Two inviting and exciting public spaces officially opened today in part of Toronto’s downtown waterfront that was until now mostly derelict industrial land that few people had visited. Canada’s Sugar Beach and the Water’s Edge Promenade (phase one) are unique new urban spaces that have transformed a lakefront parking lot and underused area into waterfront attractions.
Located just east of Lower Jarvis Street and south of Queens Quay Boulevard, Canada’s Sugar Beach is an 8,500m2 (2 acre) park which welcomes visitors with its brightly coloured pink beach umbrellas, sugar-like sand and iconic candy-striped rock outcroppings. At the base of the park, the first phase of water’s edge promenade stretches almost 300 metres east along the waterfront, providing Torontonians and visitors with the opportunity to enjoy part of the lakefront that they have not had access to in the past.
After only nine months of construction, the park and promenade were officially opened by Waterfront Toronto and its government partners, the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto. Both projects were completed on schedule and on budget. The budgets – $14.3 million for Canada’s Sugar Beach and $10 million for the Water’s Edge Promenade (phase one) – include design, construction and landscaping costs.
“Only nine months ago, we broke ground on what was a parking lot,” said Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. “Today’s opening makes it clear that Federal Government investment in waterfront revitalization is making a significant difference. It’s helping to transform these industrial lands into beautiful parks and recreational spaces that can be enjoyed by the residents of Toronto and the people of Canada.”
“The McGuinty government is proud to be a partner in the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront,” said Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. “The opening of Canada’s Sugar Beach and the Water’s Edge Promenade is yet another major milestone toward that vision. We will continue to invest in projects like these — projects that make our urban spaces beautiful and inviting, and that contribute to a great quality of life for Ontario families.”
"I'm proud and excited that mere months after breaking ground on this wonderful new public asset we are able to celebrate its official opening," said Toronto Mayor David Miller. "We promised Torontonians a revitalized, public waterfront promenade and we are delivering on that vision. Canada’s Sugar Beach joins the numerous waterfront amenities we've already opened-and there are plenty more to come."
The beach and promenade are the first new public spaces to open in East Bayfront, one of two new waterfront neighbourhoods currently under construction as part of Toronto’s waterfront revitalization.
“Since they opened to the public in July, the beach and promenade have become must-see waterfront destinations,” said Mark Wilson, Chair, Waterfront Toronto. “These delightful public spaces show us that our waterfront can be something to be proud of — and they demonstrate, beyond a doubt, that waterfront revitalization is moving full steam ahead.”
The design and construction of these public spaces exemplify Waterfront Toronto’s commitment to design excellence. Conceived as part of international design competitions that actively engaged the public, both the park and the promenade help to raise the bar for city-building in Toronto by setting a new standard for the creativity of design and quality of materials.
Canada’s Sugar Beach was designed by Claude Cormier Architectes Paysagistes in association with the Planning Partnership, while West 8 + DTAH was the team behind the promenade. The two project teams collaborated and shared key design elements and materials to deliver on Waterfront Toronto’s goal of creating a cohesive and integrated public realm throughout the waterfront.
Comprised of a plaza, an urban beach and a tree-lined promenade, Canada’s Sugar Beach is like three parks in one. Its engaging plaza space features an oversized candy-striped granite rock outcropping and large grassy mounds that form a colourful amphitheatre-style space. At the beach, white Muskoka-style chairs under bright pink umbrellas give people a place to while away the afternoon. Its tree-lined promenade, which runs diagonally through the park and connects to the Water’s Edge Promenade, includes a granite maple leaf water feature where people can cool off next to the beach.
The design for the Water’s Edge Promenade, one of the defining features of the West 8 + DTAH award-winning plan for Toronto’s downtown waterfront, creates a stunning tree-lined granite walkway with a two-toned maple leaf mosaic design. As the development of East Bayfront progresses, a wooden boardwalk will be built alongside the promenade over the stormwater management system for the area. Together, the promenade and boardwalk which will stretch almost a kilometre from end to end, will provide uninterrupted public access along the harbor.
Both projects were completed on schedule and on budget. The budgets – $14.3 million for Canada’s Sugar Beach and $10 million for the Water’s Edge Promenade (phase one) – include design, construction and landscaping costs. The Federal Government has contributed over $13 million to the Canada’s Sugar Beach project and another $1.5 million to phase one of the Water’s Edge Promenade.
Revitalization efforts are well underway across the waterfront. In East Bayfront, a second park, the majestic 1.5 hectare Sherbourne Common, is set to open later this summer and construction continues on the George Brown College Waterfront Campus which will welcome students in September 2012. In the West Don Lands, Toronto Community Housing has begun construction on the area’s first affordable housing complex, and construction is set to begin on Don River Park this fall. Plans for the Lower Don Lands were endorsed by Toronto City Council this summer and in the Central Waterfront, the first phase of construction to revitalize Queens Quay will begin next year.
Since 2005, Waterfront Toronto has opened 16 new or improved parks or public spaces including wavedecks, sports fields, revitalized trails and new waterfront parks. Waterfront Toronto has also finalized development agreements with Great Gulf Homes and Urban Capital for the first private sector developments on the waterfront.
The Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto created Waterfront Toronto to oversee and lead the renewal of Toronto’s waterfront. Public accessibility, design excellence, sustainable development, economic development and fiscal sustainability are the key drivers of waterfront revitalization.
• Michelle Noble, Director of Communications, Waterfront Toronto 647-288-8048 or 416-294-7762
• Chisholm Pothier, Press Secretary, Department of Finance Canada, Minister’s Office 613-996-7861
• Andrew Block, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Minister’s Office 416-327-6747
• Stuart Green, Deputy Director of Communications, Office of the Mayor 416-338-7119
For High Resolution Images visit the Sugar Beach Gallery