Institute without Boundaries

Projects Without Boundaries: A New Gateway to the “City of TO-morrow … TO-day.”

Projects Without Boundaries is an IwB Blog column where design thinkers dream big.  Here they get to imagine a world without the constraints of budgets, bureaucratic red tape, voters, clients and maybe even physical limitations.  Each article will feature the dream project of one designer/design studio and an accompanying image.

 A New Gateway to the “City of TO-morrow … TO-day.”

By Paul Dowsett
Union Station could be the new gateway to Toronto as it was earlier in the 20th century and as the Toronto harbour was before that.
Extending the subway loop south past Union Station would better link the broader transit network of TTC, GO trains & buses, VIA, Toronto ferries, & the Billy Bishop (Island) Airport.
New north/south subway platforms on York & Yonge Streets would provide access through the new Union Station retail concourse and more direct access to the GO trains and buses.
The Ferry Docks would be the southern-most TTC Station. LRT’s would operate from here in both directions along Queen’s Quay.  Eastbound LRT’s would serve the new East Bayfront developments. One in every two westbound LRT’s could turn into Bathurst Quay, pick up car & taxi passengers and run in a tunnel under the western gap to the Island Airport.  This would be one of two ways to get to the airport.
The Island Airport ferry would leave the Ferry Docks, eliminating the much decried need for cabs, buses and parking lots on Bathurst Quay. To and from the airport the ferry could stop at a group of new islands & quays in the inner harbour.  Imagine the cool, under-utilized, WW2-era, brick and glass building at the northeast corner of the airport adaptively repurposed as the new airport ferry dock.
The new islands & quays could accommodate sustainable hotels, cultural venues, parks and play spaces.  These would be off-grid, solar-powered, deep-lake water-cooled, rain-water capturing, closed-loop water-managing, etc.
People arriving at Pearson could have a train bringing them to … Union Station !!  A ”Janus Gate” with a new face looking towards the harbour while it’s original face continues to gaze serenely at the city.
A new gateway to the “City of TO-morrow … TO-day.”
All of this started by simply extending the subway loop.  Expensive ?  Yes, and the development potential alone could easily pay for this.
This proposal better serves so many people in the GTA, including currently under-served Harbourfront residents and commuters from as far away as Oakville & Pickering and beyond.
Can the same be said for the Sheppard Subway Line ?

Since graduating with distinction from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, in over two decades of local & international environmentally-sensitive residential, commercial and institutional architectural practice, Paul has encountered so many Clients confused by green-information overload that he has started sustainable.TO /architecture + building, to assist others to make sense of it all to add “green” and practical value to Clients’ properties.


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The Institute without Boundaries is a Toronto-based studio that works towards collaborative design action and seeks to achieve social, ecological and economic innovation. To learn more click here.

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