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Waterfront Toronto Takes First Step in Building Quayside: A New Community That Will Provide Testbed for Solutions to Pressing Urban Challenges

RFP Released Today to Find Partner for Precedent-Setting Project

Toronto, March 17 – As cities around the world face pressing challenges in developing more sustainable, accessible, inclusive and prosperous communities, Waterfront Toronto has launched a process to create a new precedent-setting waterfront community called Quayside. The aim is to establish Quayside as a testbed for emerging technologies, materials and processes that will address these challenges and advance solutions that can be replicated in cities worldwide.  


Toronto is the fastest growing large metropolitan area in North America. As the downtown core experiences sustained population and job growth, demand for space continues to outpace supply. In response, the city’s post-industrial waterfront is transforming into a compelling destination with a number of high-quality residential and commercial developments, best-in-class technology infrastructure, and vibrant public spaces. At the same time, many challenges confront us; climate change is a reality that must be addressed; there is a backlog of critical infrastructure; urban mobility is a growing challenge; there is an increasing disparity in housing affordability – particularly for working class families; government funding is constrained; and, new technologies are changing the employment market. The question is: how can our efforts advance innovative solutions to these challenges that both fulfill Waterfront Toronto’s mandate and produce new regional, national and global city-building models?


Today, Waterfront Toronto released a Request for Proposals (RFP) aimed at selecting an innovation and funding partner for Quayside that will join with us in advancing ambitious, high-level objectives, including:


  • Sustainability, Resiliency and Urban Innovation: Create a globally significant demonstration project that advances a new market model for climate-positive urban developments. Pilot, on a large scale, leading sustainability and resiliency practices that address local, national and global carbon emission reduction targets. Incorporate technology advancements that enhance efficiencies and improve the overall quality of life for citizens, employees, students and visitors to the area; 
  • Complete Communities: Establish a complete community that emphasizes quality of place, and  provides a range of housing types for families of all sizes and income levels within a robust mix of uses, including public open space, culture, recreation, retail, education-related activities and offices; 
  • Economic Development and Prosperity: Provide a testbed for Canada’s cleantech, building materials and broader innovation-driven sectors to support their growth and competitiveness in global markets; and
  • Partnership and Investment: Develop a new partnership model that ensures a solid financial foundation, manages financial risk and secures revenue. 


Quayside will provide a significant opportunity to generate prosperity by continuing to build the emerging technology-based economic hubs on the waterfront, including employers and job creators in the green technology, film and television production, digital media and information technology sectors. Quayside will also benefit from Canada’s first open-access, ultra-high-speed broadband community network, which is currently giving residential and business users access to advanced fibre-optic technology that delivers internet connection speeds that are exponentially faster than standard networks.  


The RFP seeks a partner which will help create and realize an unparalleled vision for Quayside, and to materially contribute to project funding. The partner could be an individual organization, a joint venture, consortium or other legal arrangement. The fair, open and transparent process – which includes advice from a committee of external subject matter experts and approval by Waterfront Toronto’s Board of Directors – is anticipated to select a partner by mid-summer, to be followed by negotiations between Waterfront Toronto and the successful partner on the longer-term vision for Quayside. In subsequent stages, Waterfront Toronto and the Partner will engage the market more broadly to secure infrastructure design and delivery partners, as well as development partners. 


Map of Quayside Project Location in downtown Toronto

Quayside Project Location in downtown Toronto 


The 4.9 hectare (12 acre) Quayside site, as shown above, consists of three separate blocks of land located in downtown Toronto at the east end of Queens Quay. The site will eventually include the redesign and reconstruction of the intersection of Queens Quay and Parliament Street. The Quayside development site is publicly-owned through Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto.  There is one parcel of land adjacent to the primary development area that is privately owned and not part of the RFP. 


About Waterfront Toronto 

The Governments of Canada, Ontario and the City of Toronto created Waterfront Toronto in 2001 to oversee and lead the renewal of Toronto’s waterfront. We are working to transform Toronto’s waterfront for the people of Toronto, Ontario and Canada, to foster economic growth and to redefine how the city, province and country are perceived by the world. 


Our mandate is to deliver a revitalized waterfront that brings together the most innovative approaches to sustainable development, excellence in urban design, real estate development, and leading technology infrastructure. We are delivering on important public policy objectives to:


  • Reduce urban sprawl 
  • Develop sustainable communities 
  • Increase the supply of affordable housing 
  • Create more parks and public spaces 
  • Expand public transit 
  • Increase economic competitiveness 


Since our inception, we have generated a successful track record delivering critical infrastructure and transit, parks and public spaces, affordable housing, advanced sustainability models and communications networks. These efforts have resulted in over $10 Billion of private investment within and adjacent to the waterfront area. Toronto’s new waterfront communities will help to keep the city competitive with major urban centres around the world for investment, jobs and talent. Our revitalization work is helping Torontonians and visitors reconnect with the waterfront as a place to live, work and play.


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For more information, please contact:

Andrew Hilton
Director of Communications and Public Engagement, Waterfront Toronto
Telephone:  647-288-8048
E-mail: ahilton@waterfrontoronto.ca

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