news from our new blue edge

November-December 2015


Our Founding CEO John Campbell Retires

John Campbell gets a little help at the June 2015 opening of the new Queens Quay. Toronto’s biggest ribbon cutting ever included all project stakeholders and government partners, and over 1,000 community members.

This December, our founding CEO John Campbell will retire. Reflecting on his 13 years at the helm of Waterfront Toronto, John has stressed that revitalization work is far from done. The revitalization of our waterfront is a long-term project that reached a tipping point with the opening of the new Queens Quay. The revitalized main waterfront street delivers a vibrant, accessible, and welcoming public space at the water’s edge.

John told CBC’s Matt Galloway that the accomplishment he’s most proud of is what you don’t see: “We have helped build a city-building capacity in the public. Public engagement helps us build the waterfront – people don’t see that, but it’s one of the biggest legacies we leave.”

John’s leadership has enabled great design on the waterfront. At the December 9 meeting of our Design Review Panel, John thanked our expert panelists for helping us create quality of life through superior design. He told the panel that he’s merely the conductor to a talented orchestra of designers and planners. To this, panel member Peter Busby replied, “Have you ever heard an orchestra without a conductor? It’s not so great.”

When John retires, he will be passing the conductor’s baton to Will Fleissig. Will was announced as Waterfront Toronto’s new CEO on December 14. Will, from San Francisco, has a long career in development, planning and urban design, and will lead Waterfront Toronto into its second phase of waterfront revitalization. “John has set a high bar and I will look to continue at that level,” said Will at this week’s announcement.

An architect, urban planner and policy advisor, Will understands the planning and design process and is considered an authority on community engagement and transit-oriented development. For Will, this role is the culmination of his thirty years’ experience in real estate development, urban design and planning, public finance and environmental stewardship. “This is not just another redevelopment project,” he said. “This is truly one of the most amazing opportunities worldwide to change the way we do development and planning.”

Read more about this announcement here


How You Can Get Involved in Project: Under Gardiner

This new public space initiative will transform the space under the Gardiner Expressway. 

Last month, Waterfront Toronto along with the City of Toronto and the Matthews Foundation announced an exciting new initiative, temporarily named Project: Under Gardiner. A generous philanthropic gift from Judy and Wil Matthews will fund the transformation of a 1.75-kilometre stretch of underused land beneath the Gardiner Expressway, from Strachan Avenue to Spadina Avenue, into a completely re-imagined place for people. Watch a trailer for the project here

It’s an exciting new project and there are opportunities coming up that will allow everyone to get involved. Read this blog post to find three ways you can get involved right now.



Nuit Port Lands Public Consultation 

Community members gathered at George Brown College's Waterfront Campus for the Port Lands Public Consultation Open House.

Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto continue to work on a series of plans that will guide the evolution of the Port Lands. Located just east of Toronto’s downtown, the Port Lands represent a major opportunity for waterfront revitalization. Roughly the same size as downtown Toronto, our plan is to transform this underutilized industrial area into complete and vibrant communities. Creating a mix of residential and commercial buildings – amidst the bustle of the film industry and an active port – and strengthening connections to the city core, will turn the Port Lands into Toronto’s newest destination.

On Saturday, November 14, Waterfront Toronto, the City and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority hosted an open house at which key findings, emerging directions and preferred solutions were presented. Public input and comment was then sought at two evening workshop meetings. More than 130 people attended the open house and a variety of information sessions and engaged in individual conversations with project team members at the display boards. Over 100 people joined the two workshops. The period for feedback closed on November 27, however, all of the public consultation materials remain available. Read more here.

You can also check out this short video, which helps explain some of the challenges and opportunities presented by the Port Lands.



Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report

On December 7, we published the first update to our Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report. The report provides important information on waterfront revitalization by examining our vision for sustainability and reviewing our performance. Progress is quantified using a triple bottom line approach – measuring achievements not by economics alone, but also through measurable environmental and social improvements.

The following are just a few of the results that we are particularly proud to include:

  • Four LEED® Gold buildings completed and several more under design and construction or under review by the Canada Green Building Council;
  • Over 3,600 trees planted;
  • 108,920 square metres of aquatic habitat created;
  • An average 90 per cent waste diversion rate for construction and demolition debris;
  • 25 new or improved parks and public spaces;
  • 496 affordable housing units built and another 80 units under construction;
  • Seven public art installations completed;
  • Attracting private sector investment, including 1,405 residential market units built and another 1,500 units under construction, and approximately 1 million square feet of commercial space;
  • More than 28 kilometres of critical infrastructure constructed, including new watermains, sanitary and stormwater sewers; and
  • Generating $3.2 billion in economic output for the Canadian economy, $622 million in government revenues and 16,200 full-time person years of employment. 

For a better understanding of why this type of reporting is important you can read this blog.


In brief

How to make the most of winter on the waterfront
Winter has officially arrived and there are still lots of exciting things to do and see along the water’s edge. Whether you’re searching for some family-friendly activities or would rather unwind outdoors, the waterfront has something for everyone. Here’s how to make the most of winter on Toronto’s waterfront.

Public Meeting on the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal project: January 26
In March 2015, we unveiled five design concepts for the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park. We received lots of feedback on the proposals during the design competition. A Stakeholder Advisory Committee was also formed to generate a report for the competition jury with feedback on all five designs. In April 2015, the winning team was announced and work began to refine the master plan for this site. In addition to refining the master plan based on stakeholder and public feedback, the winning design team of West 8, KPMB and Greenberg Consultants is now working to define phase 1. The master plan, along with plans for phase 1, will be presented at a public meeting on January 26, 2016. Visit our event calendar for more information.

Check out this blog post showing how much the Central Waterfront and Ferry Terminal have changed over the years. 

East Bayfront Public Art Master Plan Approved by Toronto City Council
This December, Toronto City Council approved our Public Art Master Plan for the East Bayfront precinct. The master plan applies the key principles of the waterfront public art program and builds on the success of the West Don Lands Public Art Strategy to forge new partnerships and funding. The plan sets out a three-part program that uses art as a magnet to draw people down to the waterfront, attach the identity of the lake to neighborhood, attach the neighbourhood to the downtown and knit together the different blocks in East Bayfront. The first component of the Public Art Program for East Bayfront is Light Showers, completed in 2011 and installed in Sherbourne Common. In 2016, we will announce a new artwork concept for Bayside’s Aitken Place Park.

Read the full East Bayfront Public Art Strategy here.


The Evergreen Winter Market

Throughout the month of December, Evergreen Brick Works is celebrating the holiday season with the Evergreen Winter Market. Come enjoy delicious foods, holiday drinks, live music and theatre, a unique selection of handmade gifts, and lots of outdoor activities for all ages. Bonus: admission is free!



Check out the full schedule for the Evergreen Winter Market.


New exhibition at the Museum of Inuit Art

The Museum of Inuit Art has announced a special new exhibit on the Toronto waterfront this winter.

Since opening in November, Beyond Aurora Borealis: Abraham Anghik Ruben has captivated visitors with 24 spectacular works by the contemporary Inuk artist, including new works specially commissioned for the Museum of Inuit Art show.




Don’t miss the chance to see this exciting new exhibit this winter.


The Toronto Christmas Market

The beloved Toronto Christmas Market has returned again for its sixth year in the heart of the Historic Distillery District. On now until December 20th, this event recreates the magic of traditional European Christmas markets and offers family-friendly entertainment, delicious seasonal food and drinks, and a 50-foot Christmas tree at the centre of the square. 



Admission to the Toronto Christmas Market is free Tuesday-Friday, and $5 on Saturdays and Sundays.


Public Meeting: Help Decide the Future of the Gardiner Expressway East

We invite you to join us at an upcoming public meeting where you can comment on the results of the evaluation of alternative designs for the Hybrid option for the future Gardiner Expressway East.
If you are unable to attend, you can watch a live webcast of the meeting at and submit your feedback online.  


Public Meeting Details
Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Time: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street, Toronto


Project update: East Bayfront

Looking east towards ongoing construction at Bayside.

Bayside Toronto
Work is complete on the storm system. Once additional testing is done, water lines will be connected to Queens Quay East. 

Queens Quay East
Ongoing work at the Parkside development requires that the northbound lane on Bonnycastle Street remain closed. Access from Queens Quay is currently limited due to ongoing underground work. When that work is completed, northbound cars will be able to travel more easily along Bonnycastle from Queens Quay.

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 underway.

Work on the sanitary trunk sewer from Bonnycastle Street and Queens Quay East to the sewage pumping station is temporarily halted. This work involves rebuilding the existing storm sewer from Bonnycastle to Small Street and installing twin storm forcemains from Bonnycastle to Parliament Street. Dewatering has been completed and crews will begin more extensive work upon receipt of final approvals. This work will continue into early 2016. While this work is being completed, westbound lanes on the north side of Queens Quay between Small and Bonnycastle Streets will remain closed. East-west traffic will flow along the south side of Queens Quay. Special construction notices will be circulated to local residents and businesses as new information becomes available.

The storm forcemains will extend further east to Cherry Street, but for the most part are located outside of the roadway along the east side of Parliament to Lake Shore, and within the south boulevard of Lake Shore East from Parliament to Cherry Street.

Now that final approvals from various agencies have been received, work has begun on the sanitary forcemain from the sanitary pumping station, north on Cherry Street to just north of the Lake Shore East rail corridor. This work requires the closure of a short section of the northbound lane of Cherry Street, from Lakeshore to just north of the rail corridor. Work is anticipated to be complete by year end. For more details about this closure, please refer to this construction notice (PDF).


Project update: West Don Lands

Fall colours at Corktown Common next to the Canary District in the West Don Lands.

Corktown Common
Landscaping has been completed at the northern entrance to Corktown Common (located at the intersection of River Street and King Street) and a pathway has been created under the bridge and along the eastern bank behind River City that will offer another connection to the park. While the area may look complete, the fencing remains in place while the City of Toronto prepares to assume this part of the park and to allow ample time for the variety of prairie seed that has been spread to establish. The friction caused by moving the fencing, pets ‘answering nature’s call’ and people walking on the seeded areas can damage the grass and other plantings. So, tempting as it may be to move or squeeze between the fencing to take a stroll, we ask for patience while the park grows.

Canary District
The conversion of the former Athletes’ Village to the Canary District is progressing quickly in anticipation of the Spring 2016 occupancy.

George Brown College Student Residence
Temporary walls are being removed, flooring and kitchen millwork is being installed, and painting is underway after which the carpeting will be installed.  

Cooper-Koo YMCA
Partial demolition of walls and ceilings has been completed and the construction of the new walls is underway as well as painting.

Fred Victor and Wigwamen
Temporary partitions and bathrooms are being removed and permanent walls and doorways are being constructed with painting taking place concurrently. Electrical work is also being roughed-in and work has begun installing the wood floors and kitchens.

Canary District and Canary Park Condominiums
Demolition of the temporary partitions is well underway. Once complete, framing and boarding for the permanent walls will begin. Mechanical and electrical rough-in, and kitchen and wood flooring installation are progressing. The installation of level storage lockers in the parking garage is also underway.

In anticipation of the Canary District opening in the Spring of 2016, Dundee Kilmer Developments have announced the first group of retailers in this neighbourhood, which includes Dark Horse Espresso Bar, Fuel Plus, OpusGlow Concept Spa, Pizza e Pazzi, Tabule, Running Room, Think Fitness and Gears. For more information please visit

For more information on the award winning Canary District or to view the live construction feed visit or the presentation centre and model suites located at 398 Front Street (parking available off Trinity Street).

Cherry Street
Now that final approvals from various agencies have been received, work has begun on the sanitary forcemain from the sanitary pumping station, north on Cherry Street to just north of the Lake Shore East rail corridor. This work requires the closure of a short section of the northbound lane of Cherry Street, from Lakeshore to just north of the rail corridor. Work is anticipated to be complete by year end. For more details about this closure, please refer to this construction notice (PDF).

Cherry Street Transit
The TTC recently conducted an online survey about proposed changes to the 72 Pape and 172 Cherry Street routes, as well as the pending Cherry Street streetcar service. In early 2014, the 72 Pape route was split in the Port Lands due to major construction activity around Union Station. Now that construction is complete, the TTC is reviewing these services as a whole, in conjunction with new streetcar service on Cherry Street and continued development in East Bayfront. The proposed changes detailed in the survey include:

  • Reinstating direct service between Pape Avenue/Carlaw Avenue and downtown;
  • Supplementing existing service to George Brown College Waterfront Campus;
  • Introducing new service to East Bayfront on Queens Quay East and to CityPlace, west of Spadina Avenue.

The survey closed on December 14 and received over 1,000 responses. The TTC will be integrating the feedback into their route analysis in the new year and is aiming for implementation in May 2016.

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