news from our new blue edge

June 2011


Cutting-Edge Ultra-High Speed Broadband


On June 7, Waterfront Toronto announced that it is partnering with the pioneering telecommunications firm, Beanfield Metroconnect, to create Canada’s first open-access ultra-high speed broadband community network. The ultra-broadband infrastructure will transform the neighbourhoods into intelligent communities that revolutionize how residents receive telecommunications services, promote economic growth and development, and enable innovation. The infrastructure will make the East Bayfront and West Don Lands communities among the most connected in the world.

Every home and business in the new communities will be wired with fibre and provided with affordable and unlimited access to ultra-high speed Internet. The network will provide full community wide WI-FI service, plus deliver Internet connections starting at 100 megabits per second for residential customers and up to 10 gigabits per second for commercial customers – all at an extraordinarily competitive cost. At present, broadband of this calibre is not available for residential users in Toronto, and commercial access is significantly less affordable in Toronto than in other leading world cities.

Waterfront residents and businesses will have the highest performance Internet services in Canada and guaranteed “among the best in the world” network services for more than a decade.

Waterfront Toronto’s media announcement generated extensive media coverage locally, nationally and internationally.  In addition to stories in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and National Post newspapers, the announcement was covered on the global Reuters newswire service and appeared online in the New York Times, USA Today, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, International Business Times, World News Australia, and TCM Net

Learn more about ultra-broadband on the waterfront.


“Enabling ultra-fast and reliable communications infrastructure is vital to sustaining Ontario’s long-term prosperity and driving innovation. ‘Intelligent communities’ like the ones being built by Waterfront Toronto will help us create jobs and bring leading-edge businesses to our province.”

Hon. Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation

“Expanding the availability of ultra-broadband is a key strategic component in our quest to be a world leader in ITC, interactive digital media and other creative and knowledge-heavy sectors. We have advanced companies and a talented, highly educated workforce that needs a superior communications infrastructure to compete on the world stage. Installing ultra-broadband capability in the waterfront communities will provide a significant boost to our attractiveness as a prime destination for international business investment.”

Toronto City Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of Toronto's Economic Development Committee

“Global cities are competing fiercely for talent and business.  Those that succeed are the ones that provide environments and tools for the creators within the city to live well and work well.  It does not matter if they are creating art, engines or financial derivatives.  This ultra-broadband initiative of Waterfront Toronto is providing both the environment and the tools for creators to continue growing Toronto on the world stage.  It is the exact type of approach that will distinguish us in this ever flat and competitive world”

Renato Discenza, President and CEO, Invest Toronto



Report to the Community 2011


Waterfront Toronto has released its 2011 Report to the Community. The report, which was produced digitally and is only available online, features a review of waterfront revitalization progress achieved over the past year and a look ahead at what is to come.

The environmentally sustainable digital format report was developed as an interactive experience for readers and it incorporates informative articles, videos, image galleries and links.

Read the report and discovering how our waterfront is changing at Tell us what you think of the report.




Cultural Proposals Sought


Waterfront Toronto is interested in hearing from cultural groups, creative industries and festival organizers interested in being part of the revitalized waterfront.

As part of its ongoing effort to bring diverse, vibrant forms of culture and animation to Toronto’s waterfront, the corporation has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (ROEI) seeking submissions from organizations interested in locating to East Bayfront or West Don Lands.

The new waterfront communities currently under development offer a range of opportunities for office and gallery uses, museums, public art, performing arts centres, cultural centres and festivals. Waterfront Toronto would like to hear from interested firms and groups who have the experience, vision and funding support to help transform Toronto’s waterfront into a world-class cultural destination. The ROEI closes July 29 at 4pm.


Sherbourne Common North Opening Soon


Construction of Sherbourne Common north is nearly complete and the park should be open to the public in July.

Construction crews recently finished installing the park’s playground equipment and the rubber surfacing around the equipment. They are now placing river stones in the water channel and have recently installed handrails for the walkway over the channel.

Sherbourne Common’s water channel, which runs the length of the park, will function as a unique urban river. Stormwater that has been treated in park’s UV facility will be released from three dramatic art sculptures that tower over the river on the section of the park north of Queens Quay. 

The clean water will cascade down a mesh veil to the river and at night motion sensors along paths and walkways will trigger lights to illuminate the water as it falls.  Water in the urban river will run under Queens Quay and through Sherbourne Common south before it is released into Lake Ontario.

An official opening event for the park is planned for July. Details will be circulated as soon as they are finalized.


Waterfront’s Latest Hotspot


The transformation of Toronto’s eastern waterfront continues with the opening of Against the Grain, the first restaurant in East Bayfront.

Located in Corus Quay and fronting the new water’s edge promenade, the new gastro pub features stunning views of Toronto’s harbour.

Against the Grain is the first of many restaurants, shops and cafés planned for the new vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood. By combining beautiful parks and animated spaces with successful commercial and residential development, East Bayfront will be a destination for residents and visitors alike.


Against the Grain is open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. For more information visit their website at


Living Streets Coming to Life


Work has begun on the woonerfs or living streets in the West Don Lands, with the installation of underground watermains, as well as stormwater and sanitary sewers.

Woonerfs are pedestrian-oriented streets that erase the boundary between the sidewalk and the street, and provide a common public space shared by pedestrians, cyclists and low-speed motor vehicles.

Commonly found in Europe and other parts of the world, they are new to most of North America. The woonerfs in the West Don Lands, which are being built in the north eastern quadrant of the new neighbourhood adjacent to the River City and Toronto Community Housing developments, are the first time the street design is used in Toronto.  

One woonerf will run between the south edge of the housing developments at Underpass Park from St. Lawrence Street past the new River Street east to Don River Park.  A second woonerf will run north parallel to Don River Park on the east side of River City.


Don River Park Construction Update


Construction of Don River Park, the massive 7.3 hectare (18 acre) park that will be a cornerstone of the West Don Lands, continues to move along on schedule.

Progress continues on the park’s pavilion. Work has begun on the installation of the building’s exterior wood siding, as well as the wood soffits on the building’s canopy. Drywall installation and work on the pavilion’s interior finishing have also commenced.

Landscape and infrastructure work to support the park is progressing. Work on underground services continues, and the concrete work to support the features in the marsh area such as the boardwalk and weir wall is complete. Construction of the marsh boardwalk, deck and curbs will commence soon.

In the water play area, the installation of the mechanical works and the concrete steps is underway. The water play area wood deck will begin shortly, followed by the installation of the pond liner.


Construction of the pavilion at Don River Park.


Underpass Park Construction Update


Work continues on Underpass Park, a unique urban space under and around the Eastern Avenue, Richmond and Adelaide overpasses.

In the section of the park just east of St. Lawrence Street, the stormwater and sanitary systems are complete. Installation of the ribbon walls that will become the park’s benches are underway and electrical trenching has begun. Excavation continues on the same portion of the park to enable the installation of geotextiles and clean fill to final grade.  
Work is also underway on the portion of the park further east. Subgrades are being established to permit final grading.


Bench installation at Underpass Park.


Central Waterfront Update Meeting


Approximately 80 community members joined Waterfront Toronto on June 9 for the semi-annual Central Waterfront update meeting. The meeting began with a general update on waterfront revitalization projects and then more detailed presentations on Central Waterfront projects. The meeting included updates on the work underway at Portland Slip water’s edge promenade and boardwalk, construction of the York Quay underground parking garage next to the Harbourfront Centre, and an overview of the detailed design for the revitalization of Queens Quay Boulevard from Spadina Avenue to Bay Street. The meeting also included a question and answer session and opportunities for members of the community to provide feedback.


Artist rendering of Queens Quay Boulevard.

All presentations from the June 9 Central Waterfront Community Update Meeting are available for review on our website.


York Quay Construction Update


Over the last month, excavation continued at the York Quay underground parking garage next to the Harbourfront Centre.

Approximately 16,000 cubic metres of the total 45,000 cubic metres of soil and rock have been excavated so far and construction crews are now approximately 10 metres below grade along the perimeter of the site. They will continue the excavation, moving from the perimeter into the centre of the area. Once excavation is completed in August, waterproofing of the excavated area will begin. This will involve placing a membrane between the shoring wall and the walls of the parking garage. Construction of the parking garage itself will also begin shortly after excavation. Construction will continue until early 2012.


Waterfront Toronto and Social Media


As part of our ongoing effort to communicate and keep the community informed about waterfront revitalization, Waterfront Toronto is using major social media platforms. To stay up-to-date with the latest news and information, we encourage you to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and upload your favourite waterfront photos and videos to our Flickr and YouTube channel.

In upcoming monthly newsletters, we will feature your Flickr photos and YouTube videos. This month’s images of the light sculptures at Sherbourne Common north taken during construction trials are brought to you courtesy of community member and professional photographer, Linda Edwards.

Images courtesy of Linda Edwards. The park will open to the public in July.


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