In 2007, Waterfront Toronto, with the support of the City of Toronto, launched an international juried design competition to determine a master vision to tackle the myriad of challenges to redeveloping the Lower Don Lands.
The goal of the competition was to produce a unifying and inspiring concept for merging the natural and urban fabric into a green, integrated and sustainable community and provide common ground for the numerous environmental assessments required for the area.
Design teams were asked to produce a bold and compelling concept for the Lower Don Lands with the river as the central feature, while at the same time providing for new development and new linkages to the rest of the city, using the following key principles to guide their designs:
The international call for qualifications resulted in submissions by 29 design teams from 13 countries. After careful deliberation, four teams were chosen to participate in the competition. The short-listed teams represented a range of different landscape and urban design philosophies and presented submissions that were bold, innovative and fascinating.
Following an extensvie public consultation process with stakeholders and a week-long public exhibition at Toronto’s Brookfield Place Galleria, a six-member jury made up of prominent architect and design professionals selected the winning design. The “Port Lands Estuary” design by the team headed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. (MVVA) was named the winner in May 2007.
The jury felt the MVVA design of big bold moves impressively integrated the natural and wild elements of the river’s mouth and the Lower Don Lands with urban placemaking, creating a spectacular and compelling vision for the area. The team best addressed the competition’s two key objectives of providing a naturalized mouth and iconic identity for the Don River and creating a comprehensive plan for addressing urban design, transportation, naturalization, sustainability and other ecological issues. Importantly, the team’s detailed understanding of soil conditions and remediation, engineering requirements and landownership issues helped produce a plan that is cost effective and achievable.
Discover the submissions by the other three short-listed teams (please be patient as they download):