In collaboration with the City of Toronto, the Waterfront Business Improvement Area, and the Toronto Downtown West Business Improvement Area, The Bentway is seeking Expression of Interest (EOI) submissions from professional artists and/or designers interested in participating in The Waterfront ReConnect Design Competition.
This EOI is open to all teams (hereinafter called “Proponents”) with experience in the required disciplines and having the required resources, as further described herein.
Designed for a car-centric era, Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway has long served as a street-level barrier between the City’s core and a blossoming waterfront. As the city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking what if this obstacle could be reimagined as a vital point of connection? This presents an exciting opportunity to build upon the larger waterfront revitalization effort and Gardiner rehabilitation project. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to develop an inclusive process, involving multiple public and private stakeholders, and demonstrate the potential of the Under Gardiner to become an integral part of the larger public realm.
The Bentway is seeking input from professional Canadian artists and designers, who will be engaged in the development of creative interventions that re-imagine the experience of the intersections for pedestrians and cyclists at grade at two key intersections under the Gardiner – York Street and Simcoe Street. Advancing the work of the Waterfront ReConnect program, these interventions will further demonstrate what the potential of these under Gardiner spaces could be, setting a trajectory over the next decade.
The goal of the competition is to create more welcoming and accessible connections to Toronto’s Central Waterfront, with a focus on two key under-Gardiner intersections at York and Simcoe Streets. Launched by the Waterfront BIA in 2019, the first ReConnect project at Rees St. (near the Rogers Centre), incorporates design elements such as bright reflective paint, enhanced pedestrian markings, and improved wayfinding to create a new neighbourhood gateway.
The Bentway intends to select up to six (6) Proponents – three (3) for York Street and three (3) for Simcoe Street – to participate in a Design Competition. All shortlisted proponents will be entitled to honoraria for participation in the Design Competition.
One winning proposal for each intersection will be selected to be constructed in mid – 2022. Timelines for implementation will be further refined with the City of Toronto. These demonstration projects will be in place until the Gardiner Expressway is re-habilitated in this area between 2025-2028.