Waterfront Toronto, East Bayfront - Toronto, Canada
As part of a massive effort to transform and revitalize Toronto's waterfront, the East Bayfront neighborhood is an excellent example of sustainable urban design and multi-use public infrastructure. Industrial land is being rebuilt into an urban beach, lakefront promenade, public parks, and mixeduse developments. The revitalization is intended to showcase Toronto's "front porch," stimulate economic investment, create jobs, build communities, and improve the city's standard of living. East Bayfront also includes a new multi-use stormwater treatment facility. Part infrastructure, part landscape, and part art, the new facility brings water treatment into the public view. Serving as a model for community development worldwide, East Bayfront has achieved Stage 1 gold certification under the LEED-ND (neighborhood development) pilot program developed by the US Green Building Council.
Habitat and Environment
The most visible component of environmental stewardship in East Bayfront is the new stormwater management and treatment facility. Tanks beneath the boardwalk collect runoff after a storm event. The water is then transferred to a large tank under the Parliament wave deck for initial treatment. The tank and wave deck include an artificial wetland and open water portals to allow natural light to reach and treat the water. The stormwater is then conveyed to the Sherbourne Common UV Purification Facility located underneath the park's pavilion. After the treatment process is complete, the water rises nearly 30 feet into one of three sculptures and falls gracefully into the water channel, where it then flows back to Lake Ontario.
New fish habitat has been created along the stormwater management tanks beneath the boardwalk as well. River-stone shoals, embankments, and tree logs provide new shelter and improved foraging opportunities for lake fish. This aquatic habitat enhancement contributed to Waterfront Toronto's win of the Public Sector Quality Fair award.
Twenty-five percent of East Bayfront's land is dedicated to parks and public spaces, and three parks and plazas are open today: Canada's Sugar Beach, the water's edge promenade, and Sherbourne Common. Canada's Sugar Beach was a former parking lot serving the industrial site. Now, the beach boasts whimsical urban furniture, gorgeous lake views, a granite promenade, and a multi-functional plaza for festivals, performances, events, and casual strolling. The water's edge promenade consists of a crushed granite multi-use path with a parallel but slightly lower wood boardwalk. Surrounding the walk is a French-style allée created by rows of maturing maple trees, sheltering pedestrians from wind and sun. In 2010, the first 885 feet of promenade opened to the public, connecting Canada's Sugar Beach to Sherbourne Common. Eventually, the promenade and a wooden boardwalk built over the stormwater tanks will run the entire length of East Bayfront.
Sherbourne Common is a local park for East Bayfront and a regional amenity welcoming visitors from around the world. The new stormwater management system is central to this park, with the UV treatment facility, the waterfall sculptures, and the water channel connecting to Lake Ontario. The park's north side includes small, quiet places for relaxation, play, and small events. The south side's ample space allows for festivals, concerts, and other large city events overlooking the lake. Public input was a major factor in the design of the park, and the park's name "Sherbourne Common" was chosen after a sixweek public naming contest.
Design and Construction
Sustainable design and construction are major components of the East Bayfront development. As a result, the neighborhood has achieved Stage 1 Gold certification under the LEED-ND pilot program, one of the first in the world. Best management practices include recycled construction materials, easy access to public transportation, brownfield site revitalization, bicycle storage, and on-site stormwater management. Design details add to the overall site function. Open water portals in the wave deck allow UV light treatment of the stormwater below, while a web of rigid boxes filled with soil under the pavement (Silva cells) promote tree growth.
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