Marine Use Strategy Update and Parliament Slip Revitalization

Toronto's Harbour is one of our most cherished resources. It provides a mix of active and diverse uses, including recreational boating, water-based transportation, tour boats, and industrial shipping.  This dynamic and busy area requires good planning to maintain a balance of uses as waterfront revitalization progresses.

Waterfront Toronto, in collaboration with the City of Toronto, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and Ports Toronto has finalized an updated Marine Use Strategy to align with current trends in marine uses, and to determine priorities for new initiatives. Developed after a year and a half of planning and public consultation, it is a roadmap for how we can celebrate and experience the full potential of our harbour.

The Strategy is focused on three themes:

Management: Who does what? A comprehensive map of the complex ownership of dock walls, water lots, and adjacent lands has been prepared to establish responsibility for maintenance, security, and development parameters to cut through delays on decision-making and improvements.

Mooring: Where do the boats go? Different sizes and types of boat operations have different needs and are better suited for certain mooring locations.

Movement: How do we get from land to water, on and over the water? Routes and destinations for existing and potential new ferry and water taxi operations are mapped out. And new public spaces in the waterfront offer better accessibility to the water's edge, and let people interact with and into the water.

The report outlines three implementation phases that will take place over the next 5+ years.

Phase 1 begins now and over the next year will focus on:                                                                                         

  • Establishing Terms of Reference of a Marine Coordinating Committee to address shared goals in the harbour and provide direction for all recommendations in the report.
  • Feasibility, timing and costs associated with action items such as coordinating a dockwall repair strategy, developing transient mooring docking, introducing a permitted vehicular ferry and coordinating mooring on the waterfront through the Marine Coordinating Committee.

Phase 2 will take place in 1-5 years and will focus on implementing small projects as well as the commissioning of technical and feasibility studies to explore various recommendations.

Phase 3 will begin in approximately 5 years and take the work conducted in Phase 2 into implementation of larger capital renewal and expansion projects (eg. multi-use pier construction).

New Parliament Slip Revitalization

In addition to these implementation phases, Waterfront Toronto is announcing plans to advance several of the recommendations in the report through the revitalization of Parliament Slip into a dynamic new destination on the waterfront.

The plan envisions Parliament Slip as an exciting experience on the water for all types of marine activity. New kayak and canoe launches, lakeside pools and open water swimming opportunities, a floating restaurant, new mooring facilities with charging stations for electric marine craft, and a waterfront amphitheatre for people to enjoy views of the harbour activity are all included in a new public space based on the iconic wavedeck design.

The new Parliament slip will compliment other public facilities and spaces such as the East Bayfront recreation centre and the future park next to the Victory Soya Silos. It will also integrate into the new Quayside project, with more to be announced on that initiative in the coming days. Taken together, these new spaces will create an all season public destination, reorienting the city to the waterfront.

This concept for this proposal was driven by research on other great waterfronts around the world and the things that make them so successful, which include now-famous harbour-connected pools in cities like Copenhagen. It will fulfill recommendations made in the Marine Use Strategy Update, particularly those addressing mooring and movement such as continuous waterfront access, water-based public transportation, land-based accessibility and access to recreation facilities.

Public consultation on the plans will begin in 2021.

Together the Marine Use Strategy and Parliament Slip project will help bring people to experience the harbour in new and exciting ways, and to reach our potential as a waterfront city.