This concept Port Lands masterplan represents a provocative collection of ideas, designed to reinvigorate the discussion about Toronto’s future development. These 470 acres of post-industrial landscape are a rare and precious opportunity to secure the city’s long-term growth by creating a world-class waterfront to be shared by citizens and guests for generations to come.
At the heart of the scheme lies the Don Greenway: a 32-acre public park that presents an alternative solution to the managing the intermittent flooding of the Don. Fringed by trees and criss-crossed by paths, its open lawns and meadows will prevent storm water retention, allowing for speedy drainage and restoration.
Spreading out on either side is a network of residential villages, commercial centres and essential amenities that offer a truly sustainable model of urban development. Its economic heart will be a new Town Centre attracting a projected 30 million visitors each year with its 1.5 million sq ft of retail space. The scale and architecture of this centre is conceived as a collection of covered arcades that extend the streetscape deep within the block to create a protected pedestrian network.
The east-west line of Commissioners Street is envisaged as a centre for creativity and innovation. Lined by business schools, technical colleges and high-tech fields such as computing and electronics, it will be a potential hot house for research and development, creating new business opportunities in both products and services. A useful satellite to the central business district, its affordable office space will encourage business start-ups, creating a new core of entrepreneurs that will become the city’s next generation of employers.
The dynamic line of the Diagonal Parade acts as a great ceremonial axis for the Port Lands, anchored in leisure, arts and culture. Aligned to form a symbolic sightline to the CN Tower, this street begins in the south with the lofty stack of the former Hearn Generating station. Converted into an all-season sports arena, the Hearn Ice Park will combine 4 regulation ice rinks, soccer pitches, exhibition spaces and support facilities to form a vibrant hub for local sport.
New marinas, promenades, boardwalks and swing bridges will all help Toronto’s citizens reconnect with the water’s edge once more, creating a new living edge to Lake Ontario. With the potential to create 30,000 new homes and 43,000 new jobs, this Port Lands plan offers an ambitious vision for a 21st century city.