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People relaxing on the Simcoe WaveDeck, one of several wooden structures constructed on the Toronto waterfront. Wave deck in Toronto.jpg
People relaxing on the Simcoe WaveDeck, one of several wooden structures constructed on the Toronto waterfront.

The Toronto Waterfront Wavedecks are a series of wooden structures constructed on the waterfront of Toronto, Ontario, Canada as part of the revitalization of the central waterfront. Waterfront Toronto committed to constructing a series of unique wooden wavedecks along the water's edge for the 3.5 km area running from Bathurst Street to Parliament Street. [1] All the WaveDecks are accessible from the southside of Queens Quay.

Toronto waterfront

The Toronto waterfront is the lakeshore of Lake Ontario in the City of Toronto, Ontario in Canada. It spans 46 kilometres between the mouth of Etobicoke Creek in the west, and the Rouge River in the East.

Ontario Province of Canada

Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada. Located in Central Canada, it is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.


The wavedecks are new public spaces that vary in shape, articulation and design to reflect the movement of Lake Ontario.

Lake Ontario one of the Great Lakes in North America

Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is surrounded on the north, west, and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south and east by the American state of New York, whose water boundaries meet in the middle of the lake. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. Many of Ontario's most populous cities, including Toronto, Canada's most populous city, and Hamilton, are on the lake's northern or western shores. In the Huron language, the name Ontarí'io means "Lake of Shining Waters". Its primary inlet is the Niagara River from Lake Erie. The last in the Great Lakes chain, Lake Ontario serves as the outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River. It is the only Great Lake not to border the state of Michigan.

Despite each deck having multiple levels separated by steps, they are all wheelchair accessible. The undulations of each level provide for a smooth, stepless path from one end of the deck to the other (going widthwise). These paths are visually marked by yellow metal discs embedded into the decks themselves.


In June 2006, West 8 and duToit Allsopp Hillier won the Toronto Central Waterfront Innovative Design Competition for their entry that included the construction of a series wavedecks along Toronto's waterfront. Each wavedeck is unique and designed to resemble to the contours of Lake Ontario's shoreline and reclaim parts of the shoreline along water's edge south of Queens Quay. [2]

West 8 Landscape architecture firm (est.1987) based in Rotterdam

West 8 is an urban planning and landscape architecture firm founded by Adriaan Geuze and Paul van Beek in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1987. It is known for its contemporary designs and innovative solutions to urban planning problems using lighting, metal structures, and color. Van Beek is no longer part of the firm.

A total of three WaveDecks were constructed with one more being planned, each acting as unique gateways to the waterfront. Once the transformation is complete, WaveDecks will be at the foots of Spadina Avenue, and Rees, Simcoe, and Parliament streets. The Spadina WaveDeck opened in late-summer of 2008, followed by the opening of the Simcoe WaveDeck in June 2009 and the Rees WaveDeck in July, 2009.

Spadina WaveDeck

The Spadina WaveDeck won the 2009 Toronto Urban Design Award. LowerSpadina3.JPG
The Spadina WaveDeck won the 2009 Toronto Urban Design Award.

The first WaveDeck was constructed at the Spadina Head of Slip, consisting of a 620 metre squared undulating wood pedestrian deck over water, adjacent to the foot of Spadina Avenue south of Queens Quay Boulevard. Construction started in November 2007 by Somerville contractors and lasted 10 months. The Spadina WaveDeck links two waterfront parks: Music Garden and HTO Park. The WaveDeck cost $4.1 million to build and is made of 3,564 wooden planks. It is the WaveDeck that is the furthest to the west.

Queens Quay (Toronto)

Queens Quay is a prominent street in the Harbourfront neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The street was originally commercial in nature due to the many working piers along the waterfront; parts of it have been extensively rebuilt in since the 1970s with parks, condominiums, retail, as well as institutional and cultural development.

HTO Park

HTO Park is an urban beach in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that opened in 2007. It is located west of Harbourfront Centre, on Lake Ontario.

The Spadina WaveDeck won the 2009 Toronto Urban Design Award [3] of Excellence in the Small Open Space category. [4]

The WaveDeck is located at the coordinates 43°38′15″N79°23′30″W / 43.63753°N 79.39164°W / 43.63753; -79.39164 .

Rees WaveDeck

The Rees WaveDeck from the eastside of the WaveDeck. Rees WaveDeck.jpg
The Rees WaveDeck from the eastside of the WaveDeck.

The Rees WaveDeck was opened in July, 2009. The levels of the WaveDeck get lower and have a larger decline as they get closer to the lakeshore. This can cause the levels closer to the lakeshore the flood during times the water levels rises such as during heavy rainfall. The Rees WaveDeck is just east of HTO Park and connects it with the more central portions of the Harbourfront.

The WaveDeck is located at the coordinates 43°38′19″N79°23′14″W / 43.63849°N 79.38732°W / 43.63849; -79.38732 .

Simcoe WaveDeck

Construction for the Simcoe Wavedeck nearing completion in May 2009. Simcoe wave deck nearing completion (2).jpg
Construction for the Simcoe Wavedeck nearing completion in May 2009.

The Simcoe WaveDeck opened in June 2009. The artistic design has a dramatic 2.6 metre high curve as well as metal railings to prevent injuries. It is located just west of Simcoe Street at the water's edge and has quickly become a major attraction along the waterfront. [5] It connects the Harbourfront Centre the westernly portions of the Harbourfront. is currently the WaveDeck that is the furthest to the east.

The WaveDeck is located at the coordinates 43°38′20″N79°23′05″W / 43.63898°N 79.38462°W / 43.63898; -79.38462 .

Parliament WaveDeck

The Parliament WaveDeck is a proposed fourth WaveDeck that will be located at the intersection of Parliament Street and Queen's Quay. It is expected to be built once the East Bayfront development progresses. [6] Once completed, it will be the WaveDeck that is the furthest to the east.

See also

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Harbourfront (Toronto) Neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Harbourfront is a neighbourhood on the northern shore of Lake Ontario within the downtown core of the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Part of the Toronto waterfront, Harbourfront extends from Bathurst Street in the west, along Queens Quay, with its ill-defined eastern boundary being either Yonge Street or York Street. Its northern boundary is the Gardiner Expressway.

Walter Carsen Centre architectural structure

The Walter Carsen Centre for The National Ballet of Canada is a building at 470 Queens Quay West on the waterfront in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The lower levels house the headquarters of the National Ballet of Canada and the ballet's rehearsal space. The facility has 8,825 square metres of space, more than the Four Seasons Centre where the ballet performs. Previously the ballet had been based at St. Lawrence Hall and scattered other buildings through the downtown core. Built in 1995, it was named to honour patron of the arts Walter Carsen who donated CA$1.5 million towards its construction.

Toronto Harbour

Toronto Harbour or Toronto Bay is a bay on the north shore of Lake Ontario, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is a natural harbour, protected from Lake Ontario waves by the Toronto Islands. Today, the harbour is used primarily for recreational boating, including personal vessels and pleasure boats providing scenic or party cruises. Ferries travel from docks on the mainland to the Islands, and cargo ships deliver aggregates and raw sugar to industries located in the harbour. Historically, the harbour has been used for military vessels, passenger traffic and cargo traffic. Waterfront uses include residential, recreational, cultural, commercial and industrial sites.

Union station (TTC) Toronto subway station

Union is a subway station on Line 1 Yonge–University of the Toronto subway in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It opened in 1954 as one of twelve original stations on the first phase of the Yonge line, the first rapid transit line in Canada. It was the southern terminus of the line until the opening of the University line in 1963, and is today the inflection point of the U-shaped line. Along with Spadina station, it is one of two stations open overnight.

Lake Shore Boulevard

Lake Shore Boulevard is a major arterial road running along more than half of the Lake Ontario waterfront in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prior to 1998, two segments of Lake Shore Boulevard were designated as part of Highway 2, with the highway following the Gardiner Expressway between these two sections.

Toronto streetcar system Streetcar network in Ontario, Canada

The Toronto streetcar system is a network of ten streetcar routes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). It is the second busiest light-rail system in North America. The network is concentrated primarily in Downtown Toronto and in proximity to the city's waterfront. Much of the streetcar route network dates from the 19th century. Most of Toronto's streetcar routes operate on street trackage shared with vehicular traffic, and streetcars stop on demand at frequent stops like buses.

509 Harbourfront streetcar line in Toronto, Canada

509 Harbourfront is a streetcar route in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission.

Queens Quay Terminal

Queen's Quay Terminal is a condominium apartment, office and retail complex in the Harbourfront neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was originally built in 1927 as a marine terminal with office, warehouse and cold-storage facilities. When shipping to Toronto declined in the 1960s and 1970s, the building was bought by the Government of Canada to be repurposed along with a section of the industrial waterfront. The Terminal Building itself was rebuilt in the 1980s with the addition of four floors of residential above the original facility, which was converted into retail and office uses. The cold storage wing was demolished and its plant building became The Power Plant gallery and Harbourfront Centre Theatre.

Queens Quay station streetcar station in Toronto, Canada

Queens Quay is an underground streetcar station of the Toronto streetcar system in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the only underground streetcar station that is not part of or connected to a Toronto subway station. It was opened in 1990 as part of the former Harbourfront LRT route. The station is now served by the 509 Harbourfront, 510 Spadina daytime routes and the 310 Spadina night route.

Amsterdam Bridge, Toronto

Amsterdam Bridge is a bridge on the waterfront in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The steel structure is a cable footbridge that crosses over the Simcoe Street Slip from York Quay to Rees Street Slip.

Maple Leaf Mills Silos was one of two silo or grain elevator complexes that were built in the area between Spadina Quay and Maple Leaf Quay, on Toronto Harbour, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was one of three "monumental" silo complexes that dominated the city's waterfront.

Toronto streetcar system loops

Turning loops of the Toronto streetcar system serve as termini and turnback points for streetcar routes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The single-ended streetcars require track loops in order to reverse direction. Besides short off-street track loops these can also be larger interchange points, having shelters and driver facilities, or be part of a subway station structure for convenient passenger interchange.

Sugar Beach

Sugar Beach is an urban beach park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that opened in 2010. It is located across from Redpath Sugar Refinery in Toronto's eastern East Bayfront. Like HTO Park to the west, the beach is not meant to allow wading or swimming in Lake Ontario, but rather functions as a waterfront public space for relaxation, leisure, and social activities. It cost $14 million.

East Bayfront Neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

East Bayfront, or the East Bayfront Precinct, is an emerging neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is currently undergoing a transformation from industrial use to mixed-use as part of Waterfront Toronto's plans to create a residential and commercial district urban core near the lake.

The Simcoe Street tunnel is located between Front Street and Bremner Blvd. in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This CA$40 million tunnel is situated in a densely urban site below the SkyWalk and in close proximity to Toronto Union Station and the InterContinental Toronto Centre hotel. The tunnel roof structure is designed to carry all 16 pre-existing railway tracks. The ground structure provides one vehicle lane north bound and two lanes south bound, one bicycle lane and one extra wide pedestrian sidewalk on each side of the tunnel. The Simcoe Street tunnel was officially opened on September 22, 2009 by Councillor Adam Vaughan.

East Bayfront LRT is a streetcar line proposed to run along Queens Quay East from Bay Street to Parliament Street, connecting Union station to the East Bayfront area of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It will complement the existing 509 Harbourfront service which connects Union Station to Queens Quay west of Bay Street.

Harbour Square Park

Harbour Square Park is a park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada right on the Toronto harbour. It is next to the Harbour Square condos, the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and the Westin Harbour Castle. It is south of Queens Quay and adjacent to the Queens Quay streetcar station. It contains a boardwalk and a permanent public art installation.


  1. Waterfront Toronto
  2. West 8
  3. 2009 Toronto Urban Design Awards: Jury Report
  4. http://www.dcnonl.com/article/id35508
  5. Press Release
  6. "A-Zdvent calendar: WaveDecks by West 8". Dezeen. 2015-12-23. Retrieved 2019-08-25.