August 21, 2017

Summer 2017 Waterfront Roundup

Last year, I wrote up about various quirks along Toronto’s Waterfront. Recently, there have been a lot of new developments which addressed some of these issues, though others remain. Let’s go over ten of these developments going from west to east.

1 – Lake Shore Cycle Track
Originally, this cycle track from Norris Crescent to First Street was scheduled for last year. However, installation was deferred to 2017 to co-ordinate with TTC streetcar track replacement. When biking by there yesterday, I noticed track replacement is happening from First Street to Lake Crescent. The cycle tracks are expected to be installed after the TTC work is done, though let’s hope it is before the December 2017 date posted per a construction sign found there.

2 – Humber Bay Shores
Parts of the Martin Goodman Trail are not wide enough to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists comfortably. The solution of providing separate pedestrian and cycling paths is currently in the works with two trail closures; one next to the Humber Bay bridge and the other next to Mimico Creek. Per the City of Toronto’s website, the work at those two plazas should be done by Labour Day. Improvements between the two plazas will start afterwards and are expected to be completed in spring 2018.

3 – Bike Share Expansion
Earlier in August, Bike Share Toronto announced 70 new bike share stations and 750 additional bikes. A fair number of these new stations were placed along the Waterfront Trail between Humber Bay Shores and Coronation Parks. The two new stations at Humber Bay Shores, along with a station at Victoria Park Station, represent the first stations for Scarborough and Etobicoke.

4 – Roncesvalles Bridge Mural
On the creative side of things, the Roncesvalles pedestrian bridge has gotten an artistic makeover. This was done by a Chicago artist as part of the STEPS initiative which combines art with city building.

5 – Trillium Park
This summer saw the launch of Trillium Park and William G Davis Trail. It is a spur off the Martin Goodman Trail and part of a broader revitalization of Ontario Place. The park is beautifully done with modern styled pavilions and bridges, as well as diverse floral arrangements. Now how about some signage pointing to the new trail?

6 – Coronation Park
Given poor lighting on the existing Martin Goodman Trail through Coronation Park, a new trail was built parallel to Lake Shore Boulevard. Not only does this address night visibility, but it connects cyclists to bike lanes on Fort York Boulevard. This new trail, however, leaves a gap along the HMCS York driveway which requires some wayfinding improvements.

7 – No More Dismounting!
Construction starts today on a new deck over the Portland Slip by Dan Leckie Way, which will last six to eight weeks. This new deck will allow for the 60-metre gap in the Martin Goodman Trail to be filled without compromising pedestrian space. Finally, we can be rid of those “cyclists dismount” signs!

8 – Trail to Go Signs
Earlier this year, the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, Metrolinx (GO Transit), and municipal partners unveiled “Trail to Go” which improves wayfinding between the Waterfront Trail and eleven GO stations. Four of those stations are in Toronto which are Long Branch, Mimico, Union, and Rouge Hill. This pairing of cycling and public transit will help commuters and recreational users alike, while the website also provides several exploration options.

9 – New Tommy Thompson Park Entrance
While a multi-use trail along Unwin Avenue to the Tommy Thompson Park entrance is still in the Cycling Network Plan, there is a new path via the Outer Harbour Marina entrance which leads directly to the park. Visitors to Tommy Thompson Park will appreciate this new shortcut, though those seeking to bypass the park may prefer to stick with Unwin.
The new trail to Tommy Thompson Park saves cyclists 800 metres
compared to the 1.5 kilometres required for using Unwin Avenue.

10 – Scarborough Waterfront Project

Last week, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority announced the release of a draft environmental assessment for the Scarborough Waterfront Project. This project will extend the Waterfront Trail from East Point Park (Scarborough’s current trail terminus) to Bluffers Park, which will become a game changer for Scarborough. The commenting period is open until October 2, 2017.
Trail rending found in Appendix M of the draft environmental assessment
However, this project is expected to take twelve years to complete and connectivity to Guildwood GO station needs to be addressed. In the interim, Toronto city council needs to revive the major corridor study on Kingston Road as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts

These trail improvements recognize the importance of the Waterfront to Toronto. However, certain challenges such as intersections, wayfinding, and connectivity remain unaddressed. Now if only there were a plan to link Kew Beach with Bluffers Park, Toronto’s portion of the Waterfront Trail would be completed which would be a boon for cycle tourism in the Greater Toronto Area!


  1. Excellent report. I think I see a detour around the #2 construction, which is refreshing.

    1. Thanks. I did notice the detour as well. The western one by Mimico Creek wasn't as clearly marked as I would have liked.

  2. Great post, thanks for tracking these developments!