May 2009 Newsletter: Leading Edge Plans for Lower Don Lands Unveiled

Detailed plans were unveiled for naturalizing the mouth of the Don River and transforming the Lower Don Lands, a 125-hectare (308-acre) industrial area located south of the rail corridor in the east end of Toronto’s harbour, into a new model for sustainable city building.

Plans include re-naturalizing the mouth of the Don River, by re-routing it through the middle of the area, and building in features such as wetlands boarders and a spillway and varying river depths to provide necessary flood protection to the flood prone area. The re-born river mouth will also be the centerpiece of a new mixed-use sustainable community featuring abundant parks and public green space.

The area’s first community will be the Keating Channel neighbourhood which runs from East Bayfront to the Don River and from the West Don Lands to Villers Street.  The precinct plan for the area consists of 25 blocks that will feature a variety of built-forms and architec ture that supports a diversity of experience and uses.

Plans for the Lower Don Lands were developed by Waterfront Toronto in partnership with Toronto and Region Conservation, City of Toronto and Toronto Transit Commission through a comprehensive Environmental Assessment process which has included the examination of several alternative planning solutions.

Waterfront Toronto will submit the Keating Channel Neighbourhood Precinct Plan and related documents to the City of Toronto for approval this fall.  The approval process is expected to be completed by the end of the year.  More information.
 
Lower Don Lands Selected for Clinton Climate Initiative Project
The Lower Don Lands has been selected as one 16 founding projects for a global initiative to demonstrate a model for sustainable urban growth.  The Climate Positive Development Program, a project of former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s Climate Initiative and the U.S. Green Building Council, will support large urban developments that achieve zero carbon emissions and set the example for cities around the world to follow as they grow.

As part of the Clinton initiative, Waterfront Toronto and the other participating partners will seek to reduce the net greenhouse gas emissions of their projects to below zero by working collaboratively on specific areas of activity.  This includes implementing economically viable innovations in construction, the generation of clean energy, and innovative approaches to waste management, water management and transportation.

The Climate Positive Development Program will support the planning and implementation p rocess for each real estate development and establish the standards and metrics by which the sites can measure climate positive outcomes.
In addition to the Lower Don Lands, the founding projects include initiatives in Victoria, British Columbia and in cities in Australia, Brazil, India, Panama, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  When the initial 16 projects are completed, nearly one million people will live and work in climate positive communities.  For more information.
 
Spadina WaveDeck Continues to Receive Accolades
 
The Spadina WaveDeck, the first in a series of four wavedecks along the central waterfront, has won another prestigious design award, this time from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). 

Each year, the ASLA honours the best in landscape architecture and urban design from around the globe.  The 2009 competition featured over 600 entries from around the world.  The ASLA jury, which includes some of America’s most influential landscape architects, called the wavedeck which opened in September 2008 “very poetic” and said it is “so simple, yet accomplished and beautifully crafted.”

Toronto’s HTO Park designed by Janet Rosenberg and Associates also received a 2009 ALSA award.

Designed by West 8 and du Toit Allsopp Hillier, the Spadina WaveDeck has already received two leading design awards and was the first Canadian project ever to be short-listed for the world-acclaimed Brit Insu rance Design Awards.
 
Minister of Labour Tours Simcoe WaveDeck

Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Peter Fonseca visited the Simcoe WaveDeck May 21 as part of a tour organized by the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario.  During the hour-long tour, Minister Fonseca learned more about the wavedeck and its unique marine construction.  The Simcoe WaveDeck — one of Toronto’s most dynamic construction projects — was one of four sites the Minister visited during his tour.  While at the wavedeck, he also received a detailed briefing about site specific health and safety procedures related to marine construction and had an opportunity to speak with workers and ask questions.

 
Construction Webcams
Watch construction of Toronto’s revitalized waterfront by viewing Waterfront Toronto’s new construction web cameras.  A bird’s eye view of the construction of the Simcoe WaveDeck is provided by a camera located on top of the Radisson Hotel.  A camera on top of the BMW building looks west into the West Don Lands and an overview of East Bayfront is from a camera located on a billboard near Lake Shore Boulevard.  Links to these web cameras are available on the homepage of Waterfront Toronto’s website at www.waterfrontoronto.ca.
We thank our community partners in helping us showcase this exciting activity.

 
Waterfront Toronto Now on You Tube
Waterfront Toronto now has its own You Tube channel.  Almost 1,400 people have logged on to view a recent video tour of the Lower Don Lands that was led by the Lower Don Lands project team, as part of Jane’s Walk.  The video showcases plans to revitalize this industrial area into new sustainable parks and communities. View the video.

Look for more videos featuring other waterfront initiatives in the upcoming months on Waterfront Toronto’s You Tube channel.
 
Construction Update
 

Construction is in full swing on Toronto’s waterfront.

The Martin Goodman Trail project at Ontario Place is progressing on time and ahead of schedule. Waterfront Toronto opened a new intersection at Ontario Place south of Exhibition Stadium in time for the start of the attraction’s 2009 summer season as part of the Martin Goodman Trail improvement project.  The new intersection improves access to Ontario Place for parking and passenger drop offs, improving safety for both users of the Martin Goodman Trail and vehicular traffic.

 

Waterfront Toronto is extending the Martin Goodman Trail through Ontario Place from Marilyn Bell Park to Coronation Park at Strachan Avenue, to run over 1200m in length and parallel to Lake Shore Blvd.

In the central waterfront, construction crews are putting the final touches on the Simcoe WaveDeck allowing it to open ahead of schedule in June in time for Luminato’ s closing weekend fea turing Cirque du Soleil performing along the waterfront.  Construction is progressing on schedule at the Rees WaveDeck, and it is expected to open in late July. 

Over the next few weeks, the decommissioning of two buildings in East Bayfront will make way for construction activities to begin on Sherbourne Park.  Decommissioning of the Abel Building at 5 Lower Sherbourne and the former Town and Country Restaurant at 190 Queens Quay East will be completed by the end of June.  Following this, construction will begin on Sherbourne Park in July.

Construction continues on the flood protection landform in the West Don Lands, 75 percent of it now complete. Work is also underway on the Eastern Avenue pedestrian ramp and construction will begin on Bayview Avenue, River and Mill streets this summer.

 
Annual Report Wins Design Excellence Award

Waterfront Toronto’s 2007/2008 Annual Report has won a prestigious international communication creative award.  In the Summit Creative International Award competition, which recognizes excellence in creative communications and marketing initiatives, our annual report was awarded the Bronze prize in the Non-Profit/Government Annual Report Category. This year’s awards had submissions from 26 countries.
 
Jane’s Walk

Tours of the West Don Lands and Lower Don Lands were featured as part of this year’s Jane’s Walk, a weekend-long series of free neighbourhood walking tours honouring the legacy of urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs.

 In the West Don Lands, Waterfront Toronto Chair Mark Wilson led a group from the Distillery District to the Don River.  Along the way, community members saw the significant construction progress made in the area to date and also learned about upcoming construction activities. 

In the Lower Don Lands, Waterfront Toronto’s project team consultant Ken Greenberg led a tour through the area describing Waterfront Toronto’s innovative plan to re-route and naturalize the mouth of the river in a beautiful park setting.  This will result in the Don River once again becoming a major feature of Toronto’s waterfront and the centerpiece of new mixed-use neighbourhoods and parks and green spaces in the Port Lands. 

 
Community Tree Planting Event
 

Thank you to all of the volunteers who made the community tree planting event at Port Union Village Common Park a huge success. More than 45 volunteers came out and planted approximately 100 native shrubs, whips and trees.
 
Upcoming Board of Directors Meeting
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

***Please check website for meeting agenda with time and location***
 
Upcoming Design Review Panel Meetings
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Design Review Panel meetings are held at Waterfront Toronto Offices – 20 Bay Street, Suite 1310 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  For more information, please check our website for the meeting agenda.