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November 19, 2001
Council committee approves waterfront culture plan
  
City Council's Economic Development and Parks Committee today adopted an
ambitious plan to put culture and creativity at the centre of Toronto's
waterfront revitalization.

"Culture is the soul of Toronto and it will be the soul of the revitalized
waterfront," said Robert Fung, who heads the governing body for waterfront
development.

The Waterfront Culture and Heritage Infrastructure Plan proposes that the
waterfront become the anchor for a series of cultural landmarks, learning
opportunities, entertainment venues and performing spaces. The goal is to
develop a high-profile cultural zone that will enrich the cultural and
recreational lives of Torontonians and become a major tourism destination.

"Toronto has a great waterfront and revitalization will make it even greater.
This cultural plan is just what we need to turn the waterfront into
Torontonians' favourite place to live, learn and play," said Councillor Michael
Feldman, Chair of the Committee.

The plan presents a series of proposals to take advantage of the waterfront's
cultural, natural and heritage resources, such as:

- Demarcating a series of seven corridors of cultural, natural and heritage
resources that will reconnect the heart of the city with the water's edge
- Launching a showcase cultural centre/museum
- Reinvigorating the exhibition grounds as a year-round attraction
- Reviving Ontario Place's popularity as a marriage of art, architecture and
family fun
- Turning the foot of Yonge Street into a major destination for public
celebrations
- Preserving Fort York and improving its profile as a tourism destination

"Throughout the city's history, Torontonians have looked to the waterfront as a
source of prosperity, inspiration and creativity. These proposals present us
with outstanding opportunities for using the waterfront as a way to understand
our past and grasp our future," said David Crombie, President of the Canadian
Urban Institute and Founding Chair of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust.

The plan is consistent with directions outlined in the City's Central
Waterfront Part Two Plan. It will now be forwarded to Council's Waterfront
Reference Group, and to the governing body for waterfront development for
review and consideration in the corporation's business and development plan.

"A great deal of work remains to be done before any of these proposals become
reality. This plan should be read as a preliminary framework for appreciating
the immense cultural potential of the waterfront, not as a blueprint for
development," said Rita Davies, Managing Director of the City's Culture
Division.

Background
Canada's urban waterfront: Waterfront Culture and Heritage Plan

The Waterfront Culture and Heritage Plan was prepared by the City of Toronto's
Culture Division. It is one of several studies of Toronto's Waterfront
commissioned by the Waterfront Revitalization Intergovernmental Steering
Committee, comprised of the governments of Toronto, Ontario and Canada. This
plan focuses on Toronto's central waterfront, and is envisioned as the first in
a series of studies that will be a resource for Toronto's entire waterfront,
from Etobicoke to Scarborough. The plan is consistent with directions outlined
in the City's Central
Waterfront Part Two Plan
.

The goal is to develop a high-profile cultural zone that will enrich the
cultural and recreational lives of Torontonians and become a major tourism
destination. The plan proposes the development of a Culture and Heritage Grid,
and 12 cultural opportunities.

The Grid: Seven corridors

The plan is built around a grid of seven corridors, each with a distinctive
history and character, that link cultural, natural and heritage resources in
the city's core with those at the water's edge.

Garrison Creek/Garrison Common
This corridor runs from Ontario Place and the foot of Bathurst Street to Fort
York and north through Trinity-Bellwoods Park. This location presents an
opportunity for public art and a series of fountains to mark the hidden
waterway.

John Street
From Queen's Quay Terminal to the Art Gallery of Ontario, this corridor
contains an impressive range of important cultural assets, including theatres
and broadcast centres. It has the potential to become Canada's premier street
of leading-edge arts, entertainment and new media.

Yonge Street
Canada's main street. The rehabilitation of the Yonge-Dundas intersection will
enhance Yonge Street's role as the cultural, commercial and civic core of the
city. The foot of Yonge is a premier location for a major cultural facility,
and a major destination for public celebrations.

Jarvis Street
This is one of Toronto's most historic streets, containing 19th century
mansions, the St. Lawrence Market, Allan Gardens and St. James Cathedral.
Connecting Jarvis Street to the waterfront and improving the streetscape can
help turn Toronto's old town into a major attraction.

Waterfront Trail
From the "Ex" to the Hearn Generating Station, this route presents
opportunities to expand downtown waterfront trails, and to develop a cultural
centre and festival site.

Don River Valley
Bringing back the Don will enhance and strengthen the value of one of Toronto's
most important natural and cultural landscapes, the Don River ravine. Here is
an opportunity to use sites such as Todmorden Mills and the Brickworks to
highlight Toronto's history, and to use a naturalized mouth of the Don as a
place of public art and heritage interpretation.

Front Street
From Fort York in the west to the Gooderham & Worts distillery in the east,
this route has potential to commemorate and celebrate Toronto's relationship
with the waterfront, using walking tours, interpretive kiosks and public art.


Twelve Cultural Opportunities

The "Ex"
Reinvigorate the Ex by encouraging year-round uses and linking it to the
emerging Liberty Village area to the north.

Ontario Place
Revive this urban park's popularity by celebrating its success as a marriage of
art, architecture and family fun. Restore parts of the park, reverse infill of
its waterways and improve connections to the mainland.

Fort York
Improve visitor services and facilities, enhance its orientation as a park, and
preserve views through guidelines for adjacent development and commercial
signage.

Bathurst Quay
Consider transforming the Canada Malting silos into a new cultural centre in
this dynamic, mixed-use neighbourhood.

Harbourfront Centre
Support the programming strengths of the centre through partnerships in the
arts, culture and heritage programs.

The Roundhouse
Use this unique building as a way to commemorate Toronto's history as a
railroad town, as well as to showcase public art and host community activities.

Union Station
This location is a key site for visitor information and orientation to the city
and the new waterfront.

Foot of Yonge
This site is ideal as a major destination for public celebrations, possibly as
a festival site.

Foot of Jarvis
Reusing the existing buildings as cultural facilities can build on the
neighbourhood's industrial legacy and create major new public spaces that
connect the area to the Old Town.

Gooderham and Worts Distillery
These buildings have the potential to accommodate new cultural activities and
historical commemoration.

Port Lands
Development of this area can help facilitate using Toronto's waterfront
industrial landscape to accommodate new cultural festivals and increase public
access to the water's edge.

Toronto Islands
There is strong potential on the islands for historical interpretation such as
Toronto's aboriginal history, and for public art programs.


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416-338-0338

 

 

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