East of Downtown Toronto, the former industrial lands of the Unilever site are set to transform into a robust commercial district recently dubbed the East Harbour. Promising an ambitious combination of office space and retail, the 60-acre site will also be home to a multi-modal transit hub, which—as the City has recently revealed—is set to include a Relief Line Station. Although First Gulf's East Harbour community is still a largely conceptual plan, preliminary renderings offer a suggestive glimpse of the community to come. With no architects officially affiliated with the East Harbour development as of yet, the renderings seen here depict a very preliminary schematic.

First look at transit hub and commercial developments at East Harbour image via First look at transit hub and commercial developments at East Harbour, image via First Gulf

While the images do not necessarily indicate what will be built, they provide insight into the development's general direction, with important clues to the project's features. In particular, the rendering seen above depicts a multi-modal transit station that boasts the uncommon engineering feat of being built on a curve. Though the striking design may not reflect the eventual station, the concept seen above is reinforced by the Relief Line documents recently presented by the City. 

A TTC/City image showing the proposed station, photo by UT Forum contributor AleA TTC/City image showing the proposed station, photo by UT Forum contributor Alex Glista

Running east-west, the TTC's relief line station is now tentatively planned along Eastern Avenue. While the TTC station itself maintains a straight alignment, the proposed SmartTrack / GO RER station takes on the curve of the rail tracks as they turn northeast. In the image above, the GO station also spans across the Don Valley, potentially providing a valuable additional entry point to the west.

TTC station and mobility hub at East Harbour image via First GulfTTC station and mobility hub at East Harbour, image via First Gulf

If executed to its fullest potential, the East Harbour transit hub will accommodate the proposed Relief Line Subway as well as SmartTrack/ GO RER, connecting the subway with the Lake Shore East and Stouffville GO lines, as well as an extended Broadview streetcar and a potential LRT.

Transit hub at East Harbour, image via First GulfTransit hub at East Harbour, image via First Gulf

Conceived as one of the largest commercial developments in Canadian history, East Harbour will boast 10 million square feet of office space and 2 million square feet of retail. Once completed, the 20-structure development is projected to employ approximately 50,000 people, accommodating the growing employment needs posed by Toronto's fast-paced population growth.

The site highlighted in its current state, image via First GulfThe site highlighted in its current state, image via First Gulf

First Gulf is also experimenting with the idea of creating showcase retail shops, wherein the need for stock rooms would be eliminated and shoppers could scan items for purchase and have the items delivered to their doorsteps. To further optimize efficiency in the community, the entire neighbourhood will be completely digitalized and heavily wired with an extensive fibre-optic network. 

Retail space at East Harbour, image via First GulfRetail space at East Harbour, image via First Gulf

The developers are also exploring ways to make East Harbour a carbon-neutral neighbourhood, largely forgoing the use of fossil fuels to maximize sustainability. As reported in the Toronto Star, First Gulf is even exploring ways to accommodate driver-less cars, evidencing a long-term vision for the development. The site's commercial activities are projected to bring in around $1.4 billion in annual tax revenue to the city. 

We will keep you updated on the progression of the development at East Harbour as the information becomes available. In the meantime, check out our associated dataBase files for more information. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment below, or contribute to the ongoing discussions on the associated Forum thread.