From concept renderings, ideas for the Woodbine Racetrack Development have evolved into rezoning and site plan approval submissions to the City of Toronto from the Woodbine Entertainment Group. The future of the 684-acre site has been highly discussed, with early concepts considered by the Design Review Panel in late 2017. Architectural plans and renderings by Chris Dikeakos Architects Inc. and CGL Architects for the first phase are now in the public record, showcasing the entertainment hub the horse racing facility could become. If approved, the site would see development of retail, office, hotel and entertainment venues connected by outdoor landscaped areas, walking paths, and parking, all while retaining the existing grandstand building and famed racetrack.

Looking south to retail space and hotel, image via Woodbine Entertainment Group

The current submission includes only the Block 9 and Block 10 portions of the “master plan”— areas located just north of the existing racetrack on either side of Queens Plate Drive, the main entrance way. Details regarding the development of an “urban village” on the northwestern part of the site are still under review, with the southern portion of the site—occupied by equestrian facilities for the race track—to remain as is. 

Looking west to new outdoor walking circle, image via Woodbine Entertainment Group

Mimicking the shape of the racetrack, a new central walking circle would create an outdoor plaza area, with new trees and seating connecting the space to the existing grandstand building. To the north on the west side of Queens Plate Drive, Block 9 would see a mix of new retail, landscaped areas, and at-grade parking. Construction of four retail buildings, ranging between 1 and 3 storeys, would add 6,440m² of shopping to the site. Two buildings would front on Queens Plate Drive, two would be front the new walking circle, and be linked by a covered exterior walkway with exposed wood beams. Landscaped walking paths connect the shops to a 131-space surface parking lot located further north. 

Exterior walkway of Buildings C and C2, image via Woodbine Entertainment Group

Just east of this, Block 10 would contain the largest buildings in the redevelopment, totalling 98,556m² over the 5 new facilities. The northern portion of this site would contain a 10,647m² 3-storey performance venue. Connected south of this will be a 48,343m² 2-storey entertainment building containing a casino with retail and restaurants, bars and lounges, along with 2-storey retail and casino administration offices. 

Looking south to performance venue image via Woodbine Entertainment Group

Mirror image 12-storey hotel towers would connect to the south of the site and existing grandstand building, containing 419 rooms and 547 rooms respectively. The hotel overlooks the racetrack.

Looking northwest to hotel, image via Woodbine Entertainment Group

A 7-level garage would separate the hotel and entertainment space from 9,492m² of additional single-storey retail. A total of 4,350 parking spaces would be available, with 1,240 of these below the entertainment building. Although the site is largely covered by new construction, 39,826m² is proposed as landscaped areas, surrounding the buildings and leading up to the entrances. A green roof is proposed to cover 60% of the roof surface area of the 5 buildings.

In addition to the rezoning and site plan applications, the City is currently reviewing an application for expansion of gaming services which would allow table gaming in the existing racetrack building.

Dubbed by its proponents as “a city within a city”, Woodbine Racetrack is a big step closer to becoming the future entertainment hub of northwest Toronto. We will keep you updated as further details emerge, but in the meantime, you can get in on the discussion by checking out the associated Forum thread, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  CGL Architects Inc., Doka Canada Ltd./Ltee, IBI Group, Ontario Panelization, RWDI Consulting Engineers and Scientists, WND Associates Ltd, WZMH Architects