Toronto’s eastern waterfront is on the verge of a major transformation. The former industrial site will soon see the addition of new urban parks, public spaces, and state-of-the-art commercial and residential developments. The area’s potential is what attracted developers like Greenland Group Canada, who announced plans for its Lakeside Residences project last year. The much-anticipated 3.5-acre master-planned community is situated on the former FedEx lands at 215 Lake Shore Boulevard East and will consist of eight towers, nearly 2,000 condominiums and 30,000 square feet of retail space.
Steps away is the future site of Quayside, a ‘smart city’ being developed by Sidewalk Labs (a subsidiary of Alphabet, which is owned by Google) and Waterfront Toronto. Spread across 12-acres, Quayside is a mixed-use community that will include urban parks, pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, and more than three million square feet of residential, office and commercial space. Combining urban design with digital technology, Quayside is poised to attract thousands of new residents and employers, including Google’s new Canadian headquarters.
The ambitious project celebrated a major milestone last summer when a Plan Development Agreement (PDA) was signed between Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs. The PDA defines and governs the planning and funding relationship between the two organizations and outlines budgetary and joint oversight measures.
“We are excited to take this next step with Sidewalk Labs to set the stage for delivering a truly transformational project on the waterfront that addresses many critical urban issues faced by our City and other cities,” said Helen Burstyn, Chair of Waterfront Toronto’s Board of Directors, in a press release.
More recently, the winning designs for two new neighbourhood parks were announced by Waterfront Toronto in partnership with the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forest and Recreation Division. The designs include Love Park by Claude Cormier et Associés along York Street and Rees Ridge by wHY Architecture and Brook Mcllroy for the Rees Street Park.
Designed by the award winning Hariri Pontarini Architects, the sail-shaped profile of the two main towers takes visual cues from the city’s lively waterfront, while the glass facade reflects the calming waters of Lake Ontario. Fritted glass balconies taper and flare, illuminating the tower’s edge giving them a strong presence and visual interest from all angles.
At the base of the towers is an exterior courtyard designed as an urban backyard with an emphasis on walkability, leisure, parklands and easy access to cafes and retail amenities.