POSTED: AUGUST 22, 2022 | ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, DESIGN, PARKS AND PUBLIC SPACES
BY: SARAH ASKETT
Healthy communities and thoughtful urban planning go hand in hand. To create and support thriving communities, Waterfront Toronto prioritizes mobility and connectivity, access and inclusion, and outstanding public realm across all our projects. Our 2021-22 Integrated Annual Report highlights how our efforts work together to create complete communities that are more than the sum of their parts.
This final piece in our three-part blog series outlines the progress we’ve made delivering on priorities like access to the water’s edge, affordable housing, and public green spaces that support a waterfront everyone can enjoy.
Highlights in this blog:
This year, we worked with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN) and MinoKamik Collective to shape the design of the public realm at Parliament Slip, making foundational progress toward the creation of this magnetic destination.
To date, waterfront projects have already added 3,496 market units and 576 affordable units creating a total of 4,072 new homes along the waterfront.
We made substantial construction progress on Love Park this year and advanced the design for Rees Street Park, building on the 43 hectares of parks and public greenspace that we’ve already created or improved on the waterfront.
Our work is informed by extensive public engagement and consultation, as well as collaboration with our government partners, to ensure that the revitalization of the waterfront will meet community needs and reflect public priorities.
Animation in Every Direction
The past year has moved us closer to the realization of Parliament Slip - the new blue heart of the eastern waterfront and an important destination that will offer public access to Lake Ontario. Extending similar work on the Port Lands, this year we worked with MCFN and MinoKamik Collective to shape the design of the public realm at Parliament Slip, making foundational progress toward the creation of this magnetic destination.
The vision for the slip imagines a place that supports diverse marine activity, provides better access to the water’s edge, and activates the waterfront year-round.
Parliament Slip will be surrounded by destinations and amenities. Some of these include a new community centre in Aqualuna, a new stretch of the Water’s Edge Promenade, and Parliament Plaza - a privately owned public space flanking the realigned Parliament Street that will provide a lush green transition from Lake Shore Boulevard to Queens Quay. Nearby, there will also be a new park, currently called Silo Park, for which we’re launching a design competition in 2023, as well as an anticipated cultural centre in Quayside.
To learn more about our progress on realizing our vision for Parliament Slip go to page 60 of our Integrated Annual Report.
Housing That Meets Community Needs
To date, waterfront projects have added 3,496 market units and 576 affordable units, altogether creating more than 4,000 new homes along the waterfront. To help meet the crucial need for housing, we ensure that land is set aside to deliver 20% affordable housing in new waterfront residential developments. Integrated affordable housing supports diverse, welcoming neighbourhoods that promote economic inclusion. This is why we continued to work with the City of Toronto this past year to advance the delivery of 215 new units of affordable rental housing within a mixed income building of approximately 400 units in East Bayfront.
More details about our work to deliver affordable housing on pages 58-59 of our Integrated Annual Report.
The selected proposal for Quayside includes the creation of more than 800 affordable housing units with a focus on family-sized units to address an urgent need.
Quayside, the next complete community coming to the waterfront, will add more than 800 new affordable units, and fill crucial gaps in the availability of two-, three-, and four-bedroom family units. Our preferred proponent for the development of the area have committed to accelerating the creation of these units by ensuring that affordable units are added at every stage of the development.
Parks with Heart & Public Art
Substantial progress was made this year building Toronto’s newest waterfront park, Love Park, which is taking shape at the intersection of York Street and Queens Quay West.
Love Park’s central feature is a heart-shaped pond, finished with a glass tile mosaic in shades of red. The glass tiles were fabricated at Mosaika, a Montreal studio specializing in large-scale mosaics.
This new lush green gateway to the waterfront will include:
Plenty of seating, both on the low wall that encircles the pond and on movable chairs that can be positioned in sun or shade, and be gathered or separated according to visitors’ needs.
More than 40 trees, including 5 mature trees preserved on-site during construction and 37 new plantings.
A fenced off-leash area for dogs.
To build on the 43 hectares of public parks Waterfront Toronto has created or improved to date, we began to advance the design for Rees St. Park which will bring more green space to the waterfront for people to enjoy. Read more on page 52 of our Integrated Annual Report.
In 2021–2022, we held 54 public engagement sessions on topics ranging from park design to transportation infrastructure.
As always, our work is informed by extensive public engagement and consultation, as well as collaboration with our government partners, ensuring that revitalization will meet community needs and reflect public priorities. In addition to working with our many Stakeholder Advisory Committees and Construction Liaison Committees, this year we also:
Commenced the Marine Coordination Committee and initiated work to advance priority recommendations from the Marine Use Strategy.
Began work on our first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy to ensure diverse voices and identities are represented in the waterfront revitalization process.
Established an Advisory Committee with 13 representatives, most of whom are persons with disabilities as defined by the Accessibility for Ontarians Disability Act, to guide the creation of the Waterfront Accessibility Design Guidelines.
Worked with Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations and MinoKamik Collective to shape the design of the public realm in Quayside and at Parliament Slip.