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David Dunlap Observatory - History

David Dunlap Observatory Home

A Brief History of the DDO Property

  • The David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) property covers an area of 178 acres including woodlots and grassland. It is located south of Weldrick Avenue, west of Bayview Avenue, north of 16th Avenue and east of the CN rail tracks to the west.
  • The DDO property was purchased by Corsica Developments Inc. from the University of Toronto in June 2008.
  • Since June 2008, the Town has undertaken a series of important steps to protect the features on the property. In 2009, the Town designated the DDO property as a cultural heritage landscape under the Ontario Heritage Act to protect elements within the lands that are of cultural heritage significance. Following the designation, Council approved a number of studies including the Conservation Management Plan in 2010 which provides Council guidance to evaluate and consider proposed alterations on the property that may impact the heritage attributes. In April 2010, Corsica submitted Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment applications for the property which proposed 833 homes. The applications were rejected by Council and as such, Corsica appealed this decision to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
  • Through the OMB’s mediation process, five parties to the appeal (the Town of Richmond Hill, Corsica Developments Inc., Toronto and Region Conservation, the Region of York and a community group, the DDO Defenders) came to an agreement (‘the Settlement Plan”) on the future of the property.
  • As part of the Settlement Plan, more than 50 per cent of the property (the western portion) would come into public ownership and development (530 homes) would be allowed on the eastern portion. The Settlement Plan preserves all of the cultural heritage interests of the Town, creates a substantial and coherent public precinct and protects the majority of existing environmental features on the site including a wetland and hardwood forest.

    Settlement Plan [PDF]

    Note: the area indicated in green is the Town's portion of the land.

  • On May 1, 2013 the OMB released their decision in support of the Settlement Plan calling it “good planning” and “in the public interest”.
  • The OMB approved the subdivision on December 11, 2014 and the OMB’s decision was not appealed by any party.
  • Corsica plans to move quickly to construct the new subdivision on their portion of the DDO lands.
  • In June 2014, the Town initiated the DDO Master Plan project to establish a vision for the future enhancement, management and programming of the DDO Park on the Town’s portion of the property. Extensive community and stakeholders consultations are being undertaken to solicit public input on the future vision of the DDO Park.

  •  
    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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