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Propelled by Partnership

Mar 2, 2020

By Kaleigh Wisman

Waterfront Toronto was created to tackle big issues facing growing cities that only powerful collaboration across all three levels of government could solve. Our work has always been powered by collaboration, and as we look forward in our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan we are excited to explore what new partnerships will propel our work forward. 

Working together to get moving   

Queens Quay EastIn collaboration with the TTC and the City, we are working towards advancing transit expansion in the eastern waterfront.  

To support an economically and socially vibrant waterfront, we’re working with partners to make it easier to get to the water’s edge and move along the waterfront. Our current focus is planning the infrastructure needed to enable a rapid transit service eastward along Queens Quay with the goal of linking the Queens Quay service to the streetcar route that currently serves Cherry Street in the West Don Lands.  

In collaboration with the City of Toronto and the TTC, we are leading the design for the surface portion of the Queens Quay East LRT and the Queens Quay extension, including public elements like landscaping, bike paths and sidewalks. As these plans move forward, we are also collaborating with our partners to ensure that we coordinate local transit plans for the eastern waterfront with emerging transit plans for the wider region. To learn more about these plans, take a look at page 45 of our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.  

Tackling city issues through collaboration  

Wigwamen in West Don LandsWigwamen is one of the local organizations we partnered with to create affordable housing options in the West Don Lands.  

Toronto is facing an affordable housing crisis that cannot be ignored. Part of our mandate at Waterfront Toronto is to help tackle this challenge by introducing more affordable housing units and creating complete communities where a diversity of residents can thrive—a minimum 20% of the residential units being constructed in the waterfront are dedicated to affordable rental housing. It is our priority to include three and four-bedroom units throughout our communities to accommodate families with children as well as units that suit the lifestyle of singles and seniors. 

To date, we have added 600 affordable housing units to Toronto’s housing stock by partnering with housing not-for-profits like Toronto Community Housing, Fred Victor, Wigwamen and Artscape. Read more about affordable housing in the West Don Lands, here

Partnering with city-builders 

People enjoying The Bentway's Skate TrailThe creation of The Bentway was made possible through a generous contribution from city-builders Judy and Wil Matthews.  (Photo courtesy of The Bentway Conservancy)

Across North America, municipalities, foundations and private donors are partnering to build world-class parks and amenities. Projects such as Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, Gathering Place Park in Tulsa and the High Line in New York are examples of how partnerships with private donors can create unique and transformational public spaces.  

One of Toronto’s most exciting new public places, The Bentway, delivered by Waterfront Toronto, is an expression of this growing movement. Made possible through a generous donation from Judy and Wil Matthews, this park has transformed a previously uninviting area into a place that bustles with skating, concerts and people on the move. 

As part of our vision for the future, we’ll be creating compelling opportunities for donors to realize special projects along the waterfront. As a first step, we look forward to connecting with city-builders who want to invest in one of our aspirational projects—Destination Playground in the future Villiers Island. You will be able to read about this opportunity and others in next week’s blog post, which will explore the waterfront’s potential. 

The 2020-2025 Strategic Plan can be found here.