On Tuesday April 25th, the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) unveiled a new conceptual masterplan to redevelop Etobicoke's 684-acre Woodbine Racetrack lands. Already an established tourist destination, the racetrack located at the city limits just northeast of Toronto Pearson International Airport—tucked between Highway 27, Rexdale Boulevard and Highway 427—could become a more animated destination.
Building on a series of scrapped proposals to expand the site's operations—a casino was previously touted—the new proposal of this site calls for what's optimistically described as "a city within a city concept." Adding retail, residential, office space, hotels, and post-secondary education, as well as health and wellness facilities, the Woodbine Racetrack would also continue to operate as a horse-racing venue, while filling out the site with a much more diverse mix of uses.
However, while the preliminary renderings depict a lively entertainment hub, fleshed out details of the site's programming and urban design are not yet available. As it stands, the news release describes only an eclectivly mixed-use project comprised of "multiple seamlessly integrated districts."
Some 200 acres of the site would continue to be given over to horse-racing, which will remain the facility's marquee focus (as it stands, some 2,000 horses are stabled at Woodbine). The existing 'Slots at Woodbine Racetrack' site will also continue to operate as a casino, with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) currently seeking a private sector provider (set to be named later this year) to "propose an expanded entertainment development," according to the release.
Developed for WEG by LiveWorkPlayLearn (LWLP), the master-planning process involved numerous planning and design firms, including SWA Group, BCV Architects, and Nelson Nygaard, with additional consultation provided by IBI Group and Walker Nott Dragicevic.
While the northwest reaches of Etobicoke are not exactly a hotbed of new development and urban intensification (by Toronto standards, at least), the recently announced Pearson Transit Hub could dramatically alter the surrounding context, creating what's being dubbed as a 'Union Station West' for the GTA. For the Woodbine lands, the new transit hub—which remains unfunded—could provide a boon to the site, creating a much more accessible destination to support the ambitious mix of uses being touted.
We will return with more updates as more information becomes available, and the project takes shape. In the meantime, further information is available via our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.
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