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and has also carried out public education and teaching programs.

DDO History & FAQs

DDO Park Master Plan

Please email any questions or comments regarding the David Dunlap Observatory to access@richmondhill.ca or call 905-771-8800.

The Latest DDO News

UPDATED: June 11, 2014

Future of David Dunlap Observatory Property Assured
Ontario Municipal Board Decision Supports Mediated Settlement
The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has released their decision with regard to the Official Plan Amendment to implement the mediated settlement concerning the David Dunlap Observatory property saying that the Town’s Official Plan Amendment (OPA 270) “represents good planning and overall, is in the public interest.”



  • Richmond Hill Officially Owns Observatory Panhandle Lands
    The Town of Richmond Hill is now the official owner of the David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) ‘panhandle’ lands with the purchase being finalized on October 15. The panhandle lands, purchased for $19.5 million, represent 12.1 acres that were under lease to the Town, including the David Dunlap Observatory Park (8.0 acres) and the Elvis Stojko Arena (4.1 acres).
  • OMB Hearing Set for August 7, 2012
    The mediated settlement between five parties for the David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) lands was formally presented at the May 7, 2012 Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) pre-hearing meeting. At the pre-hearing, the Richmond Hill Naturalists stated their objection to the settlement and an OMB hearing has been scheduled to begin August 7 to deal with their issues.

    The mediated settlement represents the formal position of five of the parties, officially replacing the original development proposal submitted by Corsica Development Inc. The Town fully supports the mediated settlement as it proposes to save approximately 40 hectares (99 acres) from development and have this natural area dedicated to the Richmond Hill community as public space. The settlement was a result of many months of mediation facilitated by the OMB between Corsica Development Inc., the DDO Defenders, the Town of Richmond Hill, the Region of York, and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). The Richmond Hill Naturalists are the only party objecting to the settlement and will now have their issues addressed at an OMB hearing scheduled to begin August 7, 2012.


  • Council Approves Mediated Settlement for David Dunlap Observatory Lands
    At its Special Council Meeting held on April 12, 2012, Richmond Hill Town Council unanimously approved the mediated settlement as described in the Minutes of Settlement related to the Corsica Development application at 123 Hillsview Drive, Richmond Hill. The Minutes of Settlement are attached below.

  • Committee of the Whole Meeting - Monday, May 16, 2011
    The Committee of the Whole Meeting scheduled for Monday, May 16, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers will include a staff report dealing with the David Dunlap Observatory (SRPRS.11.028). The staff report is a request for comments concerning proposed Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment and Draft Plan of Subdivision applications to permit low and medium density residential development and other uses on the subject lands. 
  • Council Public Meeting - February 9, 2011
    A public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers to notify the public and receive comments on the proposed Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments and a Related Draft Plan of Subdivision submitted by Corsica Development Inc. for the property known as the David Dunlap Observatory, 123 Hillsview Drive. 
  • Council Adopts DDO Conservation Management Plan at January 24, 2011 Council Meeting
    Following from the draft that was presented to Council in April of 2010, a revised Conservation Management Plan was presented to Richmond Hill Committee of the Whole on January 17, 2011 and approved on January 24, 2011. The Conservation Management Plan provides Council with a means to assess any applications to alter heritage attributes within the Observatory Lands that are designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The Conservation Management Plan also sets out maintenance and conservation treatments for the short, medium and long term for the identified heritage attributes. Lastly, the Plan assists in establishing budgets, funding requirements, grant applications and partnership opportunities to assist in the ongoing stewardship of the Observatory Lands.


  • DDO draft Conservation Management Plan Presented At April 6 COW Meeting 
    Following Council's endorsement of the DDO Study's Planning Report and the associated design and planning principles on January 25, 2010, the DDO draft Conservation Management Plan was presented at the April 6th, 2010 Committee of the Whole meeting.

    The draft Conservation Management Plan complements the Council adopted Planning Report, and details specific measures and implementation strategy required to conserve the various cultural heritage attributes within the DDO Lands. When read together with the Planning Report, a comprehensive direction will emerge for the future management of both the lands and buildings on the DDO site.

    Please note that the public comment period regarding the DDO draft Conservation Management Plan (link below) has ended.  

  • Illegal Injury and Destruction of Trees on the DDO Property 
    A decision was made on April 15, 2010 at the Region of York courts regarding the illegal tree cutting and removal on the David Dunlap Observatory lands by Corsica Developments in November 2009. Corsica plead guilty to all 17 counts of cutting a tree without a permit. Despite the Town seeking the maximum fines and penalties, the court issued a fine of $750.00 per count (plus other applicable charges imposed), making the total payable fine $14,880. Additionally, a replanting order in the amount of approximately $30,000 was imposed by the court as part of the disposition and the charges against Hermanns Contracting were withdrawn. 

     

  • Planning Application For DDO Property 
    The land owner of the DDO property has filed a planning application with the Town on April 9, 2010 to develop the lands. The application can be viewed in the Town's Planning Department and questions can be directed to 905-771-8910 or planning@richmondhill.ca.

     

  • Motion to support the protection, acquisition and preservation the DDO as a National Landmark 

    Read the motion as approved by Council [PDF]

  • DDO Lands Conservation, Planning and Design Principles & Visions report (Staff Report SRPD.10.009) Received 

    The conservation, planning, and design principles and visions for the property was presented at the Town’s Committee of the Whole Meeting on January 18, 2010.   The DDO Lands Conservation Management and Planning Study [PDF] was received by Council and the Planning and Design Principles contained therein were endorsed at its meeting on January 25, 2010.

    The intent of the David Dunlap Observatory Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study is twofold: first, to establish a Conservation Management Plan that assists in managing and protecting the property’s heritage attributes; and second, to develop a land use vision and strategic direction for the future of the site that will celebrate its uniqueness and special value.

    Since the commencement of the Study, a number of consultations were held. On December 4, three conceptual planning scenarios [PDF] were prepared and posted on the Town’s Website for public input. These scenarios all evolved out of the draft principles, and they illustrate three alternative approaches to design and land use of the site. These scenarios were for demonstration purposes only and they should be considered as tools to further explore, formulate, and refine appropriate design and planning directions that help guide the future evolution of the lands.

    Evolving out of these three scenarios is a set of important conservation, planning, and design principles and visions for the property, recommended to be translated into planning policies for the Town’s new Official Plan, and these polices will be used to direct and guide any development application submitted by the owner in the future. 
      
    David Dunlap Observatory Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study Staff Report - SRPD.10.009 (including all Appendices A-D) [PDF]
    Appendix A (full colour version) - DDO Lands Planning Report [PDF] 
    Appendix B (full colour version) - DDO Panhandle Cultural Assessment Report [PDF] 
       



  • DDO Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study Concept Plans  
    DDO Concept Plan
    The David Dunlap Observatory Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study will provide two distinct yet inter-related products.

    The first is a Conservation Management Plan and the second is a Land Use Planning Framework. The draft Concept Plans provided below will help develop planning principles to be included in the framework. 

    The Interpretation Guidelines provide a context for the Concept Plans.

    Please note that the deadline for public comment has now passed. We thank you for your input and continued interest in the Study.

    DDO Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study Interpretation Guidelines - Dec. 4, 2009 [PDF]
     
    DDO Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study Concept Plans - Dec. 4, 2009 [PDF]


  • Official Plan Task Force Presentation
    On November 26, Planning Alliance, the planning consultant for the DDO Planning and Conservation Management Study made a presentation to the Official Plan Task Force (OPTF) regarding the study process and project findings to date. The presentation describes the planning framework, identifies existing site conditions, as well as establishes a set of conservation management principles for the cultural heritage components of the site. The presentation is provided here for your information.

    Please note again that Planning Options for this property will be released on December 4 here on the Website, and the Town is seeking your comments on the options.

    DDO Lands Official Plan Task Force Presentation - Nov. 26, 2009 [PDF] 

  • Council Passes Designation By-law for DDO Lands
    Richmond Hill Council approved a Designating By-law for the David Dunlap Observatory Lands at its Tuesday, September 29 Council Meeting.

    David Dunlap Observatory Lands Designation By-law 100-09 [PDF]
    Designating By-law Staff Report (SRPD.09.104) & Proposed By-law [PDF]
    Staff Presentation - Committee of the Whole Meeting Sept. 8, 2009 [PDF]

  • Conservation Review Board Final Report
    The Town received the Conservation Review Board's report on June 4, 2009 and is currently thoroughly analysing the report. The Town values the professionalism and expertise of the Conservation Review Board and its advice to Council in helping the Town protect this valued cultural heritage resource. The next step will be for staff to bring back a report and recommended by-law to Council as soon as they have carefully reviewed it. It is important to note that the Town recognizes the significance of this property and has assertively pursued the designation of this property under the Ontario Heritage Act and in the interim, the Cultural Heritage protection afforded by Council's original designation by-law remains in place. No development of this site will take place without a rigorous planning process and the involvement of the community. More information on the David Dunlap Observatory and its history can be found below.

    Conservation Review Board Final Report [PDF]

  • Dunlap Observatory Conservation Management Study Approved
    Recognizing the cultural and heritage significance of the David Dunlap Observatory property, Council approved the preparation of the David Dunlap Observatory Property Planning and Conservation Management Study. Council also approved a draft terms of reference for a Master Environmental Servicing Plan (MESP) that will produce a planning framework that will facilitate the appropriate development of the 189 acre property located at 16th Avenue and Bayview Avenue and assist in managing and protecting the property’s heritage attributes, while celebrating the special value of this site. Please click here for further details.

    Request for Approval David Dunlap Observatory Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study D18-DDO Staff Report (SRPD.09.042) - May 4, 2009 [PDF]


    Town Meetings, Staff Reports & Presentations Regarding DDO
  • Council Public Meeting Agenda - February 9, 2011 [PDF]
  • Council Public Meeting Notice - February 9, 2011 [PDF]
  • Final Draft DDO Conservation Management Plan Staff Report (SRPRS.11.013) - January 17, 2011 [PDF]*Note: Large file (138 MBs)
  • DDO Lands Development Application Peer Review, Single Source Request for Consulting Services (SRPD.10.040) [PDF]
  • DDO draft Conservation Management Plan Staff Report (SRPD.10.034) [PDF]
  • Council motion to support the protection, acquisition and preservation the DDO as a National Landmark [PDF]
  • David Dunlap Observatory Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study Staff Report - SRPD.10.009 (including all Appendices A-D) [PDF]
  • Appendix A (full colour version) - DDO Lands Planning Report [PDF] 
  • Appendix B (full colour version) - DDO Panhandle Cultural Assessment Report [PDF] 
  • DDO Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study Interpretation Guidelines - Dec. 4, 2009 [PDF]
  • DDO Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study Concept Plans - Dec. 4, 2009 [PDF]
  • DDO Lands Official Plan Task Force Presentation - Nov. 26, 2009 [PDF]
  • DDO Lands Public Open House #2 Presentation - Nov. 7, 2009 [PDF]
  • DDO Lands Public Open House #1 Presentation - Oct. 20, 2009 [PDF]
  • David Dunlap Observatory Lands Designation By-law 100-09  - September 29, 2009 [PDF]
  • Designating By-law Staff Report (SRPD.09.104) & Proposed By-law - September 29, 2009 [PDF]
  • Staff Presentation - Committee of the Whole Meeting - September 8, 2009 [PDF]
  • Designating By-law Staff Report - SRPD.09.092 - September 8, 2009 [PDF]
  • Staff Presentation (from Committee of the Whole held on September 8, 2009) [PDF]
  • Request for Approval David Dunlap Observatory Lands Planning and Conservation Management Study D18-DDO Staff Report (SRPD.09.042) - May 4, 2009 [PDF]
  • David Dunlap Observatory Property - Built Heritage: Interior Features and Integrative Summary of Cultural Value Staff Report (SRPD.08.097) - June 17, 2008 [PDF]
  • David Dunlap Observatory Properties Cultural Landscape Designation Staff Report (SRPD.08.028) - February 1, 2008 [PDF]
  • David Dunlap Observatory Properties Cultural Landscape Designation Staff Report (SRPD.08.007) - January 28, 2008 [PDF]   
  • David Dunlap Observatory Study Presentation - January 28, 2008 [PDF]
  • David Dunlap Observatory Lands Staff Report (SRFIN.07.071)- November 26, 2007 [PDF]
  • David Dunlap Observatory Lands Presentation - November 26, 2007 [PDF]

    All meeting agendas and minutes can be viewed here.

    DDO Maps
  • Property Map [PDF]
  • Significant Woodlands Map [PDF]
  • Click photos to enlarge 
    Current DDO Lands
    Current DDO Lands

    DDO Concept Sketch 1933  
    DDO Concept Sketch 1933

    DDO 1935  
    DDO 1935

    DDO 1950s 
    DDO 1950s 

    DDO 1980s 
    DDO 1980s 

    DDO 1990s 
    DDO 1990s 

    DDO 2000s 
    DDO 2000s

    DDO Telescope Timelapse  
    DDO Telescope Timelapse




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