Ferry terminal to get facelift: redesign competition underway

Images courtesy of Waterfront Toronto. (Some via the City of Toronto Archives.)

Ferry Terminal to get a facelift: redesign competition underway

Public display at City Hall mid-March

The Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park are the subject of a new design competition. The innovative competition intends to set a vision for the revitalization of the ferry terminal. It will also result in upgrades to the adjacent Harbour Square Park.

Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto have invited creative design professionals from around the world to develop bold new concepts for this important gateway to the Toronto Islands. In total, thirty-three design teams from twelve countries submitted proposals outlining their qualifications.

Last month, the top five design proposals were chosen to move to the next level. The public will have the opportunity to review these design proposals at City Hall mid-March and provide feedback.

The five shortlisted teams are:

  • Clement Blanchet Architecture (Paris) + Batlle│Roig (Barcelona) + RVTR (Toronto and Ann Arbor)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York City), architectsAlliance (Toronto)
  • KPMB Architects (Toronto), West 8 (Rotterdam), Greenberg Consultants (Toronto)
  • Quadrangle Architects (Toronto), aLLDesign (London), Janet Rosenberg & Studio (Toronto)
  • Stoss Landscape Urbanism (Boston), nARCHITECTS (New York City), ZAS Architects (Toronto)

Read the announcement from Waterfront Toronto here.

The area highlighted in purple is the redesign zone.

This competition provides an opportunity for a larger discussion with local stakeholders and Torontonians about what the long-term vision should be for the area. Creating master plans with broad public support also helps make funding for revitalization projects like this more of a priority.

Seizing the chance to have their say in the redesign, the Toronto Island Community Association (TICA) cycling committee wrote a letter to councillor Pam McConnell, whose ward includes the harbour and the island, asking that bicycle infrastructure be a key component of any ferry terminal redesign. The committee's letter went on to suggest three things to help make this happen: Physically separated bike paths allowing cyclists safe access to the ferry; a prominent Bike Share station; and widened ferry terminal gates to accommodate bicycle trailers.

TICA reminded the councillor that cycling is an important facet of island community life, and is the main way islanders commute to the mainland for groceries and household supplies.

According to the City of Toronto website, the terminal at the end of Bay Street is used by nearly 1.3 million people every year. Despite currently being drab and unwelcoming, it has the potential to become one of Toronto's signature public spaces on prime waterfront real estate. The design competition hopes to realize that potential.

Overall, the competition's main priorities are improving the queuing areas and the park area, connecting the terminal with other destinations like the Martin Goodman Trail, and redesigning the area in a fully sustainable way. We at dandyhorse are hopeful that each design keeps bikes front of mind.

The public will be invited to review the designs and provide input for four days in March, with presentations by the designers at City Hall. dandyhorse will be there to report on the event.

Stay tuned to the dandy or Waterfront TO blogs for more info.

In the meantime, here are some super cool old images of the ferry terminal over the years, starting with an aerial overview. Enjoy!






And what it looks like today:


Note: Big queues and bottlenecks are not a new phenomenon at the Toronto ferry terminal. Hopefully, the redesign will help mitigate these massive line ups that are commonplace on busy weekends.

For more information, check out the Waterfront Toronto story about the design competition launch here.

Related on the dandyBLOG:

Cargo bike Bike Spotting

dandyCommute: Toronto Islands (Algonquin Island) to U of T

Cyclist detour for Toronto's waterfront during Queen's Quay reconstruction

Ontario Place to get new waterfront park

dandyARCHIVE: Thank you Jack (tribute to Jack Layton)

dandyARCHIVE: CMWC 2008 on the Toronto Islands

dandyARCHIVE: The long road to a bike path (story of the Martin Goodman Trail)

Tammy and Colleen’s Great Waterfront Trail Adventure

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