The transformation of Toronto’s waterfront is first and foremost about reconnecting people with the waterfront.
Toronto’s waterfront is a public treasure. And it’s about to become a connected series of glorious natural blue vistas, evocative green spaces and communities that not only achieve a remarkable balance between architecture and nature, but between people and their waterfront.
As the renewal of the waterfront focuses on people, the public is an integral, valued part of the planning and design process. Ongoing consultation with the public allows us to refine and harmonize our vision and design proposals with what the public wants.
Access to the waterfront and views of Lake Ontario will be preserved by strategically designing and constructing low-rise buildings near the shoreline. Taller buildings will be built farther from the waterfront and public spaces.
The buildings adjacent to the waterfront’s public spaces are reserved for retail shops, restaurants, entertainment and cultural amenities, and commercial operations to
ensure that the entire waterfront is accessible to the public. Connecting the entire waterfront community will be picturesque promenades and parks, elegant boardwalks and walkways, and beautiful boat piers. We are giving the lakefront back to the public, and ensuring that our waterfront neighbourhoods reconnect people to the natural attributes of what will be a continuous, publicly accessible landscape.
Key to reconnecting people with the waterfront is developing liveable mixed-use neighbourhoods inspired by their unique locations. The waterfront is a one-of-a-kind environment that should reflect both our city’s global stature and the special virtues of life on the blue edge. We are creating vital and inclusive waterfront neighbourhoods by developing communities that include a complimentary mix of residences, commercial and retail space, and public spaces for all to enjoy. These neighbourhoods will be sought after as a place to live, work, learn and play. It’s where families can stroll to the corner store, where children have a nearby park to play in, and where people will be able to work near where they live.
A wide variety of housing types will be available to ensure that the neighbourhoods are home to people of all income levels and life stages. Residences will include large three-bedroom units designed for families with children, as well as units that suit the lifestyle of singles and seniors. Approximately 20 per cent of all residential units will be affordable rental units. Parks, child-care centres, schools and other amenities will be carefully woven into the fabric of the neighbourhoods.
By utilizing the best in urban design and by planning streetscapes on a human scale, we give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and transit vehicles while balancing the needs of those with cars. We have already linked trail connections long severed by roads and highways; opened up public areas on the water’s edge that were previously inaccessible or unwelcoming; and created new places for the public to gather, play or just watch the sunshine dance on the water.