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A Home for Innovation in East Bayfront

Jul 13, 2021

A view of the Waterfront Innovation Centre looking north from Canada’s Sugar Beach towards Queens Quay. Image courtesy of Menkes.

By: Kaleigh Wisman

For those of us fortunate enough to work from home this past year, we have learned how to collaborate with our colleagues, even when we are apart. However, we all know that there are some aspects of work that are better when we’re together in the workplace. Those idea-sparking chats in shared spaces, well-designed work areas that are more than 10 feet from our kitchens and high-speed internet that never resorts to the dreaded “buffering” message. That is why we are excited the Waterfront Innovation Centre—a 485,000 square foot purpose-built innovation workplace—will soon be complete.

Our development partners in this project, Menkes Developments Ltd and BentallGreenOak, have been hard at work since breaking ground in 2018 and are looking forward to welcoming tenants from Toronto’s growing creative and technology sectors to their new home at Queens Quay East and Dockside Drive early next year.

The Waterfront Innovation Centre will bring 2,000+ jobs to the area, contributing to the economic development of the emerging East Bayfront neighbourhood as well as supporting Toronto’s overall economic strength and recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

Making Toronto's waterfront synonymous with innovation

View of Jarvis slip from WIC.

The Waterfront Innovation Centre's ideal dockside location places it amongst an emerging innovation corridor on the waterfront—not to mention the amazing views and quick access to Canada’s Sugar Beach. Image courtesy of Menkes.

When planning East Bayfront—a new mixed-use neighbourhood on the waterfront—we set out to create a community that sparks innovation, fuels economic growth and achieves some of the most aggressive environmental sustainability targets.

These ideals are embodied within the Waterfront Innovation Centre: the majority of tenants (a minimum of 60%) will be businesses in the creative and technology sectors and the developers are on-track to achieve LEED Platinum certification, which is among the highest standards in environmental sustainability.

When it comes to attracting innovation, the Waterfront Innovation Centre is already drawing some of Toronto’s top talent, including communications services company WPP (which will be bringing in companies such as Ogilvy, H+K Strategies and John Street) as well as MaRS (in partnership with the University of Toronto).

The surrounding neighbourhood is also emerging as a hotbed for innovation—with Corus next door, Artscape Daniels Launchpad across the road and the Toronto Region Board of Trade moving into 100 Queens Quay East, this area of the waterfront is becoming the place for Toronto’s leading-edge organizations to call home.  

Built for collaboration

Rendering of the Nexus.

The Nexus will be one of three shared spaces within the Waterfront Innovation Centre that will foster collaboration. Image courtesy of Menkes.

Designed by Sweeny & Co, the complex comprises two buildings connected by a pedestrian walkway. Built with collaboration and idea exchange in mind, it will have three interconnected shared spaces—The Exchange, The Hive and The Nexus. These spaces will foster connections for tenants of the Waterfront Innovation Centre in new and unexpected ways.

Visitors to the area may also notice some improvements to the public space around the building. Keep an eye out for new trees, bike rings and lighting being installed around the complex, which will serve as a great compliment to Canada’s Sugar Beach.

The fastest internet in town

Rendering of the completed WIC, looking southeast towards Sugar Beach.

When the Waterfront Innovation Centre (pictured above), the Arbour, and T3 Bayside (two other developments further east in East Bayfront) are complete, they will attract 5,000 jobs combined. Image courtesy of Menkes.

Data transfer at the Waterfront Innovation Centre will be the fastest in Canada with an ultra-high-speed broadband fibre-optic network provided in partnership with Beanfield Metroconnect. This economical high-speed internet service will support businesses that require this kind of robust infrastructure such as those working in technology, creative, gaming, digital visualization and media, film and TV production.

With the best technology in place and a location that provides proximity to some of our country’s most creative and innovative talent—not to mention gorgeous views and waterfront access—we are excited to welcome the Waterfront Innovation Centre to this new and innovative phase of our waterfront’s development.