Every second year the City of Toronto holds a competition that recognizes the significant contribution that architects, landscape architects, urban designers, artists, design students, and city builders make to Toronto's livability. While looks enter into the equation, it's how a project works at ground level, how it opens up to its surroundings, and how it greets the pedestrian that really matter for the Toronto Urban Design Awards.

It's up to the companies involved in a project to submit it for consideration. This year there were 125 submissions over the seven categories. The submissions are considered by a jury of five. This year's jurists were

  • Marianne McKenna, OAA, OAQ, FRAIC, AIA, OC. Founding Partner, KPMB Architects
  • Cecelia Paine, FCSLA, OALA, FASLA. Professor of Landscape Architecture and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, University of Guelph
  • Jeremy Sturgess, MAAA, FRAIC, RCA. Principal, Sturgess Architecture
  • Eric Turcotte, MCIP, RPP, OAA, OAQ, LEED AP BD + C. Partner, Urban Strategies Inc.
  • Matthew Blackett, Publisher & Creative Director of Spacing

The jury is not required to grant any particular number of awards, nor necessarily grant awards in every category. It's not a gold-silver-bronze system: the top awards are classified as awards of excellence, those for which the jury has nothing but enthusiasm, while other projects deserving of recognition receive an award of merit. Jury members give special consideration to the broad goals of Toronto's Official Plan, including urban design projects that support accessibility, integration and preservation of heritage resources, environmental sustainability, and public art.

The primary criteria for assessing the merit of entries will be:

  • Positive contribution to the public realm/quality of place
  • Successful integration with surrounding urban fabric (both urban and suburban contexts)
  • Demonstration of fulfilling a clearly articulated urban design intent
  • Precedent setting for a project of its type through major innovation and/or design excellence
  • Exemplary application of the City of Toronto's Urban Design Guideline documents
  • Positive contribution to a sustainable environment, including enhancement of pedestrian, cycling, and transit infrastructure and application of the Toronto Green Standard

Over the coming month this year's winners will be on display at civic centres across Toronto, and we will return to look more closely at some of the winners, but today we present the whole list for you to consider.


A stand-alone object, public art installation, landscape element or small-scale piece of a building which contributes significantly to the quality of the public realm. Submissions may include, but are not limited to: benches, doorways, signage, canopies, porches or colonnades, gateways, light fixtures, walkways, stairways, barrier-free access, fences and works of art.

  • Award of Excellence: Shangri-La / Momofuku Toronto
  • Award of Merit: Pottery Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Crossing
  • Award of Merit: The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Elements: Shangri-La / Momofuku Toronto


An individual building or a composition of buildings, that achieve(s) urban design excellence and is precedent setting for a project of its type through its relationship to the public realm, pedestrian amenity, detailing and massing, and the natural environment.

All types of buildings are eligible whether "landmark" or "background," new construction or a restoration/transformation. Projects in both urban and suburban contexts are considered.

The Building in Context category consists of three sub-categories that reflect a range of scales.


A low-scale project is four storeys or less, notwithstanding its land use. Submissions may include, but are not limited to: multi-family residential uses such as low-rise apartments and townhouse developments; and retail, office, mixed-use or industrial facilities on main streets and arterials. This category previously included single-family dwellings (e.g. houses) which are no longer eligible for entry.

  • Award of Excellence: Mjölk House
  • Award of Excellence: Noble Street Studios
  • Award of Merit: 38 Lesmill
  • Award of Merit: Linea Bayview Townhomes
  • Award of Merit: Native Child and Family Life Centre

Private Buildings in Context — Low Scale: Linea on Bayview


A mid-rise building is generally taller than four storeys, but no taller than the width of the adjacent street right-of-way (i.e. typically between 5 and 11 storeys). Submissions may include, but are not limited to: mixed-use "Avenue" buildings, small apartment/condo buildings, commercial and industrial buildings.

  • Award of Excellence: CUBE Lofts
  • Award of Merit: Art Condominiums

Private Buildings in Context — Mid-Rise: Art Condominiums


Tall buildings are generally those higher than than the street right-of-way they are situated on is wide. While there were four submissions in this category, there were no awards granted. The awards are not a comment on a building's architecture. Submissions were the Four Seasons, Shangri-La, 130 Bloor Street West, and Trump.


An individual building or a composition of buildings, with a primary function to serve the public and/or is largely accessible to the public. Public Buildings are focal points for communities of various sizes, from small neighbourhoods to a national body. Submissions should demonstrate urban design and architectural excellence through a relationship to the public realm, pedestrian amenity, detailing and massing, the natural environment and sustainable design.

In this category, all building scales are eligible (low-scale, mid-rise and tall), as well as new construction and restoration/transformation. Buildings in both urban and suburban contexts will be considered.

Submissions may include, but are not limited to: education, health care, recreation, cultural, community and civic buildings.

  • Award of Excellence: 11Division - Toronto Police Service
  • Award of Excellence: Mount Dennis Library Renovation
  • Award of Excellence: Regent Park Aquatic Centre
  • Award of Excellence: St. James Cathedral Centre
  • Award of Excellence: Victoria Park Bus Terminal Replacement
  • Award of Merit: Centre of Excellence for French-Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education
  • Award of Merit: George Brown College Waterfront Campus
  • Award of Merit: Maple Leaf Gardens Award of Merit: North Toronto Collegiate Institute Redevelopment
  • Award of Merit: Ryerson Image Centre / School of Image Arts

Public Buildings in Context: Regent Park Aquatic Centre


A small open space, generally related to and defined by adjacent buildings or natural/built elements, which provides an extension and addition to the public realm in an exemplary way. The small open space need not be publicly owned, but must be publicly accessible.  Submissions may include, but are not limited to: courtyards, plazas, forecourts, gardens, trails, mews and small neighbourhood parks.

  • Award of Merit: Dundas Street West Parkettes

Small Open Spaces: Dundas Street West Parkettes


A design plan for a new or renovated large-scale area of the city. The project must be completed to such extent to allow the jury to clearly understand and evaluate the plan. The submissions in this category should clearly state the existing conditions and demonstrate how City objectives for establishing a clear public structure of streets, parks, open spaces and building sites are met.

The submission should also highlight major areas of innovation, particularly those related to infrastructure, environmental management and sustainable design, as well as provide evidence of community involvement and acceptance.

Submissions may include, but are not limited to: large parks, area/district plans, neighbourhood plans, Transit Oriented Developments (TODs), subdivisions, industrial parks, campus plans and streetscapes. Both urban and suburban contexts will be considered.

  • Award of Excellence: Evergreen Brick Works
  • Award of Merit: Sherbourne Common

Large Places or Neighbourhood Designs: Evergreen Brick Works


Unexecuted visions for the city, studies and master plans of high inspirational value with the potential for significant impact on Toronto's development. Submissions in this category may include but are not limited to: theoretical and visionary projects, as well as any project fitting the description of Large Places or Neighbourhood Designs that is unbuilt.

  • Award of Excellence: John Street - Toronto’s Red Carpet
  • Award of Merit: The Green Line Vision

Visions and Master Plans: John Street — Toronto's Red Carpet


Students in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture and other design programs are invited to submit theoretical or studio projects relating to Toronto

  • Award of Merit: An Architecture of Civility
  • Award of Merit: In Search of Place

Student Projects: An Architecture of Civility


This is not a category, and not something that happens often.

  • Market 707

Special Jury Award: Market 707

We will be back to take a closer look at many of these projects, whether or not we included a photo in today's story. Congratulations to all of the winners! A display of the winning entries will take place at City Hall and three of Toronto's civic centres on the following dates:

September 16 to 20: Toronto City Hall Rotunda
September 23 to 27: Scarborough Civic Centre Rotunda
September 30 to October 4: Etobicoke Civic Centre
October 7 to 11: North York Civic Centre

UrbanToronto has dataBase entries for some of the awarded projects; they are linked below. If you have comments about any of the projects covered here, please leave them in the space provided below!

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