The City of Toronto’s Official Plan sets out the vision for a vibrant, competitive, safe and livable downtown. In 1996, the Yonge Street Regeneration Project was initiated by a partnership between the Yonge Street Business and Residents Association and the City of Toronto. At the heart of the city, the area surrounding Yonge and Dundas was targeted for significant improvements. The objectives of the Yonge Street Regeneration Project were to create a renewed sense of place, attract additional retail and entertainment development to the area and to improve its appearance and safety. The center-piece of the Regeneration Project was the creation of a new public space at the southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets. In 1998, the City of Toronto launched a competition to design Yonge-Dundas Square and the Toronto firm Brown + Storey Architects was selected to design the new public space.
City Council decided to install a Board of Management to operate Yonge-Dundas Square as a business venture. The first Board of Management for the Square was appointed in 2001. Yonge-Dundas Square was opened to the public in November 2002 with a sneak preview of one of the Square’s key design elements in motion. Twenty fountains, a spectacle of water and light, set the stage at Yonge-Dundas Square. The preview was the first opportunity for the public to see the Square come alive before its official opening in 2003. In 2017, Yonge-Dundas Square embarked on a new partnership with OUTFRONT Media to provide new permanent digital signage and technologies on the Square. This marked the first major capital investment in the space since it’s construction, and the first public-private partnership of its kind in Canada.