Canada's Walk of Fame wants to move its stars to John Street

Canada's Walk of Fame wants to move its 173 stars to the sidewalks of John Street and build a new "symbolic heart" for the attraction.

A proposal calls for the stars to move to John Street and build a new 'symbolic heart' for the attraction

Jeffrey Latimer, CEO of Canada’s Walk of Fame. His organization wants to create a more 'focused and centralized' hub for the attraction. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

The concrete stars of Canada's Walk of Fame could soon be on the move.

The city will consider a proposal next week to move the stars to John Street as part of a project to turn the area into a pedestrian-friendly cultural corridor.

It's hoped that the move will help revitalize the 19-year-old attraction, giving the stars a defined starting point for the first time.

"Over the years, 173 stars have been inducted, and I think that in time it's lost its purpose," said Jeffrey Latimer, CEO of Canada's Walk of Fame.

"I think we have an incredible opportunity over the next number of years," he added.

The proposal is to bring Canada's Walk of Fame into the design and planning stage of the $50-million, multi-year project now underway on John Street between Front and Stephanie Streets.

Along with moving the stars currently scattered around King and Simcoe streets, the proposal is also calling for the redevelopment of the southeast corner of King and John Street into a "symbolic heart" for the Walk of Fame, called John Street Square.

A rendering of the completed John Street cultural corridor. The southeast corner of King and John streets may instead be home to a hub for the Walk of Fame. (Toronto)

John Street Square

Coun. Joe Cressy, who represents the area, will bring the proposal to the city's economic development committee on July 9.

"In many ways the Walk of Fame in Toronto is celebrated but it's not as visible as it ought to be," said Cressy, who called the corner proposed for redevelopment "tucked away and hidden.

"That southeast corner could be so much more than it is now, so let's dream up some new ideas," he said.

Ward 20 Coun. Joe Cressy is asking city staff to look into the idea. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

While there are no firm plans yet, Latimer said the space could include everything from statues to monuments to handprints.

He envisions that it could also be used for induction ceremonies, similar to Mann's Chinese Theatre, often considered the hub of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.

Canada's Walk of Fame is promising to privately fund the new development, if it is approved by the city.

Cultural corridor

Whether the stars move or not, the city intends to turn John into a "cultural corridor" linking the Art Gallery of Ontario to the Rogers Centre via Grange Park,  the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Canadian Broadcasting Centre and a handful of restaurants.

The stretch will feature widened sidewalks with room for picnic tables and outdoor furniture, more trees and a narrower two-lane access for cars.

The John Street cultural corridor will include widened sidewalks and more trees. (Toronto)

The entire project is expected to take six to 10 years. Some underground construction work began in May.

"Imagine pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market all the time on John Street in the heart of downtown," Cressy said.

"That's our vision."