Chris Hume: Pan Am Games 2015 Athletes Village a winner
13 Jan 2012

Already a river runs through it; but by 2015, when the Pan-Am Games begin, there’ll be a lot more than that to go with the flow.

We’re talking about the West Don Lands, of course, soon to be known as the site of the Athletes’ Village, which for several weeks will be home to more than 10,000 competitors. Located just east of the Don, south of King St., the complex will eventually become a mixed-use neighbourhood complete with parks, shops, affordable housing and student residences, as well as several thousand condo units.

… “It’s proof of our model,” said Waterfront Toronto chair Mark Wilson. “Public investment in green infrastructure leads to private-sector investment. Because of what we’ve done, they’re willing to put billions into the project.”

… WT has spent years planning various precincts along the waterfront. That means clarity — by the time developers show up, they know what the rules are in terms of what they can build.

… The design team behind the winning scheme includes architectural luminaries Bruce Kuwabara, Peter Clewes and Renee Daoust of Montreal. All are members of the WT Design Review Panel and familiar with the issues of waterfront redevelopment.

The Village comprises a series of midrise buildings organized along Front St. east of Cherry. A large L-shaped structure open to the southwest creates a large square at the corner of Front and Cherry, across the road from the landmark Canary restaurant. Beyond that, low-slung buildings huddle around open courtyards.

Plans also call for Front to be turned into a promenade that will lead all the way from Union Station to Don River Park, now under construction just east of the Athletes’ Village. ...To avoid the deadly homogeneity of most such mega-projects, each block will be designed by a different architect.

Originally posted on The Toronto Star.