East Bayfront Water’s Edge Promenade & Boardwalk

Toronto, CA

Central to the award-winning Toronto Waterfront master plan, the 3km long promenade creates a continuous public open space at the water’s edge, between buildings and the Lake. Completed in July 2010, East Bayfront Water’s Edge Promenade, extending from Canada’s Sugar Beach to Sherbourne Common, and is the first phase of the total redevelopment of Toronto’s promenade.

In 2006 West 8 + DTAH won the Central Waterfront Innovation Design Competition with a mandate to transform Toronto’s waterfront to a world-class destination celebrating Canada’s lakefront experience.  The promenade, which consists of a mosaic of granite pavers with a double row of Maple trees and a suite of custom-designed furniture is 925m long and 9.4m wide. An additional 9m wide pedestrian zone composed of concrete unit pavers also runs parallel to the promenade. Creating a combined width of 18.4m of new public space between the buildings and the Lake. Patio seating spills across the pedestrian zone from George Brown College with commercial activity transitioning onto the promenade.

The promenade is an active civic space, and an integral part of the growing waterfront network. Flanked by two parks, the promenade functions as a pedestrian and cycle route, as well as a year-round venue for a variety of public events. The promenade design is an elegant interpretation of a Canadian themed public space at the water’s edge.

Unique to the project are the high quality, custom-designed mosaic paving, furniture and tree planting details which were inspired by the Canadian iconic maple leaf. The project also involved extensive underground work, including soil cells, passive irrigation, and root aeration technology in combination with utility trenches and dock wall reinforcement. West 8 + DTAH closely worked with the contractors on-site, collaborating on pavement mock-ups and fabrication of benches and lights. As a result, East Bayfront Water’s Edge Promenade is a successful precedent project for future development along Toronto’s waterfront.

The promenade and boardwalk offer a generous amount of space along the lakefront. In addition to providing public access to the water’s edge, the boardwalk will also serve as an important part of the integrated stormwater management system in East Bayfront. This integrated approach allows required stormwater infrastructure to be beautiful, functional, sustainable and cost-effective. In the future, as the community develops, the design intends for a slightly lowered 8m wide wooden boardwalk to be built alongside the promenade, giving another opportunity to engage with the lake. The boardwalk will be cantilevered out over the water on top of the stormwater storage tanks.

As lead consultants, West 8 + DTAH were responsible for the coordination of sub-consultants, design development, working drawings and contract administration.


DTAH, The Municipal Infrastructure Group


CSLA National Merit Award, 2014; The Willis Chipman Award at the Ontario Consulting Engineering Awards for the East Bayfront stormwater management system;