York Quay Neighbourhood Association covers Toronto’s iconic Central Waterfront, with members in every building. YQNA is actively engaged in what shapes our neighbourhood – traffic, transit, planning, cultural and social events, policing, environment, noise, businesses, and the great urban renewal transforming Queens Quay. YQNA welcomes all residents to participate, share their ideas and enjoy our events.
YQNA is changing boundaries. We are moving along Queens Quay to the west, to reach from Yonge St. to Spadina Ave. (no longer Rees St.) At the same time we are pulling back on the north side, from the train tracks down to Lake Shore Blvd. and Harbour St., hoping the new condo buildings north of us will establish their own neighbourhood associations. We were encouraged to also move further east where developments are happening quickly all the way to the Port Lands, but we don’t have the capacity to get involved in the details of it. We are hoping the future residents on Queens Quay East will organize and get involved.
The change was up for a vote at a packed meeting at the Radisson Admiral Hotel. A name change of YQNA was also on the agenda — from York Quay to Queens Quay Neighbourhood Association (QQNA). It would reflect our location on the Waterfront and carry the name of Toronto’s most prominent boulevard, but our members felt YQNA is so well established that a name change could have a negative effect, so it was voted down. (Click to see our updated Constitution with new boundaries.)
John Campbell is stepping down after 12 years as CEO of Waterfront Toronto (WT). He has navigated many beautiful projects through choppy waters on the Waterfront, and has prepared for new developments as far as the Port Lands. John’s tremendous business skills and diplomacy made him a perfect leader of what is North America’s largest urban renewal project. His popularity reached into the Waterfront communities, where he engaged residents and businesses in the planning of parks, streets, WaveDecks, Queens Quay redesign, boardwalks and new buildings in precinct plans. Our ideas were welcomed, as we soaked up lots of knowledge during hundreds of hours in committees and public and private meetings.
YQNA decided to throw a farewell party for John on a warm September evening on the pool deck of the Radisson Admiral Hotel overlooking the lake. Five other neighbourhood associations joined as hosts – from Gooderham Warts, West Don Lands, St. Lawrence, Toronto Islands and Bathurst Quay – as well as the Waterfront BIA. A large crowd of residents, business owners, planners, civil servants, politicians, architects and developers paid tribute to John.
Among the gifts was a new song, “T.O. the Waterfront,” created by local artists Michael Colgrass and Anna Prodanou. It was dedicated to John and performed by the WBIA’s Singing Ambassadors. Hear the song with Waterfront clips on YouTube. Another gift from residents was a one-of-a-kind book of images, collected from many sources to capture the Waterfront transformation under John’s tenure. The party was a heartfelt send-off for a person who is well-liked and will remain in Toronto’s history as an important city builder. The new CEO of WT was not yet announced at this writing.
Jen Chan, assistant to City Councillor Adam Vaughan, has been our friend and unwavering connection to City Hall for more than seven years. She had close connections to the Waterfront long before working with Adam, so we consider her part of the neighbourhood. Over the years, we have relied on Jen to give us the right information about the explosion of developments and challenges in our neighbourhood, and we listened to her discreet advice on what YQNA could do for best results at City Hall. She was invaluable and much liked by all.
Hal Beck, YQNA member and our expert on matters related to the Island Airport (BBTCA), was recently given a citizens award by MPP Rosario Marchese. Our member of provincial parliament said, “I was proud to recognize 58 wonderful Trinity-Spadina volunteers at my second annual Community Appreciation Event.” Hal is an engineer and project analyst. He applies his outstanding skills with great perseverance and represents YQNA in the airport’s liaison committees. Readers can sample his work in Hal Beck – Health Study – Island Airport 2013-10-16, which points out the need for further health studies around the airport. We have learned a great deal from Hal and congratulate him for receiving this award.
A great lunch was served at the Radisson Admiral Hotel on Queens Quay, where YQNA is very fortunate to hold our by-monthly meetings. Here is the cheerful and well-fed group of YQNA members in the Watermark Restaurant decorated in the holiday spirit. On the far left is Dermot McKeown, general manager of the hotel and generous supporter of YQNA. We would not have succeeded or grown as well as we have without the hospitality of Mr. McKeown and the hotel staff.
Everyone is welcome to our next meeting, January 14, 2014 at 7 pm at the Radisson, with Toronto’s chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat as guest speaker. As usual we will gather for refreshments in the Watermark Lounge after the meeting. It is a great place to socialize and chat about the ideas that were floated at our meeting.
YQNA thanks everyone who worked with us in 2013 to make the Waterfront a better place to live. We have much to look forward to in 2014 — especially the return of streetcars on the newly designed Queens Quay. We wish everyone a great holiday and best wishes for the new year.