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Media Release

Board of Trade Launches New Report Calling for Collaborative Approach to Developing Toronto’s Waterfront

TORONTO – May 28, 2024 — Toronto’s waterfront needs a coalition of organizations to come together to support cohesive development and connectivity says the Toronto Region Board of Trade in a new report Ripple Effect: Unlocking Toronto’s Waterfront Potential, released today.

In the report, developed in collaboration with the Business of Cities, the Board takes a critical look at what we need to ensure our waterfront—from Ontario Place to the Port Lands—is developed in an ambitious and strategic way to galvanize the future prosperity of the city and region.

“This ten-kilometer stretch of land has the potential to dramatically redefine and transform our city’s economic and cultural landscape for generations, yet it is often forgotten as an economic driver, let alone a supercharger. Businesses in the district already generate $13 billion annually to Ontario’s GDP, with over 100,000 more jobs and residents to be added in the coming years. We need to make the right moves to ensure it is successful for business, residents and visitors alike,” said Giles Gherson, President & CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

“This welcome report recognizes that we must consider investments in the Toronto waterfront not as a sunk cost, but as smart spending on assets that will benefit generations to come,” said George Zegarac, President & CEO, Waterfront Toronto. “The private sector, philanthropists, governments and their agencies must come together to make our new waterfront and city globally competitive and world class.”

The report offers two fast track recommendations to unlock the waterfront’s potential: a series of projects to improve connectivity with the rest of the city, and a “team waterfront” approach to develop this critical asset and halt the “patchwork” approach seen thus far. Furthermore, the report outlines nine principles to transform this area based on global best practices used in other prominent waterfront cities, like Sydney and London.

“The waterfront has been very fortunate to have so many investors and partners bringing it to its current state, including all three levels of government and organizations like Harbourfront Centre, the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and The Bentway operating here,” said Tim Kocur, Executive Director of the Waterfront BIA and sponsor of the report. “At this point in the area’s development, it’s time for a conversation about how all these assets can best complement each other and become known around the world as a premier destination, because that’s our potential.”

In the coming months, the Board will convene leaders from organizations across the waterfront to ensure this stretch of land is developed with a cohesive vision.

The report compiled invaluable insights, inputs and resources from a wide variety of stakeholders including:

  • Canadian Urban Institute
  • City of Toronto Waterfront Secretariat
  • CreateTO
  • Destination Toronto
  • Exhibition Place
  • Global Affairs
  • Harbourfront Centre
  • JLL
  • Menkes
  • Metrolinx
  • MLSE
  • Nieuport Aviation
  • Ontario Place
  • Overactive Media
  • Pinnacle International
  • PortsToronto
  • The Bentway
  • Waterfront BIA
  • Waterfront Toronto
  • Wheel Excitement
  • Oxford Properties

About The Toronto Region Board of Trade

The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential business chambers in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic agenda. We pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.

Media Contact 

Jason Chapman, Manager, Communications & Media Relations