news from our new blue edge

September 2011


Message From Waterfront Toronto on The Future of the Port Lands


On September 21 Toronto City Council unanimously passed a supplemental staff report and a protocol for how the City and Waterfront Toronto will work together to accelerate the development of the Port Lands and explore new ideas for the area. On behalf of everyone at Waterfront Toronto, I would like to thank Toronto City Council and the people of Toronto for your support and faith in us.

The protocol for moving forward, which was approved by the Waterfront Toronto board, recognizes the existing Memorandum of Understanding with the City that has Waterfront Toronto as the lead development agency for the Port Lands and recognizes our plan for the Lower Don Lands as the starting point for improvements and acceleration opportunities. The protocol will also enable us to work with the City and Toronto and Region Conservation to review and finalize the Don Mouth Environmental Assessment, work with the City on a business plan for the Port Lands, and lead the extensive public consultation and engagement process.

The public debate over the Port Lands has brought broad and renewed civic interest in the waterfront as a city-wide public asset.  We look forward to harnessing the public interest and to consulting with as broad an audience as possible as Port Lands work proceeds. One of our first priorities will be developing a process with the City that ensures all Torontonians are part of the discussion about the future of the Port Lands. In addition to public meetings, we will be looking at how to utilize social media and online tools to engage as many people as possible.

Both the work plan and the process for consultation will be shared with the public and all stakeholders through this newsletter, our website, the media and other communications vehicles.


Waterfront Toronto Wins Two Toronto Urban Design Awards


Canada’s Sugar Beach and the Sherbourne Common Pavilion were recognized with  2011 Toronto Urban Design Awards. Canada’s Sugar Beach earned an Award of Excellence in the Large Places or Neighbourhood Designs category and the Sherbourne Common Pavilion was awarded an Honourable Mention in the Elements category.
The City of Toronto’s Urban Design Awards recognize and acknowledge the best buildings, landscapes and urban planning concepts of the past two years that contribute to the look and liveability of Toronto. This year’s competition drew a record 129 entries in nine categories.

Canada’s Sugar Beach, designed by Claude Cormier Architectes Paysagistes in association with the Planning Partnership, transformed a parking lot and a neglected part of the waterfront into a park that has attracted thousands of people to the area since it opened in August 2010. The park features three distinct components: an urban beach, a plaza space, and a tree-lined promenade running diagonally through the park. The jury stated, “In every way, Canada’s Sugar Beach represents a superb addition to the city’s public realm, creating an intimate but spacious vantage point from which to enjoy the harbour.”

The pavilion is a key feature of the south section of Sherbourne Common which opened in September 2010. Designed by Teeple Architects, the building provides vital functions for the park and is a stunning structure that enlivens the space with its unique shape and zinc clad blue-grey exterior. The jury said it “creates a striking new gateway to the waterfront while providing useful public space functions. The angular, low-slung design, which references Frank Gehry, ensures that the structure serves as a strong visual counterpoint to the diverse landscape that surrounds it.”


Dundee Kilmer Selected to Build Athletes’ Village for 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games


Infrastructure Ontario, in partnership with Waterfront Toronto, has announced that the team of Dundee Kilmer Development Limited is the preferred proponent selected to design, build and finance the Pan Am Athletes’ Village project in the West Don Lands.

The Athletes’ Village will provide accommodations for the athletes and officials participating in the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. After the Games, the Village area will become a mixed-use and mixed-income community as outlined in Waterfront Toronto’s award-winning Precinct Plan for the West Don Lands.

The Dundee Kilmer team was chosen after an open, fair and competitive procurement process overseen by a third party fairness advisor.  Throughout the bidding process, Dundee Kilmer consistently demonstrated its proven ability to finance, design, develop and construct large, world-class projects such as this one.  

Infrastructure Ontario and Waterfront Toronto are now negotiating contract details with the team.  Following finalization of a contract, the project is expected to reach commercial and financial close in fall 2011. Project costs will be announced publicly following financial close and construction is expected to begin shortly thereafter.


The Dundee Kilmer Development team includes:
•    Dundee Realty Corporation – Equity Investor, Developer
•    Kilmer Van Nostrand Co. Limited – Equity Investor, Developer
•    EllisDon Corporation – Design Builder, Constructor
•    Ledcor Design Build (Ontario) Inc. – Design Builder, Constructor
•    Brookfield Financial Corp. – Financial Advisor
•    architectsAlliance – Joint Venture Architect
•    Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg – Joint Venture Architect
•    Daoust LeStage Inc. – Urban Design Architect
•    TEN Arquitectos – Design



Bayside’s First Building and Waterfront Area at Design Review Panel


Concept design for the first building in the Bayside development and the plans for the pedestrian promenade and a street along the waterfront of Bayside were recently presented at Waterfront Toronto’s Design Review Panel and received overwhelming support from the panel.  Bayside, a $800 million private sector development in the East Bayfront, runs east from Sherbourne Common to the Parliament Slip south of Queens Quay Boulevard. The project includes several buildings that will be built in phases from west to east. Hines, the private sector development partner for the project, commissioned acclaimed architecture firm Arquitectonica to design Bayside’s first residential building that also features ground floor retail spaces.

Arquitectonica presented a design in which the building appears as a set of cubes on top of one another with large windows and limestone panels between the windows.  Along the lake end of the building is one section that looks like a suspended lantern or cube that is supported by pillars. The space between the cube and the building becomes an outdoor amenity for residents with stunning views of the lake. A public space runs west to east through the building and connects Bonnycastle Street to Sherbourne Common.

West 8 and du Toit Allsopp Hillier presented plans for the pedestrian areas and a street along the waterfront portion of Bayside. The street is designed as a pedestrian friendly woonerf, a street that allows vehicles to move through at reduced speeds while encouraging pedestrian activity. The street promotes interaction with retail and cultural spaces that will be located in buildings along its north side and will help ensure the area is animated and inviting all year long. The plan also features a continuation of the Water’s Edge Promenade and boardwalk along the lake side of the development south of the woonerf. The Design Review Panel gave unanimous support for the project to move forward.



Tommy Thompson Park Improvements


Waterfront Toronto is working with Toronto and Region Conservation to make improvements to Tommy Thompson Park, a unique urban wilderness minutes from downtown. Located in the Port Lands at the foot of Leslie Street, Tommy Thompson Park is home to the largest existing natural habitat on Toronto’s waterfront. In the future, the park will be incorporated into the larger Lake Ontario Park that is planned for the southern section of the Port Lands.

The improvements include building a new park entrance, washrooms, shelter and look-out area, staff booth and interpretative centre, and bird banding station. The project will also deliver trail updates and enhancements to aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Trail improvements and maintenance and the planting of aquatic plants to enhance shoreline areas are already complete. Work continues on improving meadow areas by planting native grass and weeding and tending wildflowers.  
Construction of the new buildings and infrastructure has begun with the mobilization of equipment and materials and the completion of early site preparations, including moving the existing bird banding building and armour stones.      
For additional information on park location, hours of operation and special events, please visit



Don River Park Construction Update


Don River Park, the massive 7.3 hectare park in the West Don Lands designed to integrate into the area’s flood protection landform, continues to take shape. Subgrade mechanicals in the water play area are complete and the installation of the wooden deck in the park’s play areas continues. Installation of play equipment is ongoing.

The installation of marsh soils, boulders and planting is complete. The installation of the park’s granular paths and the soils required for the planting of trees and shrubs is ongoing. Tree planting of the more than 700 varieties of deciduous and coniferous trees native to southern Ontario is underway. The plantings throughout the park will create large forested pockets easily accessible by the extensive pathway system. The extensive marsh area is nearing completion. The boardwalk handrails will be installed shortly.  


The pavilion at Don River Park.

The marsh area at Don River Park.


Underpass Park Construction Update


Underpass Park, which will transform unused space beneath a series of overpasses in the West Don Lands into a unique community space, continues to advance. In the section immediately east of St. Lawrence Street, the play equipment has been installed and concrete seating benches are complete. Lighting and electrical infrastructure has been installed, and the pouring of the pavement concrete and the ribbon wall features are also complete.

Work also continues on the portion of the park east of River Street. Concrete paving and the excavation of wall footings and preparation of formwork is almost complete. Lighting is being installed and work on the footings for the structural poles to support the basketball nets is scheduled to begin in early October.


Playground equipment installation at Underpass Park.


West Don Lands Stormwater Infrastructure Update


Progress continues on the stormwater treatment and conveyance system Waterfront Toronto is constructing to service the West Don Lands community and the future North Keating portion of the Lower Don Lands. The system will carry stormwater from the West Don Lands through a series of underground shafts and tunnels to the main treatment facility. The stormwater will then undergo several stages of treatment before the treated water is sent through a tunnel to the Keating Channel where it will be discharged into Lake Ontario.

The system consists of four shafts: the main shaft located at 480 Lake Shore Boulevard, the West Don Lands shaft located just north of the rail line, the Keating shaft located on the north side of the Keating Channel, and the Cherry shaft located on Cherry Street just south of the rail line north of Lake Shore Boulevard.

Boring of the outfall tunnel from the main shaft to the Keating shaft is complete and the tunnel machine is being backed out to begin tunnelling north to the smaller West Don Lands shaft.  At the Keating Channel, completion of the coffer dam has allowed construction of the storm sewer outfall, which is almost complete. Construction of the Keating shaft will commence in early October.

Construction of the Cherry shaft at the rail line is also scheduled to begin in early October and construction will require Cherry Street to be closed for approximately two months and the Don Valley Trail to be re-routed. 

The Cherry shaft at the rail line is also scheduled to begin in early October. Construction of this shaft requires Cherry Street to be closed to vehicular traffic for approximately two months and the Don Valley Trail to be re-routed.  


Cherry Street Closure and Re-routing of the Don Valley Trail


Construction of the Cherry street tunnel portion of the West Don Lands stormwater management system requires a temporary closure of Cherry Street from Lake Shore Boulevard to north of the rail line. The closure which is expected to last approximately two months is scheduled to begin in mid-October.

The work also requires the closure of the sidewalk along the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard between Cherry Street and Parliament Street.  The Don Valley Trail will be re-routed for cyclist and pedestrian safety.

There is ongoing construction activity in the area, so please exercise caution while using the trail. Thank you for your patience as we construct this important system of infrastructure. Please see the map for further details.


East Bayfront Sanitary Sewer Construction Update


The construction of a new sanitary sewer necessary to service the East Bayfront community is now taking place on the Esplanade between Scott Street and Church Street. The first stage of construction along Jarvis Street from Wilton Street to Lake Shore Boulevard is now complete. However, crews will return to the area later this autumn for the next phase of construction which will see work continue work down Jarvis Street to Queens Quay Boulevard and beyond.



Construction of the sanitary sewers on the Esplanade.


York Quay Construction Update


All excavation is complete and construction of the new underground parking garage at Harbourfront Centre is now underway. Waterproofing is now about 50 percent completed. Installation of exterior walls, column footings and the first level of columns has started, and work has begun on the elevator and stairwells and also on the sump pit which will collect and drain any water that gets into the garage. Crews expect to pour concrete on B3, the third and lowest level of the basement, at the end of September. You can watch the construction progress online.


Construction work underway at York Quay.


Mimico Waterfront Park Construction Update


Progress continues on phase two of Mimico Waterfront Park. Survey work of the property lines on the north side of the park is now complete.  

Work has begun on the final sub-grade shaping, beginning at the west end of site and moving east. Existing concrete slabs and armour stone are being removed from the shoreline and transported to the east end of the site and borehole drilling is being conducted to support installation of the new boardwalk. Site layout and infilling near the gazebo at the park’s eastern end continues.    

In the coming weeks, shaping of the shoreline will continue and existing stockpiled rubble from the west side of site will be transported to the east side and used as fill. Rip rap –  rock or other material used to armour shorelines, streambeds, and other shoreline structures against water and ice erosion – will be installed to protect the shoreline starting at the west side.                            



Phase II construction at Mimico Waterfront Park.

Construction underway at Mimico Waterfront Park.


“My Waterfront” Photo Exhibit Finalists


The Waterfront BIA and Redpath have announced the finalists for “My Waterfront”, a photo contest and exhibit that can be viewed at the Queens Quay Terminal from October 1 – 10.

The contest invited the public to submit their best photographs of Toronto’s waterfront, which were shared, and voted for, online. The photos with the highest number of votes each week of the 11 week contest are part of the exhibit. You can view the photos here.



Photo by Week 3 finalist Ishraq Alim from Toronto.


Did You Know?


In the 1850s, a massive campaign of lake-filling was undertaken to expand the shore land south to the Esplanade. For the next hundred years, the shore was extended farther and farther south. The original shoreline was north of today’s rail corridor, and Front Street was built along the edge of the shoreline.

Learn more about the interesting history of Toronto’s waterfront.


Toronto's waterfront in the 1850s.


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