A Stroll Through Toronto's Waterfront of the Future

Jane Armstrong tours Queen’s Quay with the two individuals leading the $110 million effort to transform a 1.5-kilometre stretch of Toronto's downtown waterfront into "a North American version of the Champs Élysées."

Chris Glaisek, vice-president, planning and design for Waterfront Toronto, and landscape architect Jelle Therry, from Rotterdam-based West 8, lead Armstrong on a walking tour of Queen's Quay, once described a landscape magazine "as among the world's worst streets," to point out the challenges that exist along Toronto's central waterfront and how they plan to solve them.

According to Armstrong, "The list of problems is long: The sidewalks are too narrow. Bike lanes end abruptly. The retail is uninspired. And even though you're beside the lake, it's really hard to get to the water's edge." 

To rectify the situation, an ambitious overhaul, the result of an international design competition won by West 8 and Toronto landscape designers, DTAH, is due to be completed by Spring 2015, in time for the Pan Am Games. "The goal is a Parisian-styled promenade, Therry said. Tourists and residents will gravitate to the lake. Cyclists and families will follow. They'll bring desirable restaurants and retail. And no one will remember the days of narrow sidewalks, low-end coffee shops and bike trails that lead to dead ends."

Full Story: A walk with the team that will beautify our waterfront


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