Waterfront Toronto held Round Two public consultation on Saturday, February 29, 2020 to provide an update on the Quayside project.
Toronto is developing a comprehensive Digital Infrastructure Plan. For more information see the City’s Connected Community web page.
Quayside is a 4.8 hectare (12 acre) parcel of land on Toronto’s waterfront, located at Queens Quay Boulevard East and Parliament Street. Through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process, Waterfront Toronto engaged Sidewalk Labs to develop a proposal for these lands – called a Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP). 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 for the project is managed by the Waterfront Secretariat in the City Planning division.
In June 2019, Sidewalk Labs submitted their MIDP to Waterfront Toronto for review. On October 31, 2019, Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs agreed that Waterfront Toronto would evaluate a subset of the proposals based on the resolution of certain “threshold issues” that had been the subject of negotiation between Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs. On November 14, 2019, Sidewalk Labs released a “Digital Innovation Appendix (DIA)” providing updates to the MIDP which reflect the threshold issues resolution process described above as well as further detailed information on the digital innovation proposals and Sidewalk Labs’ approach to responsible data use.
The next major decision point for Waterfront Toronto’s Quayside project is expected in May 2020. Should Waterfront Toronto’s Board decide to move forward with Quayside, the City’s review and evaluation of the proposal would proceed as per the work plan presented to the City’s Executive Committee in June 2019. City staff would undertake a comprehensive review of the Quayside MIDP along with the related Waterfront Toronto Board decision, in consultation with relevant City Divisions and Agencies, and report back to the Executive Committee. Proposals related to digital infrastructure will be evaluated based on the City’s emerging Digital Infrastructure Plan. Evaluation would include a rigorous City-led public consultation process and staff report. Public meetings would be held throughout the City and will be webcast. The timing of the Quayside report to the Executive Committee would likely be in the fall of 2020.
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.
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 the 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 of 2018, the Deputy City Manager submitted a staff report to Executive Committee describing the MIDP process and the City’s role.
In June of 2019, the Deputy City Manager submitted a staff report to Executive Committee to provide an update on the Quayside project. The update describes Waterfront Toronto’s decision-making process for the MIDP, a proposed work plan for the City’s review of the MIDP, as well as progress on a City-wide digital infrastructure policy framework and governance model, to be used in reviewing the MIDP.
In January 2020, the Chief Technology Officer, Technology Services Division submitted a Digital Infrastructure Plan – Update staff report to the Executive Committee. The report provided an update on the work that has been done to develop a Digital Infrastructure Plan (DIP) for the City of Toronto. The DIP will serve as an evaluation tool for external proposals with digital elements, such as those related to Quayside.
Specifically, the report included:
The recommendations (as amended) were unanimously adopted by Council on January 29th, 2020. The next report is anticipated in early 2021.
The City of Toronto is not a party to the Plan Development Agreement (PDA) between Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs.
City staff provide preliminary comments on work in progress with the goal of:
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.
In June 2019, Sidewalk Labs submitted their Draft Master Innovation Development Plan (MIDP) to Waterfront Toronto for review. It included specific proposals related to sustainability, buildings, public realm, mobility, economic development, housing affordability, social infrastructure, and digital infrastructure and data governance.
Feedback from public consultations in July 2019 and from the Waterfront Toronto Board identified several “threshold issues” that would need to be resolved between Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs if the MIDP was going to be evaluated. On October 31, 2019,Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs resolved the threshold issues and agreed on distinct roles for the parties.
Since that time, Waterfront Toronto has undertaken a technical evaluation of Sidewalk Labs’ proposals and are holding public and stakeholder consultations.
On May 20, 2020, Waterfront Toronto’s Board will decide whether to move forward with this proposal and partner with Sidewalk Labs and, if so, how.
Should Waterfront Toronto’s Board decide to move forward with Quayside, the City’s review and evaluation of the proposal would proceed as per the work plan presented to the Executive Committee in June 2019 (EX 6.1), including:
As described in the June 2019 report (EX 6.1), City staff would assess the proposals in the MIDP as per the following:
The following criteria would be used to evaluate the MIDP:
The solutions proposed by Sidewalk Labs include several that use emerging technologies. Waterfront Toronto refers to these solutions as being “digitally enabled” and defines such as solutions as: “Digitally enabled solutions collect, process, and/or use data about the physical environment around them to improve urban interaction.”
As noted above, Toronto is developing a comprehensive Digital Infrastructure Plan (DIP) that will serve as an evaluation tool for external proposals with digital elements, such as those related to Quayside.
In January, 2020, City Council direct the City Manager to ensure that any proposal submitted to the City prior to such time as the Digital Infrastructure Plan has been adopted by City Council must be in compliance with all five of the Digital Infrastructure Plan Working Principles, in addition to all existing policies, standards, and processes, as a condition of approval of the proposal.
The five Working Principles are:
For more information on the Digital Infrastructure Plan, visit the City’s Connected Communities page.
City of Toronto-led Consultations
In December of 2019 the City of Toronto held public consultation sessions to collect feedback on the Digital Infrastructure Plan.
Additional consultations on both the Digital Infrastructure Plan and the Quayside project are anticipated in 2020.
Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs Consultations
Waterfront Toronto is currently engaged in consultations to inform their planning.
Details on these events are available on their website.
Council Considerations and Decisions
Applicable Planning Policy
City of Toronto built form and development guidelines (Complete Streets Guidelines, City-wide Tall Building Design Guidelines, Toronto Green Standard, etc.)
Waterfront Toronto / Sidewalk Labs Documents
Open Letter on Threshold Issue Resolution from Waterfront Toronto’s Board Chair – October 31, 2019
Plan Development Agreement – July 31, 2018, renewed September 2019,
Amended December 2019 and January 2020.