On the Waterfront: could it be a contender?

One of the projects I hope to learn more about when I go to Toronto next month is Waterfront Toronto. Waterfront Toronto is, according to its website ” the public advocate and steward of waterfront revitalization. Created by the Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto is mandated to deliver a revitalized waterfront. Formally created in 2001, Waterfront Toronto has a 25-year mandate to transform 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of brownfield lands on the waterfront into beautiful, sustainable mixed-use communities and dynamic public spaces.

The project is one of the largest infrastructure projects in North America and one of the largest waterfront redevelopment initiatives ever undertaken in the world. However, it is not just the sheer scale of the project that makes it unique. Waterfront Toronto is delivering a leading edge city-building model that seeks to place Toronto at the forefront of global cities in the 21st century.

A primary objective of waterfront revitalization is to leverage the infrastructure project to deliver key economic and social benefits that enable Toronto to compete aggressively with other top tier global cities for investment, jobs and people. To do this, Waterfront Toronto brings together the most innovative approaches to sustainable development, excellence in urban design, real estate development, and advanced technology infrastructure.”

Last week, plans for an Innovation Centre were announced. This project will be built entirely with private funding, although politicians from all three levels of Government were present: Toronto Mayor John Tory, federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver and provincial Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Brad Duguid. Connectivity is key – the building will have access to the area’s high-speed broadband fibre-optic network.

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