news from our new blue edge

April 2016


The Next Phase of the West Don Lands is Coming to Life!

A view of the West Don Lands looking west towards downtown Toronto. 

Waterfront Toronto was established to deliver high-quality, sustainable, inclusive communities that are connected to adjacent areas and to the rest of the city. Earlier this month, the very first of these new communities – the West Don Lands – opened for the public to explore and discover.

Last summer, a portion of the West Don Lands temporarily served as the home-away-from-home for 10,000 athletes and officials during the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. With the conversion of the former athletes’ village to its legacy purpose now complete and the fences removed, the next phase of the West Don Lands is coming to life.

Residents already living in the River City and Toronto Community Housing developments are being joined by those moving into the Canary District and the Fred Victor and Wigwamen affordable housing developments. The Cooper-Koo Family YMCA will open next month, retailers will open throughout the spring and this fall the first ever George Brown College Student Residence will open its doors and also call the West Don Lands home.

To learn more about this exciting new neighbourhood and what makes it unique, check out our recent blog post.


Four Ways to Get Involved with Project: Under Gardiner

Want to learn more about this project that is reclaiming 1.75 kilometres of public space beneath the elevated Gardiner Expressway? There are four easy ways to get involved right now - both in-person and online.

Join a walking workshop
Park People, Waterfront Toronto, and PUBLIC WORK are hosting a series of walking workshops where you can learn more about the project and share your feedback with the team. Each walk is approximately 2 hours. The next walk will be on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8, 2016) as part of Jane’s Walk.

REGISTER NOW to book your spot.

Share your feedback online
The project team has posted a series of short videos that help to explain the project’s different components. Alongside those videos are materials from the public meeting held earlier this month. To watch the videos, download materials and provide your comments, please visit:

Attend an upcoming public meeting
Save the date for our next public meeting scheduled for May 31, 2016. At this meeting, we’ll report back on the public feedback the project has received and present an update on the design process. If you’d like to receive more details about the meeting as it gets closer, sign up for email updates

Vote for your favourite name
The people of Toronto submitted over 800 names to be considered for this new type of public space. Earlier this month, we convened a jury of local community builders, cultural leaders, volunteers and engaged citizens who met to shortlist the top names. Now, it’s time for you to vote for your favourites. The #ReclaimTheName polls opened today.

Rally behind the name you love the most. Voting will be open for only ten days – and you can cast your vote once each day. Check back daily to see if your name is leading.

Visit to cast your vote.



Bringing Arts and Culture to Our New Waterfront Neighbourhoods

Building on the success of Nuit Blanche 2015 and our recent Sugar Beach Sugar Shack event, we’re doing even more to help Torontonians revisit and reimagine their waterfront. (Image: Christof Migone’s Hit installed on Queens Quay. Photo by Connie Tsang.) 

Waterfront Toronto has lead the revitalization of our city’s waterfront with high-quality parks and signature public realm. That’s why places like Canada’s Sugar Beach (one of the city’s most requested parks for event permits) and Corktown Common (only a few years old and already a favourite in Toronto’s east end) were in place before residents began to move in to our new neighbourhoods. Now, with the West Don Lands reopened and new residents moving in, our thoughts are increasingly turning to how programming these spaces can really bring them to life. 

This summer, we’ll build on these efforts with Waterfront Toronto's new Animating Our Waterfront program. It’s a pilot project that will award up to $5,000 to artists or arts organizations who want to present arts and cultural programming in waterfront public spaces.

Our goal is to host arts and cultural programming that celebrates the new public spaces and invites Torontonians and visitors alike to enjoy them. We’re looking forward to a summer of dance, music, theatre, visual arts, performance, literary and media arts, and maybe some combinations of any of the above.

Do you know an artist or arts organization who would like to participate in this program? Share this blog post or download the program application guidelines.




 Join Waterfront Toronto at Jane's Walk

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The Water Guardians, by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins with James Khamsi.

Every year, Jane's Walk is held during the first weekend in May to coincide with the birthday of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs. This year, the Jane's Walk festival is taking place from May 6-8 and Waterfront Toronto is leading tours through the West Don Lands and East Bayfront neighbourhoods. 
West Don Lands Public Art Collection
The West Don Lands is Toronto’s next great neighbourhood – people focused, family friendly, environmentally sustainable and designed for living. Modeled by Waterfront Toronto’s award-winning Precinct Plan, the creation of this community has seen the transformation of post-industrial flood lands into a lively, sustainable neighbourhood.

Waterfront Toronto considers an inspiring public art program to be an essential component of a successful public realm and, as the neighbourhood was designed, public art was considered from the start. Rebecca Carbin, our public art program manager, is leading a Jane's Walk tour through the West Don Lands, a neighbourhood framed by its collection of public art. While looking at the vibrant composition of the neighbourhood as a whole, the tour will engage participants in a discussion about the role of art in the city, the challenges of public commissioning, and benefits of a community-wide art collection.

Friday, May 6 at 10:30 a.m
Saturday, May 7 at 10:30 a.m.

REGISTER NOW to book your spot.

East Bayfront
Explore the developing East Bayfront neighbourhood with representatives from Waterfront Toronto, Artscape, and Daniels Waterfront - City of the Arts. Learn about the industrial heritage of this area and its future as a diverse, mixed-use community, tied together by a public art master plan.

We’ll look at existing parks and public spaces and art installations, and explain how they’re part of a bigger vision for the East Bayfront neighbourhood, which includes new homes for artists.

Saturday, May 7 at 12:30 p.m.
Meet at the Daniels Presentation Centre (162 Queens Quay East)

More details will be made available next week at


In brief

Sugar High 
This March, Sugar Beach came alive with music and maple at the first-ever Sugar Beach Sugar Shack, which attracted more than 10,000 people to the waterfront. We were thrilled with the level of interest in this new community event, and excited to introduce Sugar Beach to some visitors who had yet to visit this revitalized space. Check out this short video recap of the sugar-filled weekend here.

The West Don Lands recognized with CSLA National Award
Each year, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects recognizes preeminent examples of Canadian landscape architecture in the National Awards of Excellence. This year, the West Don Lands was one of two award recipients in the Public Landscapes Designed by a Landscape Architect category. Award-winning projects illustrate how landscape architects are helping to reshape our communities - defining the places we want to live, work and play. See the full list of winners here.

Queens Quay Revitalization wins Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO) Award of Merit 
This April, CEO recognized 14 engineering firms whose projects contributed to improving Ontario’s social, economic and environmental well-being. Selected by a panel of five independent judges, the Queens Quay Revitalization was awarded for its stunning transformation from a neglected road into an iconic boulevard. Learn more about the win here.


Activate & Elevate Under the Gardiner

A think tank hosted by Lord Cultural Resources

Friday, April 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Join Lord Cultural Resources and members of the Project: Under Gardiner team for an insightful discussion with a group of international thought leaders, planners and designers. The Under Gardiner “Think Tank” is being convened to discuss the programs, activities and events that will define, shape, transform and energize the nearly 2-kilometre stretch of this once forgotten urban space.

International Thought Leaders In-Attendance

ALEX GILLIAM, Founding Director, Public Workshop
ALI HOSSAINI, Artist & CEO, CAN: Cinema Arts Network (UK)
HELEN MARRIAGE, Director, Artichoke Festival 
KENNETH MONTAGUE, Art Collector/Curator

Register for this event on Eventbrite.


Project: Under Gardiner is transforming a 1.75-kilometre stretch of public realm beneath the Gardiner Expressway from Strachan Avenue to Spadina Avenue. This new space will be home to a variety of cultural and recreational activities for Torontonians and visitors alike.


Manulife Paddle the Don

This Sunday, May 1, people of all ages will flock to the Don River for the annual Manulife Paddle the Don event. This environmental event celebrates and raises community awareness about the importance of healthy rivers in Toronto and the surrounding regions. It also brings community spirit around the river to encourage everyone to protect and regenerate the Don.

Although registration is full, you can still sign up for the waiting list or pledge a paddler


Proceeds from Manulife Paddle the Don will be used to support TRCA in the ongoing effort to protect, conserve, and enhance the Don River watershed.


Save the date: Doors Open

The 17th annual Doors Open Toronto returns on Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29. The event will offer free and rare access to more than 130 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings in Toronto. 

Waterfront Toronto will be hosting a tour of the West Don Lands Public Art Collection. Visit in May for full details.


Site Specific by Scott Eunson is one of eight public art installations in the recently opened West Don Lands. 


Artfest Toronto 2016

This upcoming Victoria Day weekend, Artfest Toronto will host its annual outdoor arts and crafts show amongst the cobblestone lanes of the Distillery Historic District. 

Come explore a wide-range of one-of-a-kind, world-class artwork at this exhibition in the heart of the old city. Admission is free!


May 21 – 23, 2016 
11am – 6pm Daily


Don Dialogues: Accidental Parkland Film Screening

On May 10th, Evergreen Brick works is hosting a film screening of the documentary Accidental Parkland: The bounty and the burden of Toronto's Ravines

Come explore Toronto’s vast ravine system and the role it plays in the new Don River Valley Park, followed by a panel discussion including the filmmaker Dan Berman. Register here to save your spot. 


Admission is free


Heritage Streetcars Return to Queens Quay 

The TTC will again operate is heritage Presidents' Conference Committee (PCC) streetcar on Sunday afternoons this summer. Beginning Victoria Day, the heritage streetcar will run on the 509 Harbourfront route until Labour Day weekend. 

Catch a ride along Queens Quay on one of the "red rockets" that were once the workhorse of the TTC's streetcar fleet. 


PCC operation is subject to vehicle availability


Project update: East Bayfront

Looking east towards ongoing construction at Bayside.

Queens Quay East
Construction crews working at Hines-Tridel’s Bayside development are now accessing this site intermittently via a driveway just east of Bonnycastle Street. When this access point is in use, a flagman will be stationed at the entrance to direct construction vehicles. Signs have been installed alerting cyclists and pedestrians to watch for turning vehicles. 

East Bayfront Essential External Servicing Infrastructure
Work on the new Sanitary Pumping Station, located at the foot of Cherry Street at Lake Shore Boulevard East, continues. The concrete structure is complete, and mechanical and electrical work is ongoing.

The installation of the storm sewer on Queens Quay from Bonnycastle to Parliament Street is complete, and the road has been repaved and reopened to the public. 

Construction of the two storm forcemains on the east side of Parliament Street from Lake Shore Boulevard to Small Street is nearing completion. Currently, cyclists travelling east or west on the trail are being diverted onto the sidewalk on the east side of Parliament Street. Cyclists must temporarily dismount and share the sidewalk with pedestrians. Please refer to this graphic, which shows the construction zone and diversion: This detour will be removed within the next two weeks.


Project update: West Don Lands

Yoga enthusiasts got their morning #HealthyHour stretch at Corktown Common on April 16 during a free yoga in the park event hosted by the Cooper Koo Cherry St. YMCA. Photo/Saad Javed; YMCA of Greater Toronto

Cooper Koo Family YMCA
You may have seen Cooper Koo Family Cherry Street YMCA staff and volunteers around the neigbourhood recently. They’ve been bringing the inside outside by holding weekly programming, like Yoga in the Park, in the community.

Before the doors officially open May 30, you’ll get a chance to experience what the YMCA has to offer. Tours of this new state-of-the-art, 82,000 square foot Centre of Community officially begin on May 15. A slew of classes will also be offered throughout the day, and then starting May 16 the community at large can swing by the building and participate in classes like Pilates, bootcamp, or a kettlebell workout.

This fun and excitement all leads to the Grand Opening celebration weekend and Open House taking place May 28 and 29. Throughout the weekend, visitors can tour the new YMCA, speak with Y staff, sample foods from local restaurants, or participate in an open swim, a table tennis match, or enjoy a piece of cake in celebration of the Grand Opening.

Once the doors open, the new Y will offer an array of programs including Health & Fitness, Day Camps, Community Programs, and a 30,000 square foot green roof – with an amazing view of the city.

Be sure to stay in touch, or get involved as a volunteer by emailing

To stay on top of it all, sign up for updates at

Cherry Street Streetcar Testing and Commissioning
On April 20, the TTC began testing and commissioning of the new streetcar tracks on Cherry Street. Over the next few weeks, crews will continue making final touches, including installing new streetcar stops at the Distillery Loop and Front Street. Additional testing may be required with minor traffic impacts at intersections along the route. We thank you for your patience and understanding as the TTC brings this new piece of transit infrastructure into operation.

Service on the new 514 Cherry streetcar route will officially begin on Sunday, June 19, 2016. The route will operate between Distillery Loop to Dufferin Gates Loop via King Street. New low-floor accessible streetcars will be operated on this route as they become available through the summer and fall.

New TTC Bus Service
Alongside the 514 Cherry streetcar route, a new bus service will also be introduced to waterfront communities starting June 19. The new 72B Pape bus route will operate between Union Station and Pape Station along Queens Quay East and Commissioners Street. The existing 172 Cherry Street bus will be replaced with a new and expanded 121 Fort York-Esplanade bus route, operating between Fort York and the Distillery District via Union Station. Between May and September, this route will be extended to Cherry Beach. Both bus routes will operate all day, every day. Visit for full details. 


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