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Ontario Construction News staff writer
Toronto held a ground-breaking event last Tuesday to launch phase two construction of the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan (BQNP).
Project partners and stakeholders gathered to officially open a new water’s edge promenade and rebuilt dock wall along the central waterfront’s Western Channel. As part of the announcement, the City of Toronto also officially launched the next construction phase for the BQNP, which includes the transformation of a vacant office building into a new waterfront arts and cultural hub, and rehabilitation and restoration of the heritage-designated Canada Malting silos.
Since the project was approved in 2017, the city been leading a multi-project, multi-partner effort, including multiple divisions, with funding and project delivery from external partners such as the Canada Ireland Foundation, Ports Toronto, the Waterfront BIA, Toronto District School Board and the Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre. The project will bring improvements to the surrounding Bathurst Quay neighbourhood, as well as to the historic Canada Malting property.
Phase one of construction for the BQNP project broke ground in October 2019 and was completed in early 2021, including environmental approvals and remediation, more space for public use, reducing the footprint of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, critical dock wall reconstruction and a new water’s edge public promenade along the south edge of the property.
The next phase of construction will begin this fall and includes two significant revitalization projects, both expected to be complete by 2023:
- Rehabilitating and restoring the heritage-designated Canada Malting silos. This work includes creating a pedestrian “portal” through the silos, containing an interpretive installation on the history and significance of these heritage-designated structures, as well as enabling investments (such as restored hydro connection, water-proofing, and other repairs) in the structures to support their future planned re-use and activation.
- Repurposing a derelict office building on the site into the “Corleck Building” — a new waterfront hub for arts and culture to be operated by the non-profit Canada Ireland Foundation, a long-standing partner to the City in creating commemorative parks and open spaces.
“When the Corleck Building opens in spring 2023, it will become a vibrant hub for arts, culture and heritage on Toronto’s waterfront. The Corleck Building will present new opportunities for the Irish-Canadian community to explore its deep roots and to engage with the many diverse cultures that enrich the city today,” said Robert Kearns, founder and chair of the Canada Ireland Foundation.
“The Canada Ireland Foundation is grateful to the City of Toronto for the tremendous ongoing partnership, beginning with the creation of Ireland Park in 2007, and continuing with the opening of Grasett Park earlier this year — and now with the development of The Corleck Building and the revitalization of Eireann Quay.”
The third and final construction phase – set to begin in summer 2022 – includes building a significant new waterfront plaza on the malting property that will include seating areas by the water’s edge, purposefully-designed spaces for hosting occasional special events, and ambient lighting that can transform the malting silos into iconic waterfront beacons.
“This Bathurst Quay waterfront project has been an enormous undertaking dating back many years. I am thrilled about the progress that’s been made so far and applaud the efforts made by all of our partners who all share the same goal of improving our city’s waterfront,” concluded Mayor John Tory.
“While we move forward in our next phase of construction, residents and visitors are able to continue to enjoy many parts of our beloved waterfront including new and improved facilities.”
The waterfront “opportunities for community space, which will only be increased as we begin the transformation on an empty office building into a new arts and cultural hub,” said Councillor Joe Cressy. “Along with the restoration of the historic Canada Malting silos, the City of Toronto and our local partners are helping to transform Bathurst Quay into a vibrant waterfront destination.”