Quayside is a 12 acre (4.8 Ha) parcel of land on Toronto’s waterfront, located at Queens Quay Boulevard East and Parliament Street. Waterfront Toronto has engaged Sidewalk Labs to develop a proposal for a new community on these lands. Sidewalk Toronto is another name used to refer to this project.

Sidewalk Labs is in the process of preparing a Master Innovation and Development Plan or MIDP for Quayside. This plan will outline a vision for the Quayside site and make specific proposals in the areas of affordable housing, mobility, buildings, sustainability, public realm, community facilities, digital governance and data applications.

The City of Toronto is not a party to the Plan Development Agreement between Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs and will not be an author of the MIDP. City Staff are working with the two organizations to encourage the development of proposals that are consistent with applicable City policies and regulations. City of Toronto engagement in the project is managed by the Waterfront Secretariat in the City Planning division.

Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs are expected to present a draft MIDP to the public in the first half of 2019, and to submit a final MIDP to the City later in 2019. On receipt of the MIDP, City staff will review the plan and consult with the public and stakeholders, and will then report to Executive Committee and City Council with an analysis of the plan and associated recommendations. Public deputations will be heard at Committee.

The MIDP is anticipated to be a vision document, concept plan, and business case, not a formal planning application. City Council’s consideration of the MIDP represents one step in a larger review process, which, if pursued, would include various application and evaluation processes, each with their own opportunities for public input and requirements for Council approval. A determination of required regulatory processes will be part of the evaluation of the MIDP when it is submitted.

Quayside is a 12-acre area in the East Bayfront located at the foot of Parliament Street and Queens Quay Boulevard East, south of the Gardiner Expressway. Quayside is a prime development site, largely owned by Waterfront Toronto. The area also includes lands owned by the City of Toronto (1.5 acres), Ports Toronto and private landowners. The site consists of three development blocks with the following primary addresses: Quayside (259-291 Lake Shore Blvd. E., 200 Queens Quay W., 2 Small St.), Parliament Development Lands (307 Lake Shore Blvd. E, 3-15 Parliament St.) and 333 Lake Shore Blvd. E.

According to the Plan Development Agreement between Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs, the MIDP will also explore opportunities to implement certain technologies and innovations at a district-level scale (for example, district energy) within the Designated Waterfront Area, from Exhibition Place in the west to Leslie Street in the east.

Quayside Property Map
Quayside Property Map
Designated Waterfront Area Map
Designated Waterfront Area Map

Waterfront Toronto was established in 2001 by the governments of Canada, Ontario and Toronto to oversee the renewal of Toronto’s waterfront. Waterfront Toronto has a mandate to implement revitalization projects in the Designated Waterfront Area (DWA).

In 2017, Waterfront Toronto selected Sidewalk Labs as an “Innovation and Funding Partner” to develop a development vision and implementation strategies for Quayside. On July 31, 2018 Waterfront Toronto’s board approved a Plan Development Agreement (PDA) with Sidewalk Labs defining and governing the relationship between the two organizations in the development of a Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) for Quayside.

In January 2018, the Waterfront Secretariat led a staff report to Executive Committee describing the MIDP process and the City’s role.

The City of Toronto is not a party to the Plan Development Agreement (PDA) between Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs, and will not be an author of the MIDP.

City staff are providing preliminary comments on work in progress to encourage the development of proposals that are consistent with applicable City policies and regulations.

The City of Toronto’s involvement in this project is managed by the Waterfront Secretariat, part of the City Planning Division. The Waterfront Secretariat leads the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Initiative on behalf of the City, working with federal and provincial partners and Waterfront Toronto to ensure the right structures, agreements, and supports are in place to advance revitalization in the Designated Waterfront Area.

The roles and responsibilities of the City, Waterfront Toronto and the Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO, now CreateTO) in revitalizing the East Bayfront and the Port Lands are defined in a Memorandum of Understanding approved by City Council in 2006.

In addition to the City of Toronto’s authority on policy and regulatory matters, the City owns 1.5 acres of land within the Quayside site. Any use of City-owned lands will require Council approval, including approval of a Business and Implementation Plan.

Sidewalk Labs is currently preparing a draft MIDP for submission to Waterfront Toronto, targeted for the first half of 2019. Waterfront Toronto will evaluate the draft plan with input from the public, stakeholders and their government partners, including the City of Toronto.

The MIDP must be approved by the boards of Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs in order for the two organizations to pursue further implementation of the plan. If approved by these organizations, the MIDP will not replace existing plans, zoning and other regulations in place on the Quayside site or in the broader waterfront.

Once a final MIDP is submitted to the City of Toronto, the Waterfront Secretariat will work with other City staff to review the plan. The City’s review process will include public consultation. Following this review process, City staff will report to City Council’s Executive Committee with an analysis of the MIDP and associated recommendations. The public will have the opportunity to comment to the Committee in writing or in person. Based on the current schedule, City staff anticipate bringing the MIDP to Executive Committee and Council for consideration in late 2019.

To implement the MIDP, Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs will have to initiate various municipal application and evaluation processes, given the City’s role as a regulator, landowner, and provider of municipal infrastructure and services. The precise list of required regulatory processes will be determined when the MIDP is submitted. Going forward, many of these processes will require Council approvals and public processes, such as planning, building and environmental approvals, right-of-way permits, road closings, real estate transactions, and affordable housing agreements. Business proposals in the MIDP will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, subject to the City’s procurement policies.

Sidewalk Labs has proposed a “digital layer” as a fundamental component of Quayside. This would potentially involve data gathering through tools like sensors, cameras, and smartphone applications. Along with physical infrastructure such as computers and wireless networks, the digital layer would also consist of the software and services that use the data collected, as well as the government policies and private agreements that govern how information can be gathered, accessed, controlled and used.

Sidewalk Labs has released draft proposals with respect to data gathering and governance. These proposals will be examined by all three levels of government. As technologies continue to evolve, it is likely that many of these issues will arise in other projects. Many of the ideas expected in the MIDP would require government support to move forward, such as sensors on public streets, a civic data trust, and digital connections to City services. The City will examine technology proposals made in the MIDP in consultation with the public and relevant stakeholders. Proposed digital solutions involving the City of Toronto will be subject to the same processes used by the City to address all data and privacy issues.

The City addresses data and privacy issues from a number of perspectives including accountability, lifecycle management, and citizen engagement. Accountability for managing information at the City is shared between the City Clerk, the Chief Information Officer, and each of the heads of City divisions and offices. Robust processes that address information collection, use, and maintenance are designed to protect individual privacy. These processes also consider anonymization, de-identification, or aggregation options for publishing open data so that as much information as possible can be shared with the public. Other processes and authorities protect the authenticity and context of City information so that it remains trustworthy and reliable for as long as the City needs to retain it. These processes are all based on existing laws.

Learn more about the City’s information governance framework.

City of Toronto-led Consultations

The City of Toronto will host community consultation meetings on the Quayside Master Innovation and Development Plan, likely in the fall of 2019, to solicit public feedback on the plan. City-led public consultation on the MIDP will include specific meetings on data issues, pursuant to direction from the City’s Executive Committee in January of 2018 (EX30.9 – Sidewalk Toronto).

In addition, on February 26, 2019, Council directed staff to develop a City-wide public consultation process on data governance principles and proposed model to inform the implementation of the plan to be applied to Quayside and other smart city developments (MM3.2 – Data Governance and Smart Cities).

Information about the City-led public consultation opportunities described above will be posted here in the coming months. For further information, please contact Michael Noble, Project Manager at  416-397-4816 or Michael.noble@toronto.ca.

Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs Consultations

Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs are currently engaged in consultations to inform their planning. Details on these events are available on their websites.