The City of Toronto’s collaborative project with Waterfront Toronto at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park site has started to materialize at the base of Bay Street. Following Waterfront Toronto’s 2014 design competition to develop a Master Plan for reworking the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park, the win was awarded to the Harbour Landing proposal, conceived by the team of KPMB Architects, West 8 and Greenberg Consultants Inc. 

Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, KPMB, West 8, GreenbergView facing north, images retrieved via submission to City of Toronto

This project is multi-phase in nature, with additional phases of construction to come as funding becomes available. The Jack Layton Ferry Terminal project will improve the visitor’s experience with improved amenities and infrastructure to accommodate those who use the ferries. Upon completion, the redeveloped waterfront park and ferry terminal will have visually and materially enhanced connectivity, and accessibility between the city, waterfront, and the island. On May 12th, phase one of the multi-phase Master Plan was construction was suspended to permit uninterrupted public access to the Toronto Island Park during the busy summer season. The first phase of work entails improvements to the access from Queens Quay to the existing terminal. 

Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, KPMB, West 8, GreenbergView of the waterfront promenade, image retrieved via submission to City of Toronto

A motion brought forward by Toronto Ward 28 Councillor and Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell in April 2017, only months before her death, increased funding from the City, and expanded plans for phase 1A, including a reconfigured cobblestone walkway leading to the ticket booths, Waterfront Toronto’s signature wooden lighting fixtures used elsewhere in the area, a new way-finding system inspired by a nautical theme, and some greenspace landscaped with varying slopes and incorporate seating and having defined borders.

Phase 1A's walkway incorporates the use of a soil cell system in the tree planting process, now used frequently in City of Toronto projects that include new landscaping. You may know that trees have been found to grow much more quickly when planted in soil cells, which allow for larger planting beds and prevent the compaction of the soil in them. It is possible you may not know that the cells also provide stormwater treatment: the cells hold a bio-retention mix that help remove some pollutants from stormwater run-off. The cells also retain some of the excess stormwater, which helps prevent it from being washed into the lake. 

Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, KPMB, West 8, GreenbergView of a promenade in Harbour Square Park, image retrieved via submission to City of Toronto

Work will resume on this site in the fall as crowds drop again. In the meantime, the City continues to allocate funding for the additional phases of Jack Layton Terminal and Harbour Square Park’s redevelopment by utilizing the Section 37 provision of the Ontario Planning Act. Section 37 says that if a development exceeds zoning by-laws, the developer can make an agreement with the municipal government to provide or pay for community benefit for the ward in return. In this case, $6 million will be invested into subsequent phases of the project thanks to the financial contributions made by the proprietors of the following projects: CIBC Square phase two ($4M), Pinnacle One Yonge phase two ($1M), and the Sugar Wharf second phase condo development ($1M). The redevelopment of the terminal will require more funds from yet-to-be-identified future local projects.

Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, KPMB, West 8, GreenbergView of completed promenade linking park and terminal, image retrieved via forum submission by MetroMan

Additional information and images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.