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green living

The revitalization plan for the Toronto waterfront is intended to position the city as a world leader in creating sustainable communities, with buildings and neighbourhoods that are among the greenest in the world.

Green buildings


Waterfront Toronto has established a comprehensive series of Minimum Green Building Requirements (MGBR) designed to encourage innovation, market transformation and help waterfront communities become models for sustainability. The requirements mandate high performance buildings, smart technologies and passive design, and define Waterfront Toronto’s vision for green building design and construction on Toronto’s waterfront.


The MGBR are a key implementation tool to achieve the goals set out in the Sustainability Framework (2005) and are mandatory performance standards that apply to all building projects controlled by Waterfront Toronto. 


building on LEED


The Minimum Green Building Requirements include, and build upon, the Canada Green Building Council’s LEED® rating system. Waterfront Toronto requires that all buildings must achieve a minimum of LEED® Gold under the MGBR, as well as five LEED® certification credits that are ordinarily optional. Waterfront Toronto obliges all developers engaged in waterfront projects to adhere to the MGBR, and compliance agreements are embedded within all developer contracts.


LEED®, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was chosen as a benchmark by Waterfront Toronto because it is an internationally-recognized standard for measuring building sustainability, is a third-party certification, and includes green building standards consistent with Waterfront Toronto’s objectives.


minimum green building requirements version 2.1


Introduced by Waterfront Toronto in 2006, the MGBR was revised in 2014 to better reflect current market conditions, changes to the regulatory environment and input by current Toronto residents. 


New features of the updated MGBR (2014) include requirements that:


  • buildings achieve superior levels of energy efficiency
  • developers provide renewable energy generation on-site
  • water conservation measures for buildings, suites and exterior landscaping needs to be incorporated
  • all parking garages include electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and EV charging stations within both residential and commercial buildings
  • every suite include energy and water meters
  • a large number of bicycle parking and storage spaces be provided in residential buildings at convenient and easily accessible locations.


Minimum green building requirements - version 2.1 (November 2014)


award winning


Waterfront Toronto and Halsall Engineering received a 2012 Award for Excellence in Urban Sustainability from the GLOBE Foundation for Waterfront Toronto’s leading-edge Minimum Green Building Requirements.


other documents:


Minimum Green Building Requirements - Version 2 (August 2012)

Mandatory Green Building Requirements - Version 1 (November 2009)


Green Neighbourhoods


Beyond requiring energy efficient buildings, all new waterfront neighbourhoods are being designed and built to promote green and healthy living and the conservation of the environment and natural resources. In order to achieve neighbourhood scale benefits, Waterfront Toronto is participating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED ND program. The LEED ND certification program integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first rating system for neighbourhood design.


The waterfront neighbourhoods currently under development - East Bayfront, West Don Lands and the Port Lands - are among the first in the world to achieve Stage 1 Gold certification under the LEED ND (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighbourhood Development) pilot program established by the U.S. Green Building Council.


Neighbourhoods will feature abundant transportation options that allow residents and visitors to minimize their carbon footprints. Waterfront Toronto is employing a transit-first approach to development, meaning that from the time resident’s move into their new homes, they will be served by transit that is within five minutes of their front doors. Waterfront communities will also be among the most pedestrian and cyclist friendly in the city, with 85 percent of homes located within 500 metres of a lakefront trail system.


Waterfront Toronto is also employing grey water recycling practices on several project sites to conserve clean, drinkable water, which reduces the energy needed to produce and transport the potable water required by residents. In the West Don Lands, 100 percent of stormwater and rainwater will be captured in Corktown Common and recycled for park maintenance.  At Sherbourne Common in East Bayfront, 50 percent of stormwater and 100 percent of rainwater will be recycled for irrigation and other non-potable uses.


Acknowledging the long construction period involved in developing on a neighbourhood scale, LEED ND is based on a three stage certification process. Waterfront Toronto pursued Stage 1 certification, which occurs before planning approvals are secured. Stage 2 is for projects that have received all planning approvals, and Stage 3 is for completed neighbourhoods. Waterfront Toronto intends to achieve Stage 3 certification as the neighbourhoods get built out.

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