Port Lands Acceleration Initiative

Toronto, Ontario

Waterfront Toronto / City of Toronto / Toronto and Region Conservation Authority



The firm led the urban design and landscape study for the Port Lands Acceleration Initiative (PLAI). The Port Lands are a unique and valuable asset for the City of Toronto, both to advance its status s a dynamic global city and to create a great new waterfront district.The PLAI study focused on identifying a financially viable strategy to realize the full potential of the 840 acre site. The costs of flood protection and required infrastructure for future development are a challenge. The study identified ways to phase the revitalization process and involved a review of the Lower Don Lands Planning Framework and proposed changes to the plan to the renaturalized river. Outcomes of the study have included:

  • an updated open space framework, including the phasing of the construction of a naturalized river mouth tied to development and flood phasing;
  • the identification of precincts including the character and density associated with each precinct, requirements for parks and other community facilities within the plan area;
  • a mobility plan; and,
  • infrastructure requirements and phasing.

A significant public consultation process was undertaken as part of this review; it included four well-attended public meetings, web-based information and outreach. Two working groups were established: a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) comprising area and City-wide residents associations and a diverse range of environmental, business and public interest groups; and a Landowners and Users Advisory Committee (LUAC) comprising Port Lands landowners, tenants and users of the Port of Toronto.
In addition, many groups and individuals were consulted separately over the course of the study.

The steps to advance the recommendations of the Port Lands review involve the finalisation of the DMNP EA, the adoption of the modified plan through the appropriate planning mechanisms, the initiation of detailed precinct planning throughout the Port Lands and the establishment of landowners groups to formalise cost sharing strategies.

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We undertake site analysis studies, from site scale up to secondary plan scales.  We work with developers and public agencies such as Build Toronto and Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation to complete due diligence and Highest and Best Use Studies for their lands. 
We develop community sustainability plans, environmental management plans and climate change adaptation plans for public, private and non-profit sectors.We have focused extensively on the displacement and resettlement of communities affected by natural disasters, wars, conflicts and poverty.
We plan and design multi-modal transit hubs and corridors including station area plans, LRT corridors, transit stations and border crossings. We take a systems approach to the planning and design of infrastructure, integrating multiple development priorities while preserving and enhancing the quality of the overall landscape. Key projects include the Fort Erie Gateway Master Plan and the Allen District Urban Guidelines & District Plan.
We have a long history of planning and designing the public realm of cities, including streets, building facades, public places, the space between buildings and open spaces. Our team has pioneered significant aspects of the “complete streets” concept, demonstrated through landmark projects like the St. George Street Revitalization, the Bloor Street Transformation and the Six Point Interchange Reconstruction.