news from our new blue edge

May 2011


Construction Officially Starts at Underpass Park


On May 26, Waterfront Toronto celebrated the official start of construction of Underpass Park. Members of community and government representatives, including the Federal Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation Glen Murray, and Toronto City Councillors Norm Kelly and Pam McConnell gathered to break ground at the construction site.

Underpass Park will transform the derelict, uninviting space under and around the Eastern Avenue, Richmond and Adelaide overpasses into a unique and welcoming neighbourhood amenity. It will be the most extensive park to ever be built under an overpass in Canada and the first of its kind in Toronto.

Designed by landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg with The Planning Partnership, the park will feature flexible community and recreational spaces, playful climbing play areas, and striking public art. It will also become a key link in the West Don Lands community, connecting the north and south parts of West Don Lands through the underpasses.

Phase one of Underpass Park is expected to open later this year.


Toronto City Councillor Norm Kelly, Waterfront Toronto Chair Mark Wilson, Federal Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation Glen Murray, and Toronto City Councillor Pam McConnell.

Construction at Underpass Park.



Constructing the George Brown College Waterfront Campus


The new waterfront campus for George Brown College is taking shape with construction now above ground for the eight-storey building.

Construction of the new state-of-the art Waterfront Health Sciences Centre, located on the south side of Queens Quay Boulevard between Richardson and Lower Sherbourne streets, has been moving at a rapid pace. Over the past year, construction crews excavated the site and dug the four-storey deep hole necessary for the building’s foundation and for its three level parking garage.

Work is now underway above ground on the building's superstructure and crews are installing the vertical supports and the foundations for the second and third floors of the building. Work will continue on the superstructure until late summer when the separator between the outer and inner portions, known as the building envelope, will be built and masonry and electrical work will begin.

The building will be completed in Summer 2012 and open for classes in September. You can watch the construction progress online on the George Brown College website.


Accessibility Increased at Canada's Sugar Beach


People in wheelchairs can now access the sandy portion of Canada’s Sugar Beach with the recent addition of a ramp and deck.

Waterfront Toronto added a new ramp and built a hardwood deck that is level with the sand. The hardwood ramp runs from the main pathway on the east side of the beach to a four square metre platform that features Muskoka chairs  and one of the park’s iconic pink umbrellas.

Although the park was built to City of Toronto accessibility standards, Waterfront Toronto added the new platform to further enhance accessibility.


New ramp and hardwood deck at Canada's Sugar Beach.


Scrim Wall Lighting at Sherbourne Common


Waterfront Toronto is in the final stages of construction of Sherbourne Common North and recently tested the lighting for the dramatic art elements that are part of the park’s innovative stormwater treatment process.

The three nine-metre high sculptured towers lift treated stormwater from the park’s UV facility towards the sky where it falls as a textured veil of water into the channel that carries the clean water to Lake Ontario.

The north side of the Sherbourne Common will open this summer. The south side, which houses the UV facility in the basement of the park’s pavilion, opened last fall.


"Lightshower" sculptures at Sherbourne Common North.


Water's Edge Promenade and Ireland Park


Waterfront Toronto, the City of Toronto and the designers of Ireland Park have been working together to connect people to the park and to an important part of Toronto and Irish history.

Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto are transforming the crumbling western edge of the Portland slip and the dock wall at the Canada Malting Silos site near the foot of Bathurst Street into a water’s edge promenade that leads to Ireland Park.
The City began reconstruction of the dock wall in 2010 and when that work is completed this summer, Waterfront Toronto will begin construction of a new 130-metre granite walkway that features seating and rows of trees.

Opened in 2007 and partly funded by Waterfront Toronto, Ireland Park is a tribute to the Irish immigrants who fled to Canada during the famine of 1847 and the 38,000 who arrived in Toronto when the City's population was a mere 20,000.

Waterfront Toronto has been working with the designers of the park to ensure the trees of the promenade don’t block the sight lines of the park’s poignant sculptures. The trees will be positioned to allow an unobstructed view of downtown Toronto from “The Jubilant Man” the sculpture closest to the promenade.  The water’s edge promenade will be completed in 2012.


Photograph: Maxwells Dublin.

Ireland Park was recently featured on the cover of the Irish Times. In January, the newspaper used an image of Toronto’s skyline from the “Jubilant Man” sculpture in Ireland Park to illustrate a cover story on the current wave of young people leaving Ireland for career opportunities in Canada.


York Quay Construction Update


Construction crews have begun excavation of the area that will become the underground parking garage at York Quay, removing the water, soils and bedrock.

Over that last month, crews built tie backs supports, to hold up the dirt walls of the excavated area and have been building the secant wall  which will create the underground enclosure within which the parking garage will be built. The garage is being built below the water table so this underground enclosure is designed to both withstand the pressure of the soil surrounding the future garage and to keep out water.

Removal of the water is done with a dewatering system that draws water, filters it and then discharges it into the City’s sewer system. Excavation is proceeding with the removal of the soils above the water table, and as the water level is lowered the materials that are currently in the water table will also be removed. Excavation will continue through the spring and summer with the start of construction of the actual parking garage structure starting in the fall.  


East Bayfront External Sanitary Sewer Construction


Waterfront Toronto will soon be digging into Queens Quay Boulevard for the construction of East Bayfront external sanitary sewer infrastructure.

An open-cut approach is being used in this first phase and subsequently for similar work on Lower Jarvis Street. Excavators will remove the pavement and soils in the area and add a trench box support system – a box-shaped structure made of wood or steel – which allows for minimal disturbance on the surface.  The trench-box unit is moved along the trench as excavation and pipe-laying proceed. This method will be used for about 95 per cent of the construction. In certain locations, a hand-dug tunnel will be used to ensure that utilities are not impacted.

Construction is scheduled for regular hours, Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm. Two-way vehicle access will be maintained on all streets.


West Don Lands Construction Update


After a long, cold winter and wet spring, work has resumed throughout the West Don Lands.  

Utility relocation work on Cherry Street is underway in preparation for moving all utilities underground.  Toronto Hydro is constructing a new utility duct bank on the west side of Cherry Street.  Additional duct banks will be constructed at intervals along the street to support the underground chambers required to provide Hydro, Bell and Rogers services to the West Don Lands neighbourhood.  

On Mill Street the installation of silva cells is almost complete and road work has begun with granular road base preparation, as well, curb and parking layby construction is underway. Road construction will continue over the next month with curb installation, manhole adjustments and the pouring of the concrete road base.


Silva cells installation on Mill Street looking west.


Don River Park Construction


Work is progressing rapidly on the Don River Park pavilion. The structural steel frame and deck are complete, and the soffit framing on the upper and lower canopy is almost complete. Insulation work is finished and work has begun on the exterior wood cladding.  Within the next several weeks drywall installation will begin on the pavilion, followed by the installation of the wood soffits and fascia and doors and windows.

Landscape and infrastructure work to support the park has also begun. The underground storm water and potable water services work is underway, concrete forms to support the marsh weir wall are being poured, and precast beams for the marsh boardwalk are being installed. Construction of the inlet and outflows for the water holding tank will begin shortly.

Establishing the park’s subgrade will begin shortly.  Preparing the subgrade is necessary to prepare the park for the installation of drainage filtercloth and for the laying of the final soil layer.  Once grading is complete work can begin on the wood deck in the waterplay area. Construction of footings for the park’s lighting will begin once the layout work for the pathways is finalized. 


Rough grading and concrete form work for park amenities at Don River Park.


Central Waterfront Community Update Meeting


Join Waterfront Toronto on Thursday, June 9 for an update on current projects in the central waterfront.
The meeting will feature a variety of short presentations. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and give feedback to the project teams.

•    General update on waterfront revitalization
•    Queens Quay design presentation
•    York Quay construction update
•    Portland Slip construction and design update
•    Questions and answers

For additional information, call (416) 214-1344 or email


Meeting Details
Date: Thursday, June 9
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Harbourfront Centre,
York Quay Centre - Lakeside Terrace
235 Queens Quay West, M5J 2G8



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