Bronte Village Business Improvement Area “BronteForward!”


The Town of Oakville is located on the shores of Lake Ontario, between Toronto and Hamilton. It is a suburban community of 200,000 predicted to grow to 255,000 by 2031. As per the Town’s Livable Oakville plan, intensification will occur in the Bronte Village area as many older, one-story buildings are primed to be renovated or replaced. For example, a major mixed-use development creating 450+ high-end rentals will welcome 1,000 new residents in June 2021 along with street-level retail. Formally traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Bronte Village was established as a small fishing village in 1834. Today it is Oakville’s waterfront tourism destination

with a robust residential community of 30,000 and an evolving commercial district. Bronte is a designated Business Improvement Area (BIA) that represents about 200 businesses along Bronte Road at Lakeshore Road West. The businesses are a mix of locally owned and operated establishments and chain stores that provide daily amenities for residents, along with destination retailers and restaurants.

Bronte is considered a preferred residential location due to its proximity to Lake Ontario, the Bronte GO station, the QEW, local bus transit hub, plus its walkability to daily amenities. While not by design and not necessarily preferred, Bronte has evolved into a partial retirement community with two established seniors’ homes with another to be built beginning Spring 2021. Senior residents vary from year-round residents to seasonal and have varying mobility capabilities. Over the next 5-10 years, additional mixed-use developments, gentrification and growth are anticipated. A total reconstruction and redesign of Lakeshore Road West that runs through the whole district is scheduled to both replace underground infrastructure and upgrade streetscapes to favour pedestrians and other modes of active transportation. In the meantime, the streetscapes are functional, but not welcoming nor safe for seniors with walkers and other mobility issues.

Image credits: Bronte Village BIA


Project Description

In Winter/Spring 2021, the Bronte BIA, in partnership with non-profit 8 80 Cities, will lead a community visioning & engagement initiative called BronteForward! to define what locals and visitors want Bronte to look, feel, taste and smell like in 2040. The results of the visioning exercise will serve as a foundational and/or reference document for the Town as it implements growth initiatives and/or for developers or businesses as they consider locating in the area. It will also enable the BIA to create a three-year strategic plan in Summer 2021 that champions, supports and enables the significant transition underway and anticipated.

The vision for the neighbourhood should lead to advocacy strategies for the BIA to promote active mobility, managed growth, and mitigation of construction impacts. It will also likely lead to a focus on Bronte as a ’15-minute neighbourhood’ that, by definition, imagines a place where residents can truly live local with everything they need just a short walk or bike ride away. The Capstone project would require review of the BronteForward! vision outcomes in tandem with a review and analysis of the area’s present physical conditions – roadway/traffic usage, pedestrian/vehicle safety history, past safety mitigation interventions by the Town, lighting, sidewalk materials, foot traffic patterns, mobility modes – and the anticipated physical evolution of the district. This is in addition to the Town’s policies, design guidelines and permitting regarding streetscape interventions. A portion of the project will require best practice research and understanding of similar senior-centric neighbourhoods, the unique physical, mental and emotional needs of seniors as they age in place and their families, and the shopping and social habits of an older demographic, and how these attributes are applicable to all age groups.

In this project, the Client expects the team to design the following: 

The team will be expected to develop a short- and medium-term interim public realm and mobility strategy, best practice guidelines for seniors’ neighbourhoods and quick, cheap and easy tactics to help evolve Bronte as a ’15-minute neighbourhood’ as per outcomes of the BronteForward! visioning process. Doing so will include, but is not limited to:

  1. Site inventory, analysis and building a case for public realm interventions in the short- and medium-term.
  2. Understanding of the Town and Provincial policy frameworks and timelines for meeting growth area targets, anticipated phases of gentrification, and barriers the district can anticipate.
  3. Understanding of the current and future residential mix.
  4. Recommendations for quick, cheap and easy interim public realm interventions to maintain and invite access to businesses, make the street more appealing, make walking for all pedestrians safer, and accommodate the healthy movement of seniors.
  5. Conducting benchmark research and developing immediate mitigation strategies to minimize construction impacts at street level, highlighting the role of the private sector, municipality and BIA.
  6. Using best practice research, evaluating Bronte as a ’15-minute neighbourhood’ through a mobility lens, its gaps, and short-term tactics to close the gaps.
  7. Analyzing active transportation strategies for the Town of Oakville, the Bronte area, and opportunities to fast-track initiatives by the BIA in partnership with others.
  8. Benchmarking Bronte against best-practice neighbourhoods that support residents and visitors from ages 8 to 80.