Lake Ontario Shoreline, Toronto, Canada
The Central Waterfront, 3.5 km of Lake Ontario shoreline immediately adjacent to the downtown business district, is one of Toronto’s most valuable assets. Yet, despite decades of planning and patchwork development projects, there is no coherent vision for linking the pieces into a greater whole – visually or physically. In this context, the fundamental objective of the project is to address this deficiency by creating a consistent and legible image for the Central Waterfront, in both architectural and functional terms.
In response to an innovative design competition launched by Waterfront Toronto, West 8 submitted a comprehensive vision for the Central Waterfront that produced a powerful design language with the strength and simplicity to overcome the existing visual noise and create a sense of interconnectedness and identity. Connectivity between the vitality of the city and the lake and a continuous, publicly accessible waterfront are the plan’s priorities. The plan expresses a vision for the Central Waterfront that brings a sustainable, ecologically productive “green foot” to the rich culture of the metropolis. It suggests a new coherence and continuity along the waterfront produced by four seemingly simple gestures that create a new “Multiple Waterfront”: the Primary Waterfront – a continuous water’s edge promenade with a series of pedestrian bridges, the Secondary Waterfront – a recalibrated Queens Quay Boulevard with a new urban promenade and public spaces at the heads-of-slips, the Floating Waterfront – a series of floating elements that offer new boat moorings and public spaces in relation to the lake, and the Cultures of the City – connections from Toronto’s diverse neighborhoods towards the waterfront.