news from our new blue edge

September 2012


George Brown College Waterfront Campus Now Open


Classes are now underway at the new George Brown College waterfront campus. Located on Dockside Drive in East Bayfront, with stunning views of Lake Ontario and Sherbourne Common, the campus is a new centre of excellence for health education and community wellness on the waterfront.

Accommodating 3,500 full-time and 450 continuous learning students, the campus brings together four schools which were formerly spread across several locations. These include the schools of Nursing, Dental Health, Health and Wellness, and Health Services Management.

With its open and inviting learning areas and state-of-the-art learning labs, the new campus
provides a unique hands-on learning environment that incorporates both simulation and direct patient care. Designed by Stantec Architecture and KPMB Architects in joint venture, the building features large open areas such as a tall deep set of stairs that provides informal seating which facilitates group discussions and encourages learning outside the classroom.

The campus is on target to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification. The building’s sustainability features include a green roof, alternative fuel stations and energy and water conservation measures which are helping the college significantly reduce its energy usage and water consumption.

Video Tour

Take a tour of the George Brown waterfront campus with The’s  Christopher Hume.  “This is the building that will change everything for the waterfront,” said Hume.



Canada’s Sugar Beach Receives International Praise


Canada’s Sugar Beach has been recognized with another prestigious design award, this time from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Located at the entrance to the East Bayfront community, the whimsical urban beach received a 2012 Honor Award in the General Design category. It was praised for its ability to transform an “industrial space into a real breath of fresh air on the waterfront.”

The ASLA awards celebrate the top public places, residential designs, campuses, parks and urban planning projects from the U.S. and around the world. This year, 37 awards were bestowed out of more than 620 entries. Other winning projects include the National 9/11 Memorial in New York City, China’s Quarry Garden in the Shanghai Botanical Gardens and the Tudela-Culip Restoration Project in Catalonia, Spain.

Canada’s Sugar Beach was designed for Waterfront Toronto by Montreal architectural firm Claude Cormier + Associés. The park transformed a shabby parking lot into a unique public space that features a promenade, plaza, and beach with pink umbrellas and views of Lake Ontario and a sugar refinery. The award is the sixth major design accolade for Canada’s Sugar Beach since it was opened in July 2010.


York Quay Revitalization: Official Opening and Groundbreaking


Local community members and stakeholders joined Waterfront Toronto, Harbourfront Centre and our government partners on August 28 for a dual groundbreaking and opening celebration. The York Quay underground parking facility was officially opened and ground was broken for the new landscape that is converting an asphalt parking lot into a dynamic new public space.

With the underground garage now in operation, construction is underway above ground on two new public spaces by renowned landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates (MVVA). The design for the 1.4 hectare site includes Canada Square, an impressive plaza space overlooking Lake Ontario and Ontario Square, a large public plaza facing Queens Quay.

MVVA’s design brings nature into the plazas in an unconventional way. Canada Square will become a vertical garden featuring 44 majestic Redwood trees. Ontario Square, which features several stands of Ontario Aspen trees, creates a series of miniature forests around the plaza and atop the underground garage’s entrance.

Canada Square and Ontario Square are expected to open to the public next spring.


(From Left to right) Tenio Evangelista, President, Board of Directors of Harbourfront Centre; Hon. Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Province of Ontario; William J.S. Boyle, CEO, Harbourfront Centre; Hon. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour, Government of Canada; Councillor Norm Kelly, Chair, Parks and Environment Committee, City of Toronto; John Campbell, President and CEO of Waterfront Toronto.

Video Highlights
Watch a short video of highlights from the event including interviews with Federal Minister of Labour Hon. Lisa Raitt, Provincial Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Michael Chan and Harbourfront Centre CEO William Boyle.


Waterfront Toronto Releases 2012 Report to the Community


Waterfront Toronto has released its 2012 Report to the Community. The report highlights the revitalization milestones and achievements of the past year, as well as provides an update on projects currently under development.

In keeping with Waterfront Toronto’s efforts to be leaders in sustainability and fiscal responsibility, the report is an online interactive microsite. The report’s theme is dedicated to ‘Building a Great Waterfront,’ and focuses on attracting investment, beautiful and innovative parks and public spaces, leading-edge infrastructure and technology, a clean, green environment, and liveable neighbourhoods.

Visitors to the microsite can view dozens of image galleries and watch videos depicting work progress in various precincts. Included in the report microsite is a short survey asking readers to weigh in on what they think makes a great waterfront.

View the 2012 Report to the Community at and discover how we are making Toronto’s waterfront great.


2011/2012 Year-In Review Video
See what kind of a year it was on the waterfront. View Waterfront Toronto year-in-review video on YouTube.



Queens Quay Construction Update


Waterfront Toronto and Eastern Construction have received a permit from the City of Toronto to begin demolition of the TTC corridor from west of Bay Street to Lower Spadina Avenue.  The TTC corridor and tracks are at the end of their lifespan and are being demolished, slightly realigned and completely rebuilt as part of Queens Quay revitalization.

Over the next few weeks crews will undertake preconstruction activities in preparation for the demolition. One of the first activities will be to obtain “locates” to identify gas, electrical, water and other services in and around the work area.

The TTC corridor demolition, which is expected to get underway in October, will result in some localized lane closures. The TTC 509 replacement bus service will continue along Queens Quay, with no route changes, during the demolition work.  Complete construction details will be available each week in a Queens Quay Construction Notice. Subscribe now to receive weekly construction notices for the project.


River City Construction Update


Construction of phase one of River City continues to advance in the West Don Lands. The King Street building, the taller of the two buildings being built in this development phase, was topped off in late August. The last crane onsite is expected to be dismantled and removed in the coming weeks.

The waterproofing of the building and installation of suite windows has reached the sixth floor. On the inside of the building installation of interior studs, mechanical and electrical services and suite demising walls – the walls that separate one residential unit from another and from the common corridor – is well underway.  

Progress has also been steady at the development’s River Street building. All exterior windows with the exception of some ground floor windows and those on sixth and seventh floor penthouses have been installed. The penthouse and remaining ground floor windows will be completed over the next couple of weeks. Interior finishing is well advanced with approximately 80 percent of the units now fully drywalled and primed. Installation of the kitchens and exterior metal cladding will begin in the next few weeks.

The pool and deck structures in the landscaped courtyard shared between phases one and two are also underway. The 15,000 square foot courtyard offers a private dining area surrounded by a grove of aspens, a floating deck and a heated, illuminated lap pool where residents can relax or entertain.

River City is the first private sector development in the West Don Lands. Construction of the development’s second phase is scheduled to get underway next year. The three 12-storey glass mini-towers that will be connected by glass bridges and overlook Don River Park have been selling well since sales launched last fall. To learn more or to purchase a unit, visit the River City sales centre at 554 Queen St. East or


Underpass Park Phase Two Construction Update


Construction of phase two of Underpass Park, located in the West Don Lands west of St. Lawrence Street to Eastern Avenue, continues to progress.  The concrete ribbon walls that will provide informal seating are complete. Planting soil continues to be installed and the installation of plant materials has begun. The installation of lighting and irrigation will begin shortly.

Phase one of the park, located east of St Lawrence Street opened to rave reviews earlier this summer.  The park is the most extensive park ever built under an overpass in Canada and Toronto’s first.  The derelict space under and around the Eastern Avenue and Richmond/Adelaide overpasses was transformed into an unexpected and inviting community asset with striking public art, inviting climbing structures, two half-basketball courts and a skateboard park.

The second phase of Underpass Park is largely in an area that is not covered by the overpasses, providing an opportunity to add much needed natural elements to the park. It will include a dense grove of salt and drought resistant trees, grass and other plantings that will add a natural landscape to offset the concrete of the overpasses.

Phase two of Underpass Park is expected to open in spring 2013. Visitors can access phase one of the park from River Street, south of King Street.

Watch a short video with highlights from the official opening event of phase one of Underpass Park on Waterfront Toronto’s YouTube Channel.


Port Union Waterfront Park Construction Update


Construction of Port Union Waterfront Park is nearing completion. The unique 13.5 hectare linear waterfront park at the eastern edge of the city provides lakefront access in an area where previously none existed. The park includes improved recreational access to the waterfront, shoreline protection, cobblestone beaches, pedestrian lookouts, connections to waterfront trails, and the creation of terrestrial and aquatic habitat.

Work on the park’s second and final phase, located between Chesterton Shores in the west to the Rouge River in the east, is slated to be completed this fall. Trail surfacing on the Chesterton Shores section of the park and the paving of the multi-use trail between Rouge Beach and the Adam’s Creek wetland are underway. Hydro lines will be removed shortly, while the hydro poles will be left in place as bird perches. The remainder of the work will take place over the next several weeks.  

When phase two is complete the park will feature 3.6 kilometres of continuous waterfront trail between the mouth of Highland Creek and the Rouge River close to the border with Pickering. Phase two of Port Union Park is scheduled to open to the public this fall.

Waterfront Toronto, in partnership with Toronto and Region Conservation, opened the 1.4 kilometre first portion of the park in September 2006. The park’s Western Gateway, a stunning pedestrian connection between waterfront public parks in Toronto and Pickering opened in June 2010.  The Gateway was jointly funded by Waterfront Toronto and the City of Pickering.


Mimico Waterfront Park Construction Update


The final phase of Mimico Waterfront Park in Etobicoke is almost complete. When phase two opens this fall, Mimico Waterfront Park will provide 1.1 kilometres of continuous linear waterfront park between Norris Crescent Parkette and Humber Bay Park West.

Waterfront Toronto, in partnership with Toronto and Region Conservation, opened the first 600 metre portion of the park in 2008. The final 500 metres of the linear park will enable Torontonians to enjoy the lakefront west of Humber Bay Park West for the first time and will provide the missing link in the city’s waterfront trail system.

Phase two includes a new section of waterfront trail between Superior Avenue and Humber Bay Park West. The project also includes a 250 metre cantilevered boardwalk, a separate multi-use trail located along the backshore adjacent to the boardwalk, small pockets of wetland habitat, landscaping and park lighting.

The installation of electrical conduit and the placement of sand, armourstone and cobble protection in the east backwater area is complete. Landscape paving stones within the plaza area is also finished.  Work has begun on placing the crusher stone for the trail base, and the armourstone retaining wall in the west backwater area is underway. The remaining finishing work will take place over the next several weeks and the second phase is expected to open to the public in October.


New Design Review Panel Members


The Waterfront Design Review Panel has two new members. This fall, Pat Hanson, Founding Partner of gh3 and Gerry Faubert, Managing Principal of Integral Group, joined the 10-member panel.

An independent advisory body that guides and informs the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront, the panel provides input and advice to Waterfront Toronto on public projects such as parks and infrastructure and private buildings, including residential and commercial structures.

Ms. Hanson and Mr. Faubert each bring more than 30 years of professional experience to the panel. Ms. Hanson’s firm gh3 specializes in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design and she was the design architect for the award-winning Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant Site Design, Bloor Street Revitalization and the Union Station Precinct Study.  

Mr. Faubert’s engineering firm, Integral Group, is internationally recognized as a leader in healthy, affordable, and efficient building design.  Mr. Faubert has played key roles in many innovative and sustainably designed projects including the Jean Canfield Government of Canada Building which received a Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence and the Brownie Award-winning University of Waterloo School of Architecture.

Thank You to Panel Members Who Have Completed Their Terms

Waterfront Toronto would also like to thank three members who have completed their terms with the Waterfront Design Review Panel. Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance, Greg Smallenberg of Phillips, Farevaag, Smallenberg and Peter Busby of Perkins + Will, provided expert guidance on such projects as the Parkside (Monde) and Bayside developments, Underpass Park, and the revitalization of York Quay.



Call to Artists Issued for West Don Lands


Waterfront Toronto has launched a Prequalification of Artists for three public art opportunities in the West Don Lands.

The Prequalification is the first step of the artwork selection process for three permanent pieces, each by a different artist or artist team. All three art sites are located within what will be highly animated public realm along a new section of Front Street east of Cherry Street.  The three works of art will be completed by the summer of 2015.

One of the three art sites is located at the Bayview Avenue and Front Street intersection and will be a legacy for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. The new section of Front Street is the centre of the portion of the West Don Lands that is being developed as the Athletes’ Village for the Games.

A site one block west of Bayview Avenue will be a Children’s Art Zone and will contain artwork that invites playful interaction.  While a site east of Cherry Street will be the Front Street Landmark and will feature artwork that acts as a landmark or gateway for people travelling from the downtown core to the West Don Lands.

Waterfront Toronto is developing the three sites simultaneously to ensure a sense of cohesiveness in the art program and to help anchor and define the new West Don Lands community.


Follow Waterfront Toronto on:

Facebook Twitter Youtube Flickr RSS Feed