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What the eastern waterfront might look like in 2020

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 4, 2013

3C TorontoToronto could be about to get a new city beach and giant public fountain if plans for the 3C waterfront development continue as planned. New designs for the project led by Foster + Partners (of London's "Gherkin") released earlier this week by the development's landscaping team envision a new neighborhood on the vacant patch of land north of the Keating Channel, just east of the protected Victory Soya Mills Silos.

Whisky Beach, a nod to the Distillery District to the north, will perch on the corner of an existing inlet to the west of the construction site, commanding sweeping views along the harbour to the Toronto Islands. Though the designs are preliminary, the public space appears to draw inspiration from Sugar Beach and HTO Park.

toronto 3cJust behind the beach the landscape architects have designed a public space - dubbed Trinity Plaza - dominated by a 14-metre amber-coloured fountain. "Whisky Fountain," which, sadly, sprays water, is the centrepiece of the Trinity Street pedestrian extension under the Union rail corridor and Gardiner to the water. A public waterfront promenade is shown parallel to the Keating Channel, passing under Cherry Street toward the mouth of the Don.

While Waterfront Toronto has a plan to transform much of the city's Port Lands area, this development is on private land and is being organized separately from the mass revitalization work planned directly to the south. That said, the designs will eventually be raked over by Waterfront Toronto's Design Review Panel in due course.

toronto 3cIt's also worth noting the designs optimistically show the East Bayfront LRT reaching the neighbourhood by the time construction is scheduled to wrap in 2020. It remains to be seen whether the unfunded separated streetcar route from Union to Cherry Street will get built. New transit taxes will likely need to play a role in order to get it built.

toronto 3c beachConstruction is still some way from getting started. The proposal is still awaiting the necessary bylaw appeals, which are scheduled to be heard in the fall. Details on the cluster of buildings, together comprising 2.4 million square feet of residential, office, and retail space, are not yet available.

What do you think about the new look for the empty patch of land? Are you pleased the concrete silos will be kept? What about Whisky Beach and Fountain - does Toronto lack public water features?

toronto 3c siteChris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Images: Foster+Partners, 3C Masterplan, CC+A, Chris Bateman



eric / April 4, 2013 at 08:54 am
Love seeing more of the waterfront getting developed in a cool manor. Note to the writer (@chrisbateman) 'landscapers' do not design anything they roll sod and cut grass. Landscape Architects design public spaces Trinity Plaza.
Chris Bateman replying to a comment from eric / April 4, 2013 at 09:01 am
Duly noted.
John / April 4, 2013 at 09:04 am
Toronto is the only city in the world that could even consider such a massive urban development and NOT have transit funding in place to properly serve it.

I very much like the Foster design, but without a proper transit link (not and endless stream of noisy/smelly buses), then this just won't work. Streetcars fundamentally change the character of streets where you are intending for people to sit in cafe sidewalks, etc. They just don't work with buses.
alan replying to a comment from John / April 4, 2013 at 09:10 am
thank you for the thoughts too...the twrc has been talking about transporation on the waterfront for years...and talking and talking...and sadly talking...
glenn storey / April 4, 2013 at 09:24 am
looks very nice, but where will the ferris wheel and monorail go?
the lemur replying to a comment from eric / April 4, 2013 at 09:33 am
Note to eric: a manor is a big house, a manner is a way of doing something.
jen / April 4, 2013 at 09:38 am
Hey, where's the Keating Pub on that plan? It should be right under that blobby black X beside Cherry Street and the channel.
J replying to a comment from jen / April 4, 2013 at 10:06 am
That's where the treasure goes.
WEB / April 4, 2013 at 10:32 am
Looks great!

Too bad that most of this will almost be directly under the flight path of the Island Airport. Is it just me, or do the noise of these planes not mix well with the feel of the waterfront? I'm guessing it is just me! Is there anyone out there that feels the same as me? Anyone?
Cyril Sneer / April 4, 2013 at 10:48 am
Image 3: Did they steal that fountain from The Brit condos?
Todd replying to a comment from WEB / April 4, 2013 at 11:26 am
No. Tons of other cities have waterfront-ish airports.
the lemur replying to a comment from WEB / April 4, 2013 at 11:29 am
It is just you. If you've ever flown into or out of the island airport, you'll have noticed that the inbound flightpath is usually over the Leslie spit and outbound is usually to the west of the island. If you stand on Queen's Quay around Spadina, the turboprops are barely audible.
Matt replying to a comment from the lemur / April 4, 2013 at 11:39 am
I am in total agreement. Being on the 20th floor of a condo building right on the water may change things acoustically, but as of right now, you never really hear the planes.
BillyO / April 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm
The author forgot to include details of the best part, a connection to the Distillery District which will run underneath the rail tracks.
SJB replying to a comment from eric / April 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm
Landscapers aren't just sod rollers! Very ignorant of you. As a landscaper my crew and myself took on many roles and responsibilities for the planning of our clients properties (both residential and commercial) and we actually did the work too, smart and strong, not just sitting behind a computer to "design" things. No job, big or small is just the vision of one, often the labourers add valuable input to the aesthetic of the project. Don't be so elitist.
SJB replying to a comment from Chris Bateman / April 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm
Christ, please take note of my comment above. Eric is sadly misinformed.
Bronau replying to a comment from WEB / April 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm
No. No one.
Gord / April 4, 2013 at 01:35 pm
I hope we aren't getting another beach with a sign that says "no swimming" like :sugar beach!
Aaron / April 4, 2013 at 01:35 pm
More fantasies on the cusp of a recession.
Brent replying to a comment from the lemur / April 4, 2013 at 01:51 pm
Maybe Eric meant to say that he hoped it would be developed with a cool manor.
Brian / April 4, 2013 at 02:55 pm
You guys ever think of attributing where most of your development stories come from?
Chris Bateman / April 4, 2013 at 03:18 pm
We would have credited UT if they had been the source of the story.
nardl blarn / April 4, 2013 at 04:26 pm
This is simultaneously thrilling and depressing.
iSkyscraper / April 4, 2013 at 04:29 pm
@SJB - The story is about the design professionals involved at this stage of the process - landscape architects is the correct term for the context.

Speaking of, the city owes a huge debt to Claude Cormier, the Quebec landscape architects who brought us Ht0 Park and Sugar Beach. These interpretations of the European "urban beach" (made famous by the temporary installations of the Paris Plages) set a new standard for how to do urban beach spaces and have now been widely copied in many cities from Montreal to Shanghai. Given the limitations involved, they were the perfect way to re-integrate Toronto with its long-abandoned lake. Great to see this urban planning device being used here again.

Love the development, please get it done. And yes, with streetcars!

JC / April 4, 2013 at 05:34 pm
Egads, great development but absolutely no need to repeat the giant mistake of a fountain that Claude Cormier designed for the new Four Seasons. They stretched to find context at that location, and completely lack any whatsoever in this location.
ericke replying to a comment from eric / April 4, 2013 at 06:03 pm
Note to the commenter: yur not riting in a kul manor: second graders can spell manner, whereas fifth graders can distinguish manner from manor.
haha Brian--BURN!!!! replying to a comment from Brian / April 4, 2013 at 06:08 pm
You got schooled, chum! And Chris Bateman did it with tact and style.

Let that soak in a bit and feel the burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrn!
more urban beaches! replying to a comment from Brian / April 4, 2013 at 06:13 pm
H20 is pretty cool, Sugar beach is wicked awesome.

and yes, please get the streetcar tracks built NOW..who in their right minds would dither on them??

and please maybe make a teeny tiny swimming area, no matter how crazy it may sounds at first blush!

and please maybe use brown-tinted LED spotlights on the fountains of water in the Whisky fountain so we may all at least *pretend* it's whisky. :)
No / April 4, 2013 at 08:11 pm
The airplanes make lost no noise whatsoever.

Lived on Stadium Rd for 5 years and sitting on my patio you wouldn't even know a plane was coming or going.

Long live Porter!
stopitman replying to a comment from WEB / April 4, 2013 at 08:13 pm
I live near the lake and the isn't bad at all, it's actually masked by the sound of the Gardiner. Plus, as someone else said they come in from further out in the lake and bank over the Leslie St. Spit, which keeps the noise decently low.

If those renderings come out like they're supposed to, our waterfront will look like a modern version of the Paris/London river fronts. I think it'll help keep people around at all times of the day and stop the parks from becoming a no-mans-land in the winter and at night.
torontodude / April 4, 2013 at 08:24 pm
The plans look great although once all the reviews are passed, chances are it will look nothing like that in the interests of keeping costs down. I too am a fan of the uniqueness of Sugar Beach and HTO Parks but...why again do we have to keep those gawdawfull cement silos built in the 1940's to hold soybeans??? There's alot of real heritage properties and features in the city that need protecting...these don't...blow them up so we can re-use the land.
Victory Soya Mills Silos is one of the two remaining silos from Toronto's industrial port era. They were built by E.P. Taylor Victory Mills company in 1943 to house the soy beans used by a large plant that reprocessed the soy for a variety of purposes.

The abandoned silos have been a temporary home for the homeless and abandoned since the 1980s. Although a heritage site, there are no plans to renovate or reuse the building.
Philip replying to a comment from Chris Bateman / April 4, 2013 at 09:53 pm
Well, lets see here. The Urban Toronto story came out on April 3rd, yours is April 4th. You used the same images and mention many of the same things (which only makes sense given it's a story on the same topic). Frankly, if this was something you were turning in for a university project, you would get an automatic fail and be written up for plagiarism. So please do explain where you got the idea for this story, if not from Urban Toronto. I sincerely mean that, because otherwise, you look like a plagiarizer and a liar.
lol / April 4, 2013 at 09:55 pm
Still developing to close to the water... and the gardner is god awful.. this city is so backwards
Philip replying to a comment from haha Brian--BURN!!!! / April 4, 2013 at 09:57 pm
How exactly is that a burn? Unless you are being sarcastic, Brian in no way got told. That would be like Brian saying "the world is round" while showing an image of it from space, and then Chris saying "no, it's flat, period" with nothing to back him up. Frankly, that kind of mindset (the kind that backs up "the world is flat") is what gets people like Rob Ford in to office, and we all know how much good that ha done us.
Amy W / April 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm
Those beautiful tall trees are going to need waaaaaaay more space for root systems than what's in the blue prints and schematics.

It makes a big difference to the street scape if the streets are lined lush living architecture or with concrete and dead saplings.
Goran replying to a comment from SJB / April 4, 2013 at 10:23 pm
lol who cares
Chris Bateman replying to a comment from Philip / April 4, 2013 at 10:25 pm
The story, images and all, were sourced from the website of Claude Cormier, the landscape architects. The pictures and details were released early this week. Same source, two different stories. Case closed.
allurban / April 4, 2013 at 10:33 pm
I'm loving the designs but torn between whether I think 'Whiskey Beach' is witty or cheesy. Adding LED lights to the Whiskey fountain ... is creative and fun but getting closer to the point where the city loses the focus on what the Waterfront is supposed to be.

I think Toronto needs to focus on the fundamentals for the Waterfront. ... especially investment in transit first and foremost, as well as public spaces where people are comfortable and can enjoy their city from their own perspectives.

Cheers, Moaz
Luckysod / April 4, 2013 at 10:34 pm
To those worried about the noise of inbound flights to the island airport, note that the planes don't fly along the Leslie Street Spit, but across it close to shore, then over Cherry Beach or more often to the north, then over the open harbour. Most of the planes are not uncomfortably noisy, not even when you're outside, but there are a lot of them, one every few minutes. Also, there is relentless pressure to allow small jets to fly in and out of the airport (I've seen one take off from there, even though they're banned) and, man, they are noisy.
Keith / April 4, 2013 at 10:38 pm
I really hope they keep the silos. I live in the area. I think they are valuable and architecturally interesting. They have lots of potential. I think of the Tate Modern or Battersea Power Station. They should be preserved and could prove really interesting. They're definitely a defining relic of Toronto's waterfront industrial heritage and worthy of preservation. Much like the silos near Ireland Park and Portland Slip

These silos could help link the silos, waterfront and Toronto's port history.
J / April 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm
Let's all hope that this new 'fountain' actually has water - there's a duplicate of that one in red at the new four seasons which is conspicuously absent of water.
ZS / April 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm
Please, for the love of what's sensible and rational, I hope they're planning on building transit (IE streetcar tracks) before and while they build this thing.
neverben / April 5, 2013 at 12:28 am
It is the best kept secret in this city that those who actually use the water... the kayakers, sailors, windsurfers and party-goers... we're happy that this land has gone developed. There are few major cities like Toronto where you can keep a sailboat year round for hundreds instead of thousands of dollars, and be on the water minutes from downtown. The off-the-grid clubs off of Unwin St., and the many activities clustered around Cherry Beach are hidden gems. While it will be nice to see newness, we'll lose something special in the process.
Alex / April 5, 2013 at 10:49 am
That looks awesome! Toronto is going through such an exciting time now, and the next decade or so is going to be pretty significant.

I hope they build the streetcar out there, it would really help the street develop. The area isn't that central though, so not sure if they would have the capacity required for a streetcar. Still, they definitely need to plan some sort of transit there.
Nancy replying to a comment from the lemur / April 8, 2013 at 10:19 am
The inbound Air Canada prop planes are deafening at Cherry Beach, however the Porter planes are significantly quieter.
Malcolm / April 8, 2013 at 10:39 am
"Phillip" and "Brian" = same person.
the lemur replying to a comment from Nancy / April 8, 2013 at 11:10 am
If you're referring to the Air Canada Express planes, those are the same Bombardier Q-400s that Porter uses.
Philip replying to a comment from Malcolm / April 11, 2013 at 09:57 pm
Nope, definitely not the same people, that I can guarantee you. Don't know who Brian is, but I am Philip - born and raised in Toronto, now an expat living abroad, seeing the many things that people around the world are doing for their own cities that Toronto could do as well, and yet time and time again we drop the ball on so many projects, often due to an egg-headed populace made up of the likes of you and your bogus assumptions, sir.
Philip replying to a comment from Chris Bateman / April 11, 2013 at 10:01 pm
Not case closed. Please point me in the direction of said pictures and details on that website. Maybe I suck at this thing called the internet, but I have looked through their website endlessly, but without any success at finding any of those things. The latest thing they have posted is for the Ordnance Triangle project. I will happily retract any of my previous comments if you can show me where you got your information.
Tiny Penis, Sore Loser replying to a comment from Philip / April 11, 2013 at 10:19 pm
Phillip, are you gonna cry now?

Aren't you tired of being taken out back and schooled by the big boys by now??
Philip replying to a comment from Tiny Penis, Sore Loser / April 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm
You are either a troll (so, useless) or an idiot. Either way, your comment makes no sense, and you are the type of people that I previously alluded to that are holding back Toronto. I mean, you couldn't even spell my name right. That's just basic.
Anon / September 11, 2013 at 02:51 pm
The Toronto experience is as follows:
and walking,
and walking,
and walking,
Riding the bus,
and riding the bus,
and riding another bus,
and riding yet another bus

It's like the goddamn middle ages.
the lemur / September 11, 2013 at 03:19 pm
Except that there were no buses in the middle ages.

Oh noes, walking!
Thomas Greene III / December 25, 2013 at 02:19 am
So it looks like they are doing the same thing they did with the west side waterfront condos. They build them so high that the people in the condos north of them lose their view of the water. My mother at Richmond and Spadina had a wonderful view of the lake when she moved in 9 years ago. Now all that is left is a tiny slit of lake view. This plan is NOT fair to the people who have a view now...
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