New developments underway in Stratford, P.E.I., cater to population growth and changing needs

By Thinh Nguyen · Journalist I February 23, 2024

STRATFORD, P.E.I. — New developments are underway in Stratford to enhance services for the town’s growing population.

Ward 2 Coun. Jeff MacDonald said there have been major residential and commercial projects currently in progress within Stratford, which has been one of the fastest-growing communities on the Island, according to census data in recent years.

“Stratford is growing in a very dynamic way in a number of directions,” he told SaltWire in a recent interview.

Among the ongoing commercial developments in Stratford, MacDonald pointed to the project across from Sobeys Plaza on Jubilee Road. This includes the construction of a new gas station along with a Tim Hortons location, an A&W restaurant and a Mel’s Convenience Store.

This development is part of a massive 20-year project called The Crossroads by The Gray Group, a local real estate development company.

Announced in 2021, the ambitious multimillion-dollar project is a long-term plan for transforming Stratford’s core, situated along the Trans-Canada Highway east of the Hillsborough Bridge.

The project covers about 104 acres of land and will accommodate 3,200 residential units, around 260,000 square feet of commercial space, and an additional 40,000 square feet of light industrial space.

Residential side

While the project hasn’t got financial commitments from any level of government, Trevor MacLeod, president of The Gray Group, said the company continues to work with the province and the town of Stratford for preliminary work.

“There’s a lot of work that has to happen before you can actually start constructing buildings,” he said.

Last year, the Stratford town council approved the creation of two new zone classifications, the Core Mixed Use zone and the Urban Core zone, to support the implementation of The Crossroads project.

Both zones allow for buildings with commercial spaces on the first floor and residential units on the upper floors. The Core Mixed Use zone permits buildings up to six storeys, while the Urban Core zone allows for 12.

MacLeod said this approach will increase the population density in the core area, which is necessary given the growing demand for housing, especially affordable housing, amid the Canadian housing crisis.

“In order to keep things affordable, we need to densify. There’s a change in what people expect and require from their housing,” he said. “It’s not everybody’s looking for the 3000-square-foot home, half-acre lot. We have a changing demographic and affordability is becoming more and more of a factor.”

The new zones also include form-based code, a process that incorporates standards directly into the bylaw. This removes the need for individual applications to go forward to council, which should allow for speedier development, said MacLeod.

With the rezoning done last year, The Gray Group is now in the planning stages for two new residential buildings on MacKinnon Drive as part of the initial phase of The Crossroads project.

Beyond the town’s core, the company is also involved in another major project, Kelly Heights, which is a residential subdivision offering single, duplex and townhome lots. All 84 lots in phase one have been sold, resulting in a total of 146 residential units.

“We’re not just concentrating on the core. We’re concentrating on building the community,” MacLeod said.

Commercial side

Besides the upcoming businesses in the core area such as the gas station, Tim Hortons and A&W restaurant on Jubilee Road, the Sobeys plaza has also welcomed a new P.E.I. Cannabis store.

This marks the fifth P.E.I. Cannabis store operated by the provincial Crown corporation since the regulated sale and use of cannabis was legalized in Canada in 2018.

Paul Crabbe, director of operations at the P.E.I. Cannabis Management Corporation, said the Charlottetown location stands out as the busiest among all P.E.I. locations, and given that the Crown corporation had not expanded its locations since 2018, there was a growing need for a fifth location.

Choosing Stratford for this expansion made practical sense, he said.

“There’s been a lot of population growth. The demographics is really a good fit for us over there as well. And given the growth that the town of Stratford had in the last number of years and the planning that they have, you know, for the next couple of decades, it really makes sense for us to be there.”


Thinh Nguyen is a business reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He can be reached by email at [email protected]  and followed on X @thinhnguyen4291.