The Future of Toronto’s Waterfront

Toronto WaterfrontIf you visited Toronto’s Queens Quay lately you’ve noticed it’s a bit of a mess. The construction sprawls from Queens Quay and Lower Spadina all the way to Yonge Street, and that’s just the road works. The condo construction east of Yonge Street has been going strong, quickly changing the Toronto skyline. But despite the current disruption to the neighbourhood, it’ll all be well worth it once it’s completed in Spring of 2015, in time for the summer 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, making the waterfront a livable, publicly accessible and sustainable place to live, work and play.

Queens Quay

Overseen by WATERFRONToronto, this part of the Waterfront Revitalization Project will convert 1.7 kilometers of Queens Quay into a tree-lined waterfront boulevard. Some of the already completed projects such as the HTO Park, Sugar Beach and the WaveDecks at the foot of Spadina, Simcoe and Rees have been well received and are just the beginning of the transformation of the water’s edge. The future Queens Quay Boulevard will carry two lanes of east-west vehicular traffic with new and improved signal timing and a dedicated streetcar line in the middle.

The south side of Queens Quay will feature a granite pedestrian promenade defined by a double row of trees (about 240 of them) running alongside the Martin Goodman Trail, a multi-use recreational trail. The condominiums and businesses on the north side of the street will front onto widened, granite sidewalks and a row of mature trees allowing for wider walkable area and extra room for outdoor seating at cafes and restaurants.

As a resident of the Waterfront neighbourhood I’m looking forward to the revitalized future of  Queens Quay. Each year, the narrow sidewalks were crowded with tourists and locals enjoying the sites and weather.  But even though Toronto is a waterfront city, that asset has been underused and unappreciated in the past. The opportunity was always there and I’m glad that the face of Toronto is finally changing, transforming water’s edge into a vibrant area that serves as a destination for locals and visitors.

But the Queens Quay makeover is just a fraction of the changes WATERFRONToronto is working on. Other areas of the Waterfront Revitalization Project include East Bayfront, the West and Lower Don Lands and Port Lands. If you’re interested in learning more about the revitalization project, the WATERFRONToronto website is full of information including the breakdown of all the projects, schedules, updates as well as information on sustainable and environmentally responsible development. Below is the entire project by numbers.

Waterfront Toronto By the Numbers

800 hectares – The size of Toronto’s designated waterfront area

$34 billion – The estimated cost of waterfront revitalization.

40,000 – The number of new residences that will be created.

25 years – Estimated time to complete the project.

$1.9 billion – The contribution to the Canadian economy generated by the project from 2000 to 2010.

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