news from our new blue edge

September 2010


Don River Park Groundbreaking


Waterfront Toronto together with the Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto officially broke ground on Don River Park in the West Don Lands on September 8.

The massive 7.3 hectare (18 acre) park will connect the long-neglected area southeast of downtown to the rest of the city.  Designed by renowned design firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the park will be a vibrant and inviting feature of the new neighbourhood and a destination for the entire city.  

Expected to open in late 2011/early 2012, the park will transform what was an abandoned post-industrial site into a dynamic, year-round, renaturalized public park, animated by a wide variety of programming and a beautiful multi-functional pavilion.

Stretching from King Street south to the rail corridor in the land west of the Don River and GO/CN railroad lines, Don River Park is the first park in the West Don Lands to begin construction. Construction of the park represents the next stage of development in the mostly provincial owned West Don Lands. The 32 hectare (80 acre) area is a challenging brownfield site in the flood plain of the Don River and before it can be developed, it must first be remediated and flood proofed.

Much of that work is well advanced. Construction of the area’s flood protection landform, which is designed to protect a 99 hectare (245 acre) area that includes not only the West Don Lands but also Toronto’s financial district, is nearing completion.

Don River Park is being built on top of the flood protection landform, and the park was designed to maximize the exceptional topography provided by the landform.  Park features are integrated into the contours and elevation provided by the landform and it capitalizes on the unique landscape to open sightlines to the Toronto skyline, the Don River and Lake Ontario.


L to R:  Ontario Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli, Toronto Mayor David Miller, Waterfront Toronto Chair Mark Wilson, Federal Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty.

“Don River Park is another example of our approach to innovative city building. By locating and designing the park to take full advantage of the flood protection landform we are leveraging essential public infrastructure to deliver what will be a truly stunning park.”

Mark Wilson,
Chair of Waterfront Toronto

ImageArtist Rendering of Don River Park

Learn more about Don River Park



Official Opening of Sherbourne Common South


Join Waterfront Toronto and our government partners on Friday, September 24 at 10am, for the official opening of Sherbourne Common South, an innovative new park in East Bayfront.

More than just a beautiful public space, Sherbourne Common is the first park in Canada to integrate a UV facility for neighbourhood-wide stormwater treatment into its design.

Located in the heart of the new East Bayfront neighbourhood, the south side of Sherbourne Common stretches more than a hectare from Lake Ontario to Queens Quay.  When the north side of the park opens later this fall, the 1.5 hectare park will cover two city blocks from the water’s edge to Lake Shore Boulevard.

If you are planning to attend the opening festivities, please note that there is limited on-street parking in the area. Paid parking is available just east of the park at 261 Queens Quay East. By bus, take the 6 Bay to Jarvis and Queens Quay and walk east to the park or take the 75 Sherbourne, which departs from the Sherbourne subway station.


Join Us
Date:  Friday, September 24th
Time:  10:00am - 11:00am
Location:  Sherbourne Common (south side of Queens Quay, east of Lower Sherbourne St.)
For information: Please contact Hanna Rynkiewicz at 416-214-1344 ext. 276 or



City Council Approves Bayside Development


Toronto City Council overwhelmingly approved Waterfront Toronto’s selection of Hines, one of the world’s premier real estate firms, to develop Bayside, a prominent 4 hectare (10 acre) site in East Bayfront. Backed by an $800 million private sector investment, the development will result in approximately $1.6 billion in total economic activity and $20 million in development charges for the City of Toronto.

Hines will create Toronto’s next great neighbourhood by transforming a formerly under-used area into an active and diverse mixed-use community connected by major parks and public spaces.

Led by an impressive design team including famed architects Cesar Pelli, Fred Clarke and Stanton Eckstut, Hines’ plans for Bayside call for a vibrant new neighbourhood built on a human scale, with mews and small streets that promote a sense of closeness and community all year round. The neighbourhood’s main street — Bonnycastle Street — will draw visitors from across the city and will provide connections to neighbouring public spaces, Sherbourne Common, Queens Quay’s linear park, and the Water’s Edge Promenade.

Reactions to the plans for Bayside have been tremendously positive. The Toronto Star said the “scheme prepared by Hines/Pelli team bodes well for the city and its waterfront” and the National Post calls it a “far cry from the area’s current state.”

The new neighbourhood, located between Lower Sherbourne and Parliament Streets, is expected to be constructed in phases with first occupancy of buildings and completion of new public spaces as early as 2014. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2021.


Artist rendering of Bayside's Aitken Place looking north from the water's edge. Courtesy of Hines.


Video Highlights
Watch a short video from the Bayside announcement on the Waterfront Toronto YouTube channel to learn more about the project. It includes interviews with Hines founder Gerald Hines, and with renowned architects Cesar Pelli, Fred Clarke and Stanton Eckstut.



Artist rendering of Bayside looking east from Sherbourne Common. Courtesy of Hines.


Lower Don Lands Official Plan Amendment Passed


Waterfront Toronto’s plans to transform the Lower Don Lands and renaturalize the mouth of the Don River are now official and binding. In August, Toronto City Council unanimously passed an Official Plan amendment for the Lower Don Lands and a new zoning by-law for the Lower Don Lands first precinct Keating Channel (West). The Official Plan Amendment paves the way for future revitalization of the area including rerouting the river, building flood protection and ultimately building new communities.

Until now, regeneration and development of the Lower Don Lands have been hindered by a number of factors including flood risk, isolation from the rest of the city, soil and groundwater contamination and insufficient infrastructure.  The Lower Don Lands plans address and overcome all of these factors, and will transform this post-industrial area into a sought-after destination to live, work and play based on design excellence, ecology and economic sustainability.

The plans renaturalize the mouth of the Don River by rerouting it through the Lower Don Lands and at the same time protect more than 230 hectares (568 acres) of land currently at risk due to flooding. They also allow the current channelization of the river mouth to be reimagined as a dynamic urban canal neighbourhood.   The flood mitigation measures in the plan eliminate a potential half-billion dollar flood risk, while simultaneously unlocking the economic development potential for the area.


Update on the Don Mouth  Environmental Assessment
The draft Don Mouth Environmental Assessment was submitted to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) for approval under the Environmental Assessment Act at the end of July.  It is expected that the review will take approximately nine to 12 months.  Once approved by MOE, Waterfront Toronto will work with the City and Toronto and Region Conservation to prepare a phasing and business and implementation plan for the project. 





Portland Slip Water's Edge


The City of Toronto has started a first phase of improvements to the Canada Malting Silos site which includes securing safe waterfront access to Ireland Park and repairs to the dockwall adjacent to the silos. As part of this work, the city is undertaking the demolition of the germination and kiln buildings on the western part of the site and will begin construction on the east dockwall in November.

While this work is underway, Waterfront Toronto will make improvements to the water’s edge in this area and build a first phase of water’s edge promenade next to the silos site. The water’s edge promenade, part of the overall vision for the waterfront, will feature a granite walkway with a maple mosaic pattern. It will include a double row of native maple trees which provide shade in the summer and protection from winter winds. The promenade will also offer a safe and convenient way to access Ireland Park from Queens Quay.


Portland Slip Before

ImagePortland Slip After


West Don Lands Construction Update


Construction of Don River Park began in August with the installation of site services to the park pavilion, and with layout, excavation and constructing formwork for the pavilion’s basement walls and footings.
Soil remediation and site preparation continues in the area that will be home to River City, the West Don Lands’ first private sector development.
Infrastructure construction is well underway across the site including the installation of municipal services and hydro. 
Removal of the surcharge material from the southern portion of the flood protection landform is nearly complete. All of the surcharge material has been placed on the northern section of the landform, and the settlement monitoring is underway.
On Mill Street, the installation of district energy piping is approximately 50 percent complete, and construction of the utility duct bank has begun. Silva cell installation will also begin shortly.
Soil remediation and rough grading work is complete on Bayview Avenue, and the installation of sanitary and storm sewers is now underway.


East Bayfront Construction Update

Sherbourne Common North

Crews are continuing to work on the intricate concrete formwork for the park’s water channel. On the north side of the park, the channel features raised pools where water from the three dramatic art features is released. Walkways are also being formed which will allow park visitors to cross over the channel.
Crews are also installing and connecting the concrete piping for the art features as well as the stainless steel scrim walls which will allow water to cascade down into the raised pools. As the construction continues over the next couple of months, the children’s play areas will be built and landscaping will be completed.

Lane Closure - Lower Sherbourne Street

A 110-metre stretch of Lower Sherbourne Street will be closed to northbound car traffic between Queens Quay and Lake Shore Boulevard beginning this fall.  A bicycle lane will remain in place for cyclists traveling northbound. Southbound car and bicycle traffic will not be impacted.
The closure is necessary to complete work on the north side of Sherbourne Common which will open to the public later this year.  It is also the first step in the future alignment of Lower Sherbourne Street with Dockside Drive, a new street that will run along the edge of Sherbourne Common in front of the new George Brown College Waterfront Campus. This future realignment will help to improve the area’s road network.


Pilot Soil Recycling Facility


Operations at our pilot soil recycling facility in the Port Lands began earlier this month, after Waterfront Toronto received final approval to conduct the pilot from the Ministry of the Environment. The pilot is expected to continue until early November.

Waterfront Toronto is conducting the pilot to determine the viability of treating and reusing the contaminated soil that exists throughout the waterfront using soil-washing, complemented by field trials of other cutting-edge technologies. If the pilot confirms the technological, environmental and economic viability of the soil washing process for treating and reusing impacted waterfront soils, we plan to proceed with a larger-scale facility within the next three to five years.


West Don Lands Community Update Meeting


Join Waterfront Toronto on October 14th at St. Lawrence Hall from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for a community update meeting on the West Don Lands. The meeting will feature an open house and variety of short presentations on projects underway in the area. Community members will also have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.


Date: Thursday, October 14th
Location: St. Lawrence Hall
The Great Hall, 157 King Street East, Toronto, M5C 1G9
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
For more information: or 416-214-1344


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