Responding to Feedback: How the Parliament Slip Preliminary Vision has Evolved

Rendering: Parliament Slip seen from above with water taxis at the mouth of the slip.

Credit:  West 8 + DTAH.



In This Blog: 

  • In 2021, Waterfront Toronto shared a bold vision for transforming Parliament Slip into a waterfront destination (the project is unfunded). 

  • Preliminary engagement with key stakeholders, government partners, the Waterfront Design Review Panel, retailers and businesses, and members of the public surfaced both excitement and helpful feedback. 

  • What we heard has led to a reorganization of the programmatic features while the overall vision remains unchanged. 

  • The updated preliminary design ensures coordination with nearby projects currently underway. 

  • Further design and public engagement will resume once funding is identified.

On March 8, 2021, Waterfront Toronto shared a bold vision for transforming Parliament Slip into a waterfront destination. Positioned at the heart of the eastern waterfront where the city meets the lake, Parliament Slip presents an exciting opportunity for creating a family-friendly attraction and providing more access to the water, one of our city’s greatest resources.  Parliament Slip will become a City-wide destination and an inviting complement to nearby neighbourhoods and destinations, including Harbourfront Centre, St. Lawrence Market, the Distillery District, the new Quayside neighbourhood, and future Villiers Island and Promontory Park North.


The activation of Parliament Slip remains unfunded; however, the preliminary design was updated to respond to stakeholder and public feedback and to ensure coordination with nearby projects currently underway. These projects include Quayside’s streets, infrastructure and public spaces and the Keating Channel Pedestrian Bridge. This updated design also takes into consideration an interim condition that will allow us to extend Queens Quay East and realign Parliament Street, which together will enable the design and future delivery of Waterfront East Light Rail Transit and create future Quayside development blocks and the delivery of new homes.


Through a period of initial engagement with key stakeholders, government partners, the Design Review Panel, retailers and businesses, and members of the public, people shared their excitement for the overall vision as well as some important considerations. What we heard has led to a reorganization of the programmatic features in an updated preliminary design, while the overall vision remains the same.


The updated designs

Our vision for animating Parliament Slip is focused on providing recreation and access to water, including outdoor swimming pools, commercial amenities like concessions and pop-ups, and marine focused transportation, including access for water taxis and other motorized boats.


Illustrated map of Parliament Slip with features numbered 1 to 5.

New organization of programmatic features at Parliament Slip. Credit: West 8 + DTAH.


  1. WaveDeck & Sculptural Bench  
    A scaled back WaveDeck with a smaller footprint. The space includes trees, more flexible open space, and a sculptural bench for gathering and watching the “theatre of the harbour." 

  1. Canoe/Kayak Launch 
    Fully accessible launch (on floating dock) with opportunities for private operators and canoe/kayak storage. 

  1. Floating Village (Dock with Concessions) 
    Expanded dock space to accommodate more small concessions (up to 17 vendors) and a potential electric boat share operator. The floating dock will also include patio seating for about 100 people, public washrooms and opportunities for outdoor firepits. 

  1. Transportation Pier  
    Paired with the swimming pools and modified to better facilitate multiple water-taxi operators and a possible future marine shuttle. 

  1. Swimming Pools 
    Relocated from the head of the slip to a floating barge sitting south of the Water’s Edge Promenade just to the west of the slip in Bayside. The barge will hold two pools—a deeper pool for lap swimming and play, and a smaller shallow hydrotherapy pool—as well as a sauna, a facilities building with changerooms, and potentially a snack bar. Locating the pools here will create an incomparable, immersive experience with panoramic views and a strong connection with the lake. 


Rendering of a floating dock with concessions with city skyline in background.

An artist’s rendering of the floating village with concessions looking east. Credit: MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects.  


Listening to the Public 

This new orientation was directly informed by public and stakeholder engagement.


From March 2021 to October 2022, we created 30+ engagement opportunities, including a series of pop-up engagements during the summer of 2022 and workshops with retailers and businesses, through which we heard from more than 2,400 people across the city representing different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. This initial feedback [PDF] helped Waterfront Toronto and the design team evolve the preliminary designs.


Children playing a ball-toss game at a summer festival.

People engaging on Parliament Slip at a summer pop-up.

Overall, there was excitement about a family-friendly destination at the water’s edge that includes outdoor swimming, eating by the water, access to water-based recreation, and environmental sustainability.


We also heard a desire for the swimming pools to feel more connected to the harbour, interest in creating an unobstructed visual path to the water down Parliament Street, planning for a year-round destination that protects against weather, support for pop-up and small-scall concessions, and recommendations that the features and programming be accessible, both economically and for people with disabilities.


An important part of this project is engaging with Indigenous communities. We continue working with MinoKamik Collective, a group of elders and consultants with a wide range of knowledge, on an engagement plan for Quayside’s public realm, which also includes engagement on Parliament Slip. We are planning consultations with Indigenous environmental and plant subject matter experts, Indigenous youth and urban Indigenous organizations. As always, we will also continue our collaboration with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.


Next, the updated preliminary design will be presented to our Accessibility Advisory Committee who provide feedback, guidance and advice on the design’s accessibility for persons with disabilities. 


Further design and public engagement will resume once funding is identified.