Project Background:

  • The Grand Trunk/Cooper site, an 18 acre site on the south edge of Stratford’s Downtown, has long been an important site in the city. 
  • The Grand Trunk Building, occupying 4.2 acres of the 18 acres site, was opened in 1871 as a locomotive repair facility and later, through the early twentieth century, expanded and grew to its maximum extent by the 1940’s. At its height, the Grand Trunk building employed approximately 40% of Stratford’s workforce. By the 1960’s, the need for steam locomotives had declined significantly in favour of diesel-powered trains, resulting in the site being transferred to Cooper-Bessemer, a boiler manufacturer. The site was abandoned in the mid-1980’s.
  • The site lay vacant for a number of years save for municipal parking and the Stratford-Perth YMCA, which has grown into an anchor for the Stratford community, serving over 2800 members annually. Recently, the site has been given life again with the opening of the University of Waterloo’s School of Digital Media, the first building of a planned University of Waterloo Stratford Campus. The Grand Trunk site stands to renew its place in, and as the heart of, the city and become a place for residents and visitors alike.
  • The City has title to, and owns outright, the Grand Trunk Block (GTB)
  • The existing Official Plan designation and zoning permits a wide range of uses and links the GTB with the policies, goals and objectives of the Downtown Core
  • There is an existing Master Plan for the GTB, created by Urban Strategies following a public process in 2017/18, that is specifically referenced in the Official Plan designation- “Development of the lands in the Grand Trunk Anchor District shall be in accordance with a Master Plan prepared and adopted by the City……”
  • The City completed roof repairs to the Shops building to make it safe to enter and to prevent further deterioration- entry for viewing, events and tours will be possible soon.
  • The YMCA has interest in a new facility in this location
  • The City plans to jointly hire, with the YMCA, a person to raise funds to redevelop and repurpose part of the Shops building as a new Y and community hub replacing the seniors’ centre displaced by the new Tom Patterson Theatre
  • The University of Waterloo has interest in expanding and say they need both a student residence and facilities expansion to accommodate new programs
  • Golder Associates has completed a Phase 2 environmental assessment of the entire block so there is certainty as to the location and concentration of contamination
  • City staff is working on a servicing plan
  • Stratford’s historic Grand Trunk Railroad shops building– a mainstay of the Stratford economy and livelihoods from the 1860s through the 1940s– has been standing derelict for decades, an eyesore in a location that has the potential to offer:
  1. an exciting new destination based on a historic focal point, right in the centre of the city
  2. a mix of attractive, affordable and ecologically sound housing solutions in a welcoming community environment
  3. a meeting place for youth, seniors, citizens and visitors alike, with commercial, cultural, educational and immersive offerings
  4. new and expanded facilities for the U of Waterloo and the Y

We are a group of Stratford citizens who are keen to support the City of Stratford in ensuring a rapid mobilization of actions to re-develop this important site.

  • Our goals are the following:
  1. To inform Stratford’s citizens, through public engagement and discussion, of the generational opportunity the Grand Trunk/Cooper site represents to build upon the vitality of the City’s downtown and add much needed housing.
  2. To urge the new council and mayor to take action within in appointing an expert advisory committee to redefine the vision and find a development partner with a successful redevelopment background.
  3. To conclude an agreement with a master developer partner or project management consultant within 6 to 12 months to have a ‘shovel in the ground’ within two years thereafter.
  4.  
  1. Formation of an advisory committee to move the project forward.
  2. The Chair should be appointed by Council.
  3. The Committee must run an open, transparent process in selecting members, approved by council, to attract both community representation and necessary expertise.
  4. The Committee will play a key role in defining project objectives, vision, and process for procuring development partner(s).
  5. The Committee must launch as soon as possible and work toward key milestones with defined timing over the next six, 12 and 24 months.
  6. Community consultation should be through a series of community presentations to encourage a re-imagining of the site by learning about transformational projects in other communities.
  7. The Desired Outcome is a binding, long-term agreement with a qualified, reputable organization to partner with the City to implement the Grand Trunk Block redevelopment process.

The BuildGrand team:

  • Deanna Horton – horton.deanna@gmail.com
  • Melanie Hare – mhare@urbanstrategies.com
  • Rick Matthews – rick@dorsetgroup.com
  • Craig Thompson – craig.thompson@ballinran.com
  • Bruce Whitaker – bruce@bar5w.com
  • The Grand Trunk/Cooper site, an 18 acre site on the south edge of Stratford’s Downtown, has long been an important site in the city. 
  • The Grand Trunk Building, occupying 4.2 acres of the 18 acres site, was opened in 1871 as a locomotive repair facility and later, through the early twentieth century, expanded and grew to its maximum extent by the 1940’s. At its height, the Grand Trunk building employed approximately 40% of Stratford’s workforce. By the 1960’s, the need for steam locomotives had declined significantly in favour of diesel-powered trains, resulting in the site being transferred to Cooper-Bessemer, a boiler manufacturer. The site was abandoned in the mid-1980’s.
  • The site lay vacant for a number of years save for municipal parking and the Stratford-Perth YMCA, which has grown into an anchor for the Stratford community, serving over 2800 members annually. Recently, the site has been given life again with the opening of the University of Waterloo’s School of Digital Media, the first building of a planned University of Waterloo Stratford Campus. The Grand Trunk site stands to renew its place in, and as the heart of, the city and become a place for residents and visitors alike.
  •  
  • The City has title to, and owns outright, the Grand Trunk Block (GTB)
  • The existing Official Plan designation and zoning permits a wide range of uses and links the GTB with the policies, goals and objectives of the Downtown Core
  • There is an existing Master Plan for the GTB, created by Urban Strategies following a public process in 2017/18, that is specifically referenced in the Official Plan designation- “Development of the lands in the Grand Trunk Anchor District shall be in accordance with a Master Plan prepared and adopted by the City……”
  • The City completed roof repairs to the Shops building to make it safe to enter and to prevent further deterioration- entry for viewing, events and tours will be possible soon.
  • The YMCA has interest in a new facility in this location
  • The City plans to jointly hire, with the YMCA, a person to raise funds to redevelop and repurpose part of the Shops building as a new Y and community hub replacing the seniors’ centre displaced by the new Tom Patterson Theatre
  • The University of Waterloo has interest in expanding and say they need both a student residence and facilities expansion to accommodate new programs
  • Golder Associates has completed a Phase 2 environmental assessment of the entire block so there is certainty as to the location and concentration of contamination
  • City staff is working on a servicing plan
  •  
  • Stratford’s historic Grand Trunk Railroad shops building– a mainstay of the Stratford economy and livelihoods from the 1860s through the 1940s– has been standing derelict for decades, an eyesore in a location that has the potential to offer:
  1. an exciting new destination based on a historic focal point, right in the centre of the city
  2. a mix of attractive, affordable and ecologically sound housing solutions in a welcoming community environment
  3. a meeting place for youth, seniors, citizens and visitors alike, with commercial, cultural, educational and immersive offerings
  4. new and expanded facilities for the U of Waterloo and the Y

We are a group of Stratford citizens who are keen to support the City of Stratford in ensuring a rapid mobilization of actions to re-develop this important site.

  • Our goals are the following:
  1. To inform Stratford’s citizens, through public engagement and discussion, of the generational opportunity the Grand Trunk/Cooper site represents to build upon the vitality of the City’s downtown and add much needed housing.
  2. To urge the new council and mayor to take action within in appointing an expert advisory committee to redefine the vision and find a development partner with a successful redevelopment background.
  3. To conclude an agreement with a master developer partner or project management consultant within 6 to 12 months to have a ‘shovel in the ground’ within two years thereafter.
  4.  
  1. Formation of an advisory committee to move the project forward.
  2. The Chair should be appointed by Council.
  3. The Committee must run an open, transparent process in selecting members, approved by council, to attract both community representation and necessary expertise.
  4. The Committee will play a key role in defining project objectives, vision, and process for procuring development partner(s).
  5. The Committee must launch as soon as possible and work toward key milestones with defined timing over the next six, 12 and 24 months.
  6. Community consultation should be through a series of community presentations to encourage a re-imagining of the site by learning about transformational projects in other communities.
  7. The Desired Outcome is a binding, long-term agreement with a qualified, reputable organization to partner with the City to implement the Grand Trunk Block redevelopment process.

     The BuildGrand team:

  • Deanna Horton – horton.deanna@gmail.com
  • Melanie Hare – mhare@urbanstrategies.com
  • Rick Matthews – rick@dorsetgroup.com
  • Craig Thompson – craig.thompson@ballinran.com
  • Bruce Whitaker – bruce@bar5w.com
Action on the Grand Trunk (Cooper Site) in Stratford, ON.