Architecture, Art

Reflections: Unwritten Histories of Toronto’s Waterfront

Tonight, the student of George Brown College, Institute without Boundaries program presented their exhibit for the TO DO festival entitled: Reflections: Unwritten Histories of Toronto’s Waterfront.

Located in an abandon warehouse on the Lakeshore avenue, the students presented an interactive installation/research project to help them in their design process for the waterfront.


Step 1: Get Inspired!
Browse through the decks of images and prompt cards.
Cue your nostalgic side and choose one of each that coordinate together to jog a memory of the waterfront. The image cards will provide a series of sites and events throughout the region’s waterfront while the prompt cards will help trigger memories.


Step 2: Jot a Memory
Once you’ve chosen your image and prompt cards, grab a pen and a response card and get writing!
Share a memory that connects the image and the prompt card a few details about yourself.


Step 3: Assemble!
Once you’re finished, assembled all three cards using the interlocking slots.
Ta-da! You’ll have a completed triangle- if you need a hand, don’t be shy to ask!


Step 4: Share!
Once your set is assembled, add it to the collection of mobiles.
Warming: memories may cause feelings of nostalgia and delight.

At the back of the warehouse, a large wallpaper of the places, gives us the inspiring back drop of our current waterfront and what it could be for the region.


The Importance of Waterfronts

Humans have always been drawn to the shoreline.

Modern waterfronts have evolved to be complex and robust. They are a destination, a home; a place of work and a place of play. They can shape a local community while attracting global tourists. They are intrinsically tied to nature, creating a delicate relationship with the built environment around it.

If our impression of waterfronts is limited to the meeting of land and water, it misses the social, cultural, recreational, and spiritual interactions that establish the area as distinct from other neighbourhoods. It is a space of  tension and balance. It should be the soul of a city.

The IwB Approach

The waterfront is part of a complex system of parts that stretched across the entire Greater Golden Horseshoe and beyond. By examining an entire region on Lake Ontario, we can produce deeper insights into how the waterfront can share the lives of the region’s residents.

Alongside the mass movements of our growing region are the personal daily experiences of its individuals- as they commute to work, go on a weekend outing attend a business meeting or take a walk alone- these moments are the true reflection of a symbiotic region.

Our research and the IwB’s values have brought to surface the delicate symbiotic relationship of a waterfront with the region it is situated in. From the reliance and influence of individual people to the interconnectedness of the municipalities around us, it is the interactions that define it. We invite you to join us in sharing your experiences and understanding these relationships, so together we can design a waterfront.