Costco Canada Inc. (Costco) opened its newest Toronto-area store in March 2001 on the former CFB Downsview lands. This is the culmination of the lengthy process of obtaining municipal approvals and completing a complex land conveyance from Parc Downsview Park Inc. (PDP), which involved the Department of National Defence (DND), the City of Toronto and others. It is the first significant transaction involving lands within the former armed forces base. The 35 acres, although isolated from the main Downsview site, could not proceed until the city’s official plan process involving all of the more than 600-acre Downsview site was completed. That process took nearly four years to complete, and culminated in an official plan amendment for the bulk of the Downsview lands, including the Costco site and the rezoning of that site.
The transfer of the Costco site was further complicated by the need for DND to first convey to PDP the Costco site and access lands to Dufferin Street. Since a major new road was to be located on the Costco site, the city was involved in the five-party negotiations, which included the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) through its interest in its nearby station, yards and commuter parking. Costco was represented by Roslyn Houser of Goodmans LLP on development matters and Ted Walden of McCarthy Tétrault on the real estate side, both firms taking advice from in-house counsel Stuart Shamis. Paul Ginou, Martin Emmons and John Smith of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP assisted PDP on development and real estate matters. In-house lawyers Anna Kinastowski and Irvin Shachter represented the city, while James Harbell of Stikeman Elliott provided development advice to the TTC. Bernice Wilkinson and Marcia Wiggan of the Department of Justice acted for DND, and in-house counsel Ross Gray for Bombardier.