Take Part in Waterfront Transit ‘Reset’

The revitalized Queens Quay West in the Central Waterfront. Photo: Nicola Betts
The revitalized Queens Quay West in the Central Waterfront. Photo: Nicola Betts

You are invited to attend a public meeting for the Waterfront Transit “Reset” Phase 1 Study. Two public meetings are coming up  one at Harbourfront Centre, the other at a location in the Western Waterfront. A presentation, hosted by Waterfront Toronto, will show the progress and ideas of the study to date on a range of transit concepts.

The Study

The City of Toronto, in partnership with the TTC and Waterfront Toronto is establishing a vision and plan for a comprehensive Waterfront transit network.

During phase 1 of this study, Waterfront Toronto is reviewing existing Waterfront transit, previously planned transit initiatives, and current and future transit needs.

Of special interest to Waterfront residents is the ongoing work to develop a preferred east-west Waterfront transit solution that will integrate north/south transit and link people from across the City to the Waterfront.

Your participation and feedback are important to help shape the future of Waterfront transit.

Meeting in the Brigantine Room, Harbourfront Centre

Date: Wednesday May 25, 2016
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Open house begins at 6:00 p.m., followed by a presentation at 6:30 p.m.
Location: 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, at Brigantine Room at Harbourfront Centre (major intersection is Queens Quay West and Lower Simcoe Street)
Transit: Closest TTC subway station is Union Station. Take the 509 Harbourfront streetcar or the 510 Spadina streetcar to Harbourfront Centre. Walk west on the south side of Queens Quay to Harbourfront Centre at Lower Simcoe Street.
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessibility is at the main entrance.

To learn more about the Transit “Reset” Project please click here.

Queens Quay Reborn

This summer our new and stunning Queens Quay was revealed. The long-anticipated promenade is completed between Bay St. and Spadina Ave. In a final flurry of activity, the construction and fences disappeared after three years of heavy work below and above ground. Thousands of people took part in the opening ceremony on June 19, 2015. Residents and business owners along the Waterfront stood along several blocks waving a huge blue ribbon, which was finally cut by finance minister Joe Oliver. John Campbell, CEO of Waterfront Toronto, and local representatives of the Waterfront BIA and YQNA spoke to the cheering crowds.

Queens Quay is a central part of the massive urban renewal plans for the Waterfront. It has already changed the ambiance and use of the Harbourfront area. The Central Waterfront has always drawn large crowds for recreation, boating, entertainment and sheer beauty, but for the first time the promenade and boardwalks give people room to move — on foot, on bikes and by transit. Car traffic has been reduced to two lanes, and tour buses are accommodated by lay-bys along the way. This type of urban space is common in Europe, but it is a first in Toronto. A few glitches and confusion about traffic patterns are being ironed out, and people are enjoying the luxury of especially designed benches, granite pavements, sleek light posts and wide promenades. Hundreds of newly planted trees will eventually add character and shade to Queens Quay. What seemed like three years of construction chaos has turned into a beautiful boulevard that is already a favourite destination.

New Ferry Terminal and Park

International designers are competing to do a much-needed facelift of The Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park along the lake. Waterfront Toronto has chosen five finalists, whose preliminary designs will be on public display at City Hall’s Rotunda from Monday, March 16 to Friday the 20th.

The exhibit opens at noon on the first day with general viewing, followed by a presentation of the five designs from 6pm to 8pm. Comments from the public are welcome. A group of residents have already met with the designers to give necessary information and requests to suit the neighbourhood. The Ferry Dock is a crowded and rather bleak place that serves a million customers going to the islands each year. The adjacent Harbour Square Park is basically undeveloped and needs to be more attractive and practical for visitors and residents alike.

This project is part of the transformation of Toronto’s Waterfront, which is getting attention around the world for its size, complexity and fine execution by Waterfront Toronto. It is the subject of lectures at Harvard University and other prominent institutions. When Queens Quay opens this June as a beautiful pedestrian promenade, it is hoped that Toronto’s citizens and mandarins also will recognize the Waterfront as unique and worth protecting.

Queens Quay Rising

Queens Quay is finally rising from the depth of underground construction!  It has been a year of digging, dewatering the ground and installing new and expanded services — electricity, sewers, water supply, natural gas and telecommunication lines for phone, cable and internet connections. That was the biggest and most difficult part of Queens Quay’s revitalization and it’s nearly done. The harshest winter in memory didn’t help construction.

As the last holes on Queens Quay are being filled, crews are laying the 2.5 million red granite pavers on wide sidewalks with beautiful maple leaf patterns:

Around 240 trees are being planted in large silva cells with 30 cubic metres of soil that will nurture a boulevard of tall trees:

Curved wood benches, sleek cedar street lights and the Martin Goodman Trail will soon appear. Streetcar service is promised to resume late this summer. We are seeing fast progress laying the tracks, including the complicated TTC loop at Spadina Avenue.

Waterfront Toronto’s director of design and construction, James Roche spoke at a recent YQNA meeting and showed the brief video about Queens Quay seen above. Everybody can ask to receive emails with the latest construction news at: info@waterfrontoronto.ca.

The current disruptions will likely fade in our memory next summer, when we attend the inauguration of Toronto’s premiere boulevard right in our own neighbourhood!

Photos Estelle Weynman

Join a Dragon Team!

Dream of summer — how about joining friends and neighbours in the first York Quay Dragon Boat Team? You don’t need any special skills or be young and musclebound, just have an adventurous spirit and a taste for the outdoors. Tim MacFarlane of the non-profit Rusty Dragons offers to coach a new team on the Waterfront. Here is a team he formed for the Harbord Village Residents Association.

If enough sign up to make a team, they will practice once a week for 7 weeks in May and June.  At the end, the team will paddle in the fun Canada Day Dragon Race on the Islands. There is a single registration fee of $75 for the whole experience — practices and regatta. Tim will adjust the times of practice to fit the schedules of a York Quay team, so don’t hesitate to grab this opportunity. The dragon boat training starts at the Ashbridge’s Park near Lake Shore Blv. and Woodbine Park. To join the team, contact Tim MacFarlane at tim@rustydragons.ca. Registration is now OPEN! You can register here.

Another summer dream — join the Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre right in our neighbourhood, at Queens Quay W. and Rees Street. It is a hub of canoeing and kayaking activities all summer. Beginners can sign up for the “Social Paddle” on Wed-Thur-Fri evenings all summer, with trained instructors taking the group for a leisurely paddle to the island lagoons and ending with a BBQ. Boats, paddle and equipment are provided for this unique Toronto experience for all age groups.The HCKC offers training, boats and events for all skill levels in this gorgeous setting. It is a treasured Toronto tradition not to be missed! Look at their website for details or call 416 203-2277, email: ask@paddletoronto.com.