Revitalization of Toronto's main waterfront street now underway

artist rendering of the future Queens Quay West at Simcoe WaveDeck

June 4, 2012, Toronto, ON— The transformation of Queens Quay, Toronto's main waterfront street, into a world-class boulevard is now underway. Construction along the 1.5 kilometre stretch from just west of Lower Spadina Ave. to Bay St. will completely rebuild and revitalize the area both above and below ground.

Queens Quay will become a waterfront showpiece and a must-see Toronto destination.  A generous granite pedestrian promenade and off-road Martin Goodman Trail will create much-needed public space by the lake.  A new streetcar corridor and traffic lanes with improved turning lanes and signal timing will keep people moving.  Sidewalk and landscaping improvements in front of storefronts will stimulate ground floor retail activity and urban vitality.

“There will never be a better time to build this spectacular new waterfront destination,” said John Campbell, President and CEO, Waterfront Toronto, “the TTC tracks need to be replaced and utilities and municipal infrastructure require major upgrades – it’s a win for the locals, the City and the millions of visitors who will be drawn to this special place.”

This important revitalization project is about much more than rebuilding the surface of the roadway. Waterfront Toronto is leading a coordinated construction effort that integrates improvements to the public realm with much needed infrastructure and utility upgrades. Coordinating these activities will ensure that the project is streamlined and cost effective. It will also avoid the need for more construction on Queens Quay in the near future.  Every effort has been made to ensure the waterfront remains open and accessible for residents and businesses during construction.

When complete, Queens Quay will be both a beautiful and functional waterfront street. This work by West 8 + DTAH, is the product of a 2006 international design competition, extensive public input and a comprehensive environmental assessment.

Construction will unfold in three distinct stages and will be managed for Waterfront Toronto by Eastern Construction. During stage one, crews will upgrade all major utilities including Bell, Hydro and Enbridge and build new storm and sanitary sewers. The TTC right-of-way will be demolished, realigned and rebuilt and new tracks will be installed. Stage two work, which begins in the summer of 2013, will build the new roadway and granite curbs and sidewalks on the north side including tree planting and finishes. By early 2014, stage three construction will move to the south side where the granite pedestrian promenade and new Martin Goodman Trail will be built.

Major works are expected to be complete by the end of 2014. Final tree planting on the south side will occur during the spring of 2015.

Waterfront Toronto has worked closely with area stakeholders including the Waterfront BIA and local residents for almost two years to plan for construction. A Working Group and Construction Liaison Committee, which includes representatives from local businesses and all Queens Quay condos, have met regularly to provide input on detailed design and construction staging.

“While construction is never easy, this is an incredible opportunity for our waterfront,” said Carol Jolly, Executive Director of The Waterfront BIA.  “We’ve worked closely with Waterfront Toronto to ensure that the waterfront remains open for business – with access to all storefronts at all times and all waterfront festivals and events continuing as planned.”

During construction, there will be changes in how the street operates but access will be maintained to all businesses and residences at all times. Construction impacts such as noise, temporary one-way traffic alternating between the north and south sides of the street, and bus service while the TTC infrastructure is rebuilt will be communicated widely.

Waterfront Toronto’s website will be the main hub for construction related information. Weekly construction notices including traffic impacts, detailed construction information and a construction webcam will keep members of the public informed and up-to-date.  Two-way communication with neighbours and businesses will also continue throughout construction.

The revitalization of Queens Quay is budgeted at approximately $110 million. The budget includes design, TTC track realignment and restoration, hydro work, storm and sanitary upgrades, roadway, public realm improvements and other project related costs.

Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto initiated the Queens Quay Revitalization Environmental Assessment (EA) in 2007. The EA included public consultation, data collection and the identification and analysis of planning solutions and design concepts. In April 2010, Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment concluded the EA process which cleared the way for the project to proceed.

The Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto created Waterfront Toronto to oversee and lead the renewal of Toronto’s waterfront. Public accessibility, design excellence, sustainable development, economic development and fiscal sustainability are the key drivers of waterfront revitalization.


Media contacts:

Samantha Gileno, Waterfront Toronto

Image Gallery:
High-resolution renderings are available upon request.