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jack layton ferry terminal

Bringing together the world’s most creative and talented design professionals to develop a vision for an important waterfront gateway

An Innovative Design Competition for the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park was undertaken to develop bold new concepts for Toronto’s gateway to the islands. The primary goal of the design competition was to produce a unifying and inspiring Master Plan which can be phased in over time.


The result is a vision for a welcoming gateway to the Toronto Islands – one of the City’s most unique and cherished parks – with amenities and infrastructure to support the approximately 1.3 million visitors who use the ferry each year.

competition process


The Innovative Design Competition followed a two-stage juried process:


  • Stage 1 Pre-Qualification: This stage involved an open call for submission of qualifications by design professionals from around the world. Teams were invited to move on to the Design Competition.
  • Stage 2 Competition: This stage involved an intensive 8-week design exercise in which the shortlisted proponents developed innovative design concepts. Mid-term reviews were held partway through this stage.

The teams presented their proposals at a public exhibition for a distinguished jury of design professionals and members of the general public. The jury reviewed the design submissions and reports and recommended one proposal to Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto for consideration.


public engagement


Communication and engagement with the public was an integral part of the Design Competition. A Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) comprised of local residents, businesses and neighbourhood groups met at key points during the competition process and provided advice and feedback to the project team, the design teams and the competition jury.


The general public played an important role in the Design Competition. A major public exhibition in March 2015 gave Torontonians an opportunity to review the design approaches and provide feedback to the jury.




The team of KPMB Architects, West 8 and Greenberg Consultants Inc. and their proposal – dubbed Harbour Landing –was selected as the winning entry. KPMB Architects + West 8 + Greenberg Consultants’ proposal successfully created a signature waterfront park and iconic ferry terminal that complements proximity to the water’s edge while offering spectacular views of the lake. The jury agreed that the winning proposal’s heavily planted and lush green space set it apart from the other designs and would help support the large number of visitors during peak times.


master plan and phase 1 development


The winning design team began refining its Master Plan in summer 2015. Part of this refinement included meeting with the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and Technical Advisory Committee, as well as affected stakeholders in the area.


The Capital Budget includes funding for an initial phase of work. Going forward, the Master Plan will be used to guide additional budget requests and to ensure that revitalization efforts move forward in a coordinated manner.

ferry terminal information


The Jack Layton Ferry Terminal was known as the Toronto Island Ferry Docks until 2012, when it was renamed in honour of Jack Layton. The Ferry Terminal opened in January, 1972 and is located at the foot of Bay Street, just west of the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel.


Nearly 1.3 million people pass through the terminal each year. Ferry services – operated by the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation division – are provided to docks at Hanlan’s Point, Centre Island Park and Ward's Island on the Toronto Islands. Ferry service operates year-round service to the Toronto Islands.


design competitions


Design competitions play a key role in the transformation of Toronto’s waterfront. The innovative ideas that stem from competition submissions help raise the level of planning and design in our city and provide an opportunity for public conversations to unfold about key waterfront sites. To date, Waterfront Toronto has held design competitions for the Central Waterfront, the Lower Don Lands, the Jarvis Slip Public Space (Canada’s Sugar Beach) and the Gardiner Expressway.

related news

project status

Approved Budget:

quick facts

Site boundaries: The ferry terminal and park occupy land between the east side of the York Street Slip up to and including the eastern edge of the Yonge Street Slip – south of Queens Quay Boulevard.

Size: The total site area is approximately 11.4 acres (4.6 hectares)

Ownership: The site is comprised of a mixture of publically owned land, leased land and privately owned land.

Usage: 1.3 million people pass through the terminal each year

Operations: Ferry services are operated by the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation division.

Team: Waterfront Toronto is working in partnership with the City of Toronto


Phasing: Master Plan and Phase 1 Improvements

related events

Workshop on Play Equipment at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal
November 17, 2016

Public Meeting - Jack Layton Ferry Terminal
January 26, 2016

Public Exhibition - Jack Layton Ferry Terminal Design Competition
March 16, 2015 - March 20, 2015

Public Meeting - Jack Layton Ferry Terminal Design Competition
March 16, 2015


Reimagining the Ferry Terminal

Meet the five design teams from around the world that had only eight weeks to put together their vision for reimagining this unique site.

Winning Design Announcement

On April 10, 2015, the team of KPMB Architects, West 8 and Greenberg Consultants were selected for their proposal - Harbour Landing.

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