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design review panel

an image of Underpass Park

In 2005, we created Toronto's first design review panel to help ensure that waterfront revitalization projects met or exceeded our standards for design excellence.

The Waterfront Design Review Panel is an independent advisory body comprised of some of Canada’s leaders in architecture, landscape design, engineering and planning. Their work guides and informs all projects proposed in the designated waterfront area, from Dowling in the west to Coxwell in the east. 


The Panel’s mission is to set new design standards across the waterfront and help Toronto achieve worldwide recognition as a centre of creativity and good design.  They provide input and advice on both public projects, such as parks, bridges and other infrastructure, as well as private buildings, including residential, commercial and retail structures.


The panel meets monthly and provides input at four key stages of a project’s design process. At each stage, the Panel votes to determine whether the project has support, conditional support or non-support. If the Panel supports a project, then the project moves onto the next phase. Projects with conditional support or non-support must consider the Panel’s feedback and return to the Panel at a later date for further review. Meetings are open to the public to observe. 


The Waterfront Design Review Panel’s monthly meetings are open to the public.  Please check our online calendar for details.


The Panel is an independent body that acts as an advisory to Waterfront Toronto, and is in no way intended to replace the City of Toronto's regulatory approval process.


In April 2008, the Panel formally adopted a series of by-laws, policies and procedures to guide the review process. In addition to outlining the Panel’s background and mission, the resulting document also provides rigour regarding the:


  •    composition of its membership
  •    panel roles and responsibilities
  •    review procedures and submission requirements; and
  •    conflict-of-interest procedures.


Design Review Panel Handbook


View the Design Review Panel Handbook (v2.0).


Design Review Panel By-laws


View the By-Laws for Waterfront Toronto's Design Review Panel (Amended November 2019). 



Design Review Panel Members


Visit our Design Review Panel Members page to read bios and learn more about the members of the Waterfront Design Review Panel.  


Paul J. Bedford, chair
Urban Mentor and Retired Chief Planner, City of Toronto

Betsy Williamson, vice chair
Partner, Williamson Williamson

George Baird
Partner, Baird Sampson Neuert Architects

Peter Busby
Partner, Perkins + Will

Pat Hanson
Founding Partner, gh3

Matthew Hickey
Partner, Two Row Architect

Janna Levitt
Partner, LGA Architectural Partners

Nina-Marie Lister
Professor and Graduate Director in the School of Urban + Regional Planning at Ryerson University

Fadi Masoud
Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at the Daniels Faculty

Jeff Ranson
Executive Director, Toronto 2030 District

Brigitte Shim
Partner, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects

Kevin Stelzer
Founding partner of ENFORM Architects Inc.

Eric Turcotte
Partner, Urban Strategies


related meetings



related documents

Please visit our document library to view Design Review Panel Meeting materials dating back to 2005.

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