With the drop of a pick axe political dignitaries, city councillors, and community organizers officially marked the ground breaking of the Queens Quay Boulevard.
One of Waterfront Toronto’s largest projects to date, construction along 1.7kms of the Queens Quay will transform the City’s main waterfront street into a vibrant boulevard.
“Waterfront Toronto has been helping to advance the cause of a great public space in the city by creating an environment that gives us a great sense of place and an even greater sense of pride,” said the Federal Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt, to a crowd of about 100 people. “It’s the $110M transformation of Queens Quay into a world-class boulevard.”
Raitt commended the cooperation between all three levels of government and recognized the importance of continuing to develop the City’s waterfront.
Highlights of the new Queens Quay include a pedestrian promenade with a of mosaic of 2.5 million red and grey pieces of Canadian granite, a canopy of more than 200 trees, and improved traffic lanes. Cyclists will also be elated with the addition of separated bike lanes connecting to waterfront to the Martin Goodman trail.
“(The Waterfront) is not just a tourist destination it’s a place making destination.” said TTC Chair Karen Stintz, who on hand representing the city of Toronto. “We need to celebrate what this means to public space and to the city.”
Stintz said the TTC corridor in the centre of Queens Quay will be completely rebuilt featuring wider platforms and new passenger amenities making the streetcar more comfortable for riders.
Construction on the Queens Quay is not scheduled to be completed until 2015, creating a headache for local businesses dealing with reduced pedestrian traffic and added noise.
“We’re working extensively with Waterfront Toronto to make sure that we communicate how accessible the area is,” said Kevin Currie, Chairman, Waterfront Business Improvement Area noting that all businesses will be open during construction. “Starting in January were going to be starting a campaign with the TTC promoting the seasonality of the area. It’s successful during the five months between the spring and early fall, but the reality is it’s still a spectacular piece of property during the winter.”