Next steps for Bathurst Quay waterfront park and other public realm projects
July 5, 2022
Today, Mayor John Tory provided an update on next steps for Bathurst Quay waterfront park and other public realm projects.
A City of Toronto staff report on these projects goes to the City’s Executive Committee for consideration on July 12.
Mayor Tory was joined by Councillor Joe Mihevc (Spadina-Fort York) at the proposed Bathurst Quay waterfront park site.
The upcoming report recommends a work plan for advancing significant new downtown parks and public realm initiatives, which include Bathurst Quay, a Rail Corridor Master Plan and University Avenue. The report outlines the vision for each project, work undertaken to date and key implementation considerations in the next phase of project development.
The projects advance plans established in the City Council-approved Downtown Parks and Public Realm Plan and take advantage of existing City assets, including City-owned property, and co-operative partnerships to deliver much needed parkland downtown. The projects are proposed to be developed and implemented in stages as funding and approvals are secured.
Some community and stakeholder consultation has already occurred for the three projects through related planning studies and planning applications. Comprehensive engagement plans will be implemented for all initiatives as feasibility studies and design work advance to ensure continued consultation with the public, stakeholders and Indigenous communities.
Details of the three proposed projects include:
- Bathurst Quay: Bathurst Quay will repurpose a City-owned parking garage as the structural foundation for a new waterfront park in combination with a structure over part of the adjacent Portland Slip. Design work is proposed to commence in tandem with the garage closure and remediation in order to enable a park construction tender award in late 2026. This work plan also includes the creation of an exploratory committee to advance a multimedia projection installation on the adjacent Canada Malting Company silos.
- Rail Corridor Master Plan: The development of a Rail Corridor Public Realm Master Plan will provide a strategic plan for incrementally expanding public space over and adjacent to the rail corridors that run through downtown. The City is engaging with property owners, Metrolinx and other stakeholders on a variety of project opportunities. The Master Plan will better position the City to proactively plan for new open spaces and connections that contribute to the implementation of concepts envisioned in the Downtown Plan.
- University Avenue: The redesign of University Avenue has the potential to reimagine one of Toronto’s most iconic streets and deliver a continuous public green space connecting the Financial District, Health Science District and the University of Toronto. The next stage to develop this longer-term opportunity will include an engagement strategy for key stakeholders and partners, a capital project coordination strategy and a heritage inventory.
The financial strategy for these projects will reflect the multi-year timeline and staged approach outlined in the report. Funding is available for continued investigative and planning work. A detailed financial strategy will be developed for the future implementation of each initiative and will consider a variety of financial tools and resources.
The Executive Committee and Council are being asked to endorse the Priority Downtown Parks and Public Realm Work Plan and to direct relevant City staff to report back on individual projects at major milestones where Council approval is required, and through the annual budget process.
The City continues to secure new parks and public realm spaces across Toronto through the development approval process and through direct acquisitions.
The value of parks and public spaces is well established in many of the City’s strategic objectives, policy frameworks and guidelines. The need to expand and improve public spaces is acutely felt in areas of the city experiencing rapid growth, especially where this growth is primarily occurring in the form of high-density residential development such as downtown. Downtown Toronto’s population is projected to double from nearly 238,000 people in 2016 to a potential population of 475,000 by 2041. Public spaces are also central to the experience of employees, students, visitors and investors.
The report and presentation to Executive Committee are available on the City’s website.
“This is an important opportunity for the City of Toronto to keep taking the necessary steps forward to get these major parks built including the Bathurst Quay waterfront park, expanded park space along the Rail Corridor, and a redesign of University Avenue. These projects are all important opportunities to deliver much needed parks and public space in areas where the current ratio of parkland per person is amongst the lowest in the city. They will take time to get done but we have a path forward that will see them done right and in a way that will enhance the liveability of our downtown for all those who live and work there and its vitality for visitors.”
– Mayor John Tory
“These park projects build upon the substantial efforts the City has already undertaken and continues to envision to create downtown public spaces for all Toronto residents and visitors to experience and enjoy.”
– Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee
“Increasing access to parks and public spaces as our downtown communities grow is more important than ever. By taking advantage of existing City assets, including City-owned property, and co-operative partnerships, we can address the need for more public spaces downtown by building new parkland that everyone can access and enjoy. This is how we support a vibrant and liveable downtown for residents, visitors, and our commercial and cultural sectors.”
– Councillor Joe Mihevc (Spadina-Fort York)
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