Design Review Panel


We created the city’s first Design Review Panel in 2005 to promote design excellence on the waterfront. The Panel includes some of Canada’s most accomplished city-building professionals; together, they seek to engage designers, developers, and government agencies in a public dialogue about the future of our waterfront.

 

The Panel is an independent advisory body that complements the City of Toronto’s regulatory approval process. Their work guides and informs all projects proposed within the Waterfront Design Review District, which lies within the larger Designated Waterfront Area established in the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Act of 2002. 

View our Design Review Handbook

View the PDF

 

Visit our 2022 Design Review Meeting Calendar
View calendar

 

Meet our Panel Members

Read the bios

Want to read past meeting minutes or view presentations?
Review Meeting Materials
View previous Meeting Recordings
 

Mandate

 

The Panel strives to add value to every project by providing expert advice that is professional, fair, and constructive. Its role is to promote design excellence, improve environmental performance, and ensure a cohesive approach to waterfront revitalization. Their mission is to set new design standards across the waterfront and help Toronto achieve worldwide recognition as a centre of creativity and design excellence.  

 

How it works

 

All new projects – whether on private or public land – are expected to go through design review to fulfill community planning and urban design expectations. The Panel meets monthly and provides input at key stages of a project’s design process. There are two different review streams: Stream 1 for lands that are privately owned, and Stream 2 for lands that are publicly owned. Stream 1 entails two or three review sessions (called stages) at the Panel, and Stream 2 entails three or four review stages.

At the first stage, the Panel provides high-level comments on initial sketches.  Starting at the second stage, the Panel votes to determine whether the project has full support, conditional support or non-support. If the Panel supports a project, then the project moves onto the next phase. Projects with conditional support or non-support must consider the Panel’s feedback and return to the Panel at a later date for further review.

View the Waterfront Design Review Panel Handbook for the full guide of the review process and for details on getting on the agenda. 


The Design Review Panel Handbook

 

The Handbook guides all aspects of the review process, from getting on the agenda, to submitting materials, to scheduling a follow up debrief.
 

This step-by-step guide to the entire design review process is an essential tool for anyone appearing before the Design Review Panel. 
 

Read the Step-By-Step Guide
to the Entire Design Review Process

Media
Image
DRP handbook cover image (300)
Media
Image
a group photo of tthe Waterfront Design Review Panel

Meet Our Design Review 
Panel Members

 

The Waterfront Design Review Panel includes leading architects, urban planners, landscape architects, and other professionals from Canada and abroad. Learn more about the members of the Waterfront Design Review Panel.

 

Read the Panel Member Bios

Visit our calendar to view upcoming and past Design Review Panel meetings, including links to materials and meeting recordings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Body

Have questions about the Design Review Panel? Please see below for some frequently asked questions.

Answer

Our Panel is chaired by Paul Bedford, Former Chief Planner of City of Toronto. Visit our Design Review Panel Members page to read bios and learn more about the members of the panel. 

Answer

Most city-building initiatives across the central waterfront appear before the Panel, including improvements to public and private lands, design projects and site plan approvals, and planning projects and planning act approvals. For more information, including exceptions, read the Design Review Panel Handbook

Answer

The Panel meets monthly and meetings are open to the public. Please visit our online calendar for details. Due to the current public health restrictions related to COVID-19, the panel is meeting virtually, and meeting recordings are then posted to our YouTube Channel.

Answer

The Panel is administered by Waterfront Toronto, and has formal by-laws that govern its composition and membership. View the By-Laws for Waterfront Toronto’s Design Review Panel.

Answer

Panel members are governed by the Waterfront Toronto Code of Conduct and comply with the conflict of interest procedures.  

Design Review by the Numbers

Here are some statistics related to the Design Review Panel Process

151
number of meetings held to date (2005-2022)
352
number of projects reviewed
102
number of projects completed review by the Panel