news from our new blue edge

July 2014


Transparency and accountability on the waterfront

Honesty, openness, integrity and accountability are essential components of our approach to revitalizing Toronto's waterfront.

Since its inception, Waterfront Toronto has been committed to earning the trust and confidence of Torontonians and the broader public that we serve by being honest and open and by acting with integrity and accountability. We have done this in a variety of ways, including ensuring public consultation on every project we do, having open Board meetings, reporting proactively on our senior management and Board expenses, having  information disclosure policies that meet or exceed the City of Toronto’s own (according to a March 23, 2009 city staff report to Executive Committee), having been audited on no fewer than 18 occasions by the three levels of government and external auditors and having our staff members’ salaries disclosed through the provincial Sunshine List. In addition, our procurement policies fully comply with all relevant federal, provincial and municipal standards.

As Waterfront Toronto is funded by, and reports to, the federal, provincial and municipal governments, each level of government has also created a Waterfront Secretariat that provides fiscal and policy oversight over the corporation and ensures that the interests of each level of government are protected – including accountability, transparency and value for money.

We aspire to be as open and accountable as possible and continue to refine and improve our policies based on the standards and best practices of the governments that fund us. We are always looking for ways to improve.

Waterfront Toronto works hard to operate in the manner to which we aspire – and to make sure that the public knows about it. We were reminded of this recently at the July 2, 2014 meeting of the City’s Executive Committee, where a motion was passed to undertake a strategic review related to the next phase of waterfront revitalization. The review was triggered by Waterfront Toronto’s submission of its Strategic Business Plan for 2014 to 2023. That business plan maps out the major projects that remain to be funded for the balance of Waterfront Toronto’s 20-year mandate – specifically, the flood protection of the Lower Don Lands; the Port Lands and surrounding communities through the re-naturalization of the Don River; and the East Bayfront LRT line which would connect the emerging communities along the eastern waterfront to Union Station.

The Executive Committee motion was amended to include three requests of Waterfront Toronto, which are summarized below:

  1. To adopt a freedom of information policy similar to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Privacy Act.
  2. To appoint an independent Open Meeting Investigator similar to the City’s; the Investigator should receive requests to investigate when anyone feels that Waterfront Toronto did not comply with our policy of open meetings (defined as meeting of the Board of Directors or Board Committees) and should make any reports of their investigations public.
  3. To adopt a policy on disclosure of wrongdoing and protection of staff similar to the Toronto Public Service by-law – this would commonly be referred to as whistleblower protection.

Although there was much discussion on these items, what was lost was that Waterfront Toronto already has these policies in place:

  • Even though Waterfront Toronto is not subject to Freedom of Information legislation at the federal, provincial or municipal level – mostly for technical reasons – we instituted a Freedom of Information policy in 2009. The policy was updated in 2012 and meets the requirements of all three – federal, provincial and municipal – Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Privacy Acts. We did this because our mandate absolutely depends on acting in a transparent and inclusive manner with the public and the governments that fund us.
  • Last year, Waterfront Toronto appointed The Honourable Coulter A. Osborne, former Associate Chief Justice for Ontario, as investigator to investigate any complaints over our open meeting practices. If a complaint is ever received, his role is to follow the investigative and reporting process set out in the City of Toronto Act.
  • And finally, Waterfront Toronto has had a whistleblower protection policy in place since 2009.

We are making some changes to our website to make sure that anyone can quickly and easily find these policies, and also to ensure that other Waterfront Toronto accountability and transparency policies and measures are centralized on our website. In addition, we will soon be launching a new page on our website that will proactively provide detail in response to requests for information, so we can ensure that any debate over Waterfront Toronto’s activities can be based on facts.

Waterfront Toronto has earned the public’s trust over the decade of revitalization work we’ve undertaken. We will work to continually refine our transparency and accountability and we will communicate any changes we make.




Portland Slip Water’s Edge Promenade now open

Before and after the construction of the Water's Edge Promenade along the Portland Slip in Toronto's Central Waterfront.

A new stretch of water’s edge promenade is now open along the Portland Slip next to the Canada Malting Silos. Like the Water’s Edge Promenade between Canada’s Sugar Beach and Sherbourne Common, the new Portland Slip promenade is made of red and grey granite forming a maple leaf mosaic pattern.  A double row of maple trees offers shade and wind protection for those strolling along – or sitting by – the water’s edge.

Designed by West 8 + DTAH, as part of the overall plan for the Central Waterfront, the water’s edge promenade helps connect our waterfront parks and public spaces.  At the Portland Slip, the promenade opens up access to Ireland Park, an often overlooked space at the foot of Eireann Quay. Ireland Park honours the Irish immigrants who fled during the Famine of 1847 – and the 38,000 who arrived in Toronto.  The park, which originally opened in 2007, includes a "wall of memories" in Irish blue limestone, a landscape of stone and plantings that blend from an Irish to a Canadian landscape, and five bronze sculptures by renowned Irish sculptor Rowan Gillespie.

Our construction at the Portland Slip followed dockwall repairs which the City of Toronto completed in 2012. The City’s required dockwall infrastructure work advanced our timelines for building the promenade in this area. The new promenade stretches 130 metres along the west side of the Portland Slip from the lake to the existing sidewalk just east of the Harbourfront Community Centre.



Corktown Common opening celebrations a resounding hit!

Community members lounge on the grass, enjoying live music and breathtaking views of the park and city skyline.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 was a beautiful, sunny day with a gentle breeze – a perfect day for a celebration! Waterfront Toronto was joined by hundreds of people of all ages at two memorable events to officially open Corktown Common, our spectacular new park in the emerging West Don Lands.

Community members, media, stakeholders and an esteemed group of government representatives came out in the morning for the official ribbon cutting. In addition to official remarks, we also presented Tedd Konya with a commemorative artist’s rendering of the park as a thank you for submitting the winning name to Name That Park.

In the afternoon we hosted a community picnic with our development partners, Dundee Kilmer and Urban Capital, who generously provided the food and entertainment. About 500 people came out with family and friends for the festivities. The central lawn and playground areas were full with people lounging, socializing and having a bite to eat. Adults and kids alike enjoyed the complementary BBQ, cotton candy, snow cones and live music by Electric Blonde.

At 7.3 hectares (18 acres), with a vast range of amenities, Corktown Common has universal appeal. By taking an abandoned, post-industrial site and turning it into a must-see destination, Waterfront Toronto has created a valued community asset that will serve the new West Don Lands community and surrounding area for generations.

Check out our Facebook albums to see a recap of the official ribbon cutting and the community picnic.



Construction update: Queens Quay Revitalization



Over the last month crews have made significant progress along Queens Quay and the project is on schedule for completion in June 2015. Here’s a brief project update:

  • Canopy of Trees: The first set of silva cells – a tree planting technology designed to house an average of 30 cubic metres of nutrient soil per tree – are now being installed under the new promenade and Martin Goodman Trail. These reinforced cells provide structural support for pavement above while allowing tree roots to spread and thrive in noncompacted soil. Silva cells are currently being installed between Bay Street and York Street.
  • Granite: Granite sidewalks on the northside are approximately 55% complete with major stretches in place from York Street to the Rees Parkette. On the southside promenade, crews have completed about 40% of the granite installation including a major new section in front of HTO Park East.
  • New Road: Crews completed major work across the York and Rees intersections and both have been reopened to traffic. Granite curbs are in and the road’s concrete base is being poured between York Street and Rees Street. In the coming weeks, asphalt paving will occur. Traffic will shift to the new road as construction progresses to allow construction of the southside Martin Goodman Trail to proceed.
  • TTC Rebuild: All track and pole foundations have been installed east of Spadina Avenue and TTC crews have completed overhead wiring at the Spadina Loop. Work is underway on the reconstruction of the final section of track between Spadina Avenue and Yo Yo Ma Lane and the installation of remaining poles east of the Peter Slip bridge. TTC is planning to resume 510 Spadina streetcar service to the Spadina Loop effective August 31, 2014 and 509 Harbourfront streetcar service by October 12, 2014.

For more detailed construction updates, please sign up for the Queens Quay construction notice on the Queens Quay construction webpage, which is posted each Friday afternoon.


Video: A look under Queens Quay
Toronto’s main waterfront street is being completely transformed into an lively and active urban waterfront. But the makeover isn’t limited to above ground improvements.

In this video, we'll peel back the pavement to show what we're building underground and how that is coordinated with the landscape work we can see above ground.

Queens Quay webcams
Keep an eye on construction from your computer or mobile device using our Queens Quay Webcams.

Need more information?
Thank you for your patience during construction. If you have questions send an email to or call 416-214-9990.

For urgent construction issues
Please contact Queens Quay Construction Liaison Officer, Robert Pasut at or call 416-505-3073.


Construction update: Bayside


Major construction activity continues at the Bayside Toronto site where crews are working on infrastructure to support the new community. Last month, crews completed underground services along the north-south leg of Merchants’ Wharf Way (the main street in Bayside) and began installation of municipal sewer and water services on the east-west waterfront leg. Excavation for Bayside’s 12-metre diameter stormwater management structure was also completed allowing crews to begin concrete forming for the structural base of the shaft. Work is also now underway on landscaping work for the Water’s Edge Promenade east of Sherbourne Common.


New! Bayside Webcam

Keep an eye on the construction of this new 13-acre mixed-use neighbourhood from your computer or mobile device using our Bayside Webcam.



Construction update: Pan Am Athletes’ Village/Canary District

An aerial view of the construction progress on the Pan Am Athletes' Village/Canary District.

The remaining Silva Cells on Front Street are being installed and tree planting continues.  Concrete base and the installation of unit pavers and light poles on local streets also continues to progress.
Progress on the reconstruction of Sumach Street continues. Work on the west side between King Street and Eastern Avenue is nearing completion with only a few miscellaneous items outstanding. Progress on the east side continues. Backfilling and the installation of all TTC poles are complete and TTC track installation is nearing completion. The installation of the median, sidewalks and other public realm improvements is scheduled to continue throughout the summer.

YMCA/George Brown College
At George Brown College’s student residence, the installation of doors, suite washroom millwork and plumbing fixtures is complete. At the YMCA, pool tile work continues. Painting in both buildings, the commissioning of mechanical and electrical equipment is ongoing and the building’s exterior aluminum facade is progressing.

Affordable Housing Buildings
At the Fred Victor and Wigwamen buildings perimeter landscaping continues and the installation of insulation and the green roof has commenced. The fire alarm and commissioning process are also underway at both buildings.
Canary District Condominiums
On the first market housing condominium - Canary District Condominiums - the mechanical and electrical installation, and framing and drywall continue to progress in the podium and north and south towers. The installation of the elevators is ongoing and the painting, bathroom vanity installation and tile work continue to progress.
On the second market housing building - Canary Park Condominiums - mechanical and electrical installations and the fire/smoke seal installation are in progress. Window, elevator and roofing installation are ongoing for both the north and south towers. Framing of suites and gypsum board installation on corridor walls is underway. Interior suite door installation, washroom tiling, bathroom vanity installation and prime-coat painting continues.
For more information on the award winning Canary District or to view the live construction feed visit their website at or their brand new presentation centre located at 398 Front Street (parking available off Trinity Street).



Construction update: River City

The progress on River City show from King Street ad Lower River.

Progress has been steady at River City, the first private sector development project in the rapidly emerging West Don Lands. The four-phase LEED Gold community by Urban Capital is located at the corner of King Street East and Lower River Street. The development will offer 1,100 loft-style condominiums, family-friendly townhouses, ground floor retail and extensive amenities for residents.

Construction of RC2 – the second phase of River City’s four-phase development – continues to progress. The building's structure and roof are complete and window installation continues to advance up the building. The installation of interior finishes has begun and will be ongoing over the next few months. The first occupancies of this phase are scheduled to start early next year.

Sales at RC3, the third phase of this award-winning development, have been strong, with almost 50% sold at Urban Capital’s preview opening. RC3 complements RC1 and 2 and continues Saucier + Perrotte’s stunning vision for River City, with striking asymmetrical lines that make exceptional use of the unique site.



In brief

Top 8 places to see on Toronto's waterfront this summer

Don’t have the time or money for a dream vacation spent away with family and friends this summer? Don’t panic - we have a great solution! You can experience all the excitement of travel exploring your own city with a Toronto waterfront staycation. Here are our top 8 places to visit on the waterfront.

Connecting cycling routes along the waterfront
Waterfront Toronto’s approach to building new communities balances all modes of transport, giving priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transit vehicles since it is more sustainable and makes for healthier, more active and less car-dependent communities. See how one way we are doing this is by creating bike trail connections across the waterfront, which contributes to the larger city-wide cycling network.


Taste of Toronto food festival

Fort York, from July 24-27, will play host to the “world’s greatest restaurant festival” and for the first time bring this global 21 city festival to North America. Known as the ‘birthplace of urban Toronto’, Taste of Toronto will transform Fort York into a foodie wonderland for four days of summer eating, drinking and entertainment. This unique culinary festival brings together 14 of the city’s best restaurants with over 50 producers of the best food, beverages and premium brands providing a bountiful food market.


Operating much like a restaurant with lunch and dinner services, Taste of Toronto will be comprised of six half-day sessions. Get full session details and ticket information.


5th Annual T&T Waterfront Night Market returns

Offering an exciting outdoor culinary experience the 5th Annual T&T Waterfront Night Market from July 25-27, features a selection of Asian theme ‘street food’. This multicultural food festival unites different cultures together to participate in the cross-cultural social event of the year. From food to performances and entertainment, experience the night market that is the emblem of the bustling urban lifestyle across Asian cities worldwide.


Enjoy Toronto’s only night market.
Friday, July 25 from 6pm – Midnight; Saturday, July 26 from 4pm – Midnight; and Sunday, July 26 from 4pm – 10pm.


Caribbean festival at the waterfront

Enjoy a taste of the Caribbean at Island Soul, August 1–4 hosted by Harbourfront Centre. The cultural legacy of the Caribbean comes to Toronto's waterfront for four days of music, dance, food, film and more. Dance to the rhythms and indulge in the flavours of the islands all weekend! Some of the attractions include Oware games (a pit and pebbles style game) and performances by Edwin Yearwood & Krosfyah and Dance Caribe.

Save the date for another exciting food festival this summer, the legendary Hot & Spicy Food Festival, August 15–17 at Harbourfront Centre.


Travel the world close to home this summer with this Caribbean festival along the water's edge.



Sail-in Cinema™ returns to the waterfront this August

The world’s first two-sided floating movie screen is coming back to Canada’s Sugar Beach for three nights, August 14-16. Save the date and don’t miss Toronto Port Authority’s annual Sail-in Cinema™ for both boaters and land-lovers alike to watch movies under the open skies.


Land-lovers can watch the films from 25 Dockside Drive.


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