Waterfront Toronto events now until September


Our summer program of free arts and cultural events in Toronto’s waterfront neighbourhoods continues in August and September. Venture out to the parks and public spaces in the West Don Lands and East Bayfront, and enjoy our reimagined and revitalized waterfront. Here’s what’s happening in the coming weeks: Our summer program of free arts and cultural events in Toronto’s waterfront neighbourhoods continues in August and September. Venture out to the parks and public spaces in the West Don Lands and East Bayfront, and enjoy our reimagined and revitalized waterfront. Here’s what’s happening in the coming weeks: Our summer program of free arts and cultural events in Toronto’s waterfront neighbourhoods continues in August and September. Venture out to the parks and public spaces in the West Don Lands and East Bayfront, and enjoy our reimagined and revitalized waterfront. Here’s what’s happening in the coming weeks:

Our summer program of free arts and cultural events in Toronto’s waterfront neighbourhoods continues in August and September. Venture out to the parks and public spaces in the West Don Lands and East Bayfront, and enjoy our reimagined and revitalized waterfront. Here’s what’s happening in the coming weeks: 

The Gata: Water Ceremony

Irene Cortes’ The Gata: Water Ceremony is a three-plus-hour performance that will move through the many spaces and landscapes of Sherbourne Common. Using voice, dance, live music and innovative, non-invasive staging approaches that incorporate the land, this performance will transform Sherbourne Common into an opera house. Drawing from a wide array of wisdom traditions, particularly those of First Nations and Indigenous Peoples from across the globe, The Gata: Water Ceremony will perform rituals for purifying water and creating healing environmental energies. While we may not be consciously aware of these energies, we are certainly in dynamic relationship with them. We are in concert with our land and particularly our water. This will be a celebration and acknowledgement of Lake Ontario as the provider of our most precious resource on Earth: Water.

Date: Thursday, August 18 from 6:30pm to 10pm

Location:  Sherbourne Common – 61 Dockside Drive (map)

This is a free outdoor event. RSVP on Facebook or get a free e-ticket on Eventbrite.

Read more about this event in our recent blog post entitled “Sacred Song and Dance Will Transform This Toronto Park Into An Opera House for One Night.”

Free Ukulele Workshops: Uke Can Sing with K Funk and Lady Ree

Uke Can Sing is a series of fun and educational workshops – free and open to the public – that gather people outdoors in Corktown Common. Workshop leaders K Funk and Lady Ree teach participants how to sing and play the ukulele. These are the infamous singing ukulele ladies of the TTC Subway Musicians program – join them for a whimsical and educational jam session. Borrow a ukulele from K Funk and Lady Ree (limit of 30, first-come-first-serve) or bring your own!

Dates: Wednesday, August 17 from 7pm to 8:30pm & Saturday, August 20 from 2pm to 3:30pm

Location: Corktown Common – 155 Bayview Avenue (map)

Meet at the pavilion and K Funk and Lady Ree will lead you to a comfortable place in the park for the workshop. These are free outdoor workshops. RSVP on Facebook for Wednesday, August 17 or Saturday, August 20.

Singing River

Singing River presents storytellers, dance, music and audio art inspired by rivers and lakes. Storytellers Cathy Elliott, Sharada Eswar and Diana Tso share tales from Indigenous Canada and around the world, inviting us to renew our relationship with our city’s rivers. Stories of river creatures include Chinese river dragons; the Mi’kmaq horned serpent; and Kaliya, the multi-headed snake from Hindu mythology. Supernatural creatures which wield power through flooding and natural disaster can be appeased by our respectful relationships with rivers, lakes and streams. Julia Aplin’s dancing Nomads will roam the park with their canoe, in search of the river and adventure. Vocal chameleon Christine Duncan and the Burble Choir give voice to the struggles and pleasures of an urban river. The soulful Alex Samaras and GREX sing of the intertwined lives of humans and trees: we are all “rooted in the same ground.” Nova Bhattacharya’s evocative Bird waits and watches as time and the river pass — with dancer Lucy Rupert and percussionist Germaine Liu. Julia Aplin’s River Spirit is immersive dance at its most powerful: an exercise in trust and flow, dancing with the river. Undercurrents sets the Bala underpass reverberating with an original song to the Wonscotonach/Don River, sung in Ojibway by Marie Gaudet.

Dates: Saturday, September 24 from 2pm to 6pm

Location: Corktown Common – 155 Bayview Avenue (map)

This is a free outdoor event. There is no formal seating for this event. At various points during the event, audience members may be invited to participate in the performance. If you’d like to sit, we recommend bringing a blanket or a lawn chair. Feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks to enjoy.

Movies on the Common

Crowds gathered on the south lawn of Corktown Common to enjoy the movie and stunning views of the downtown skyline. 

On August 11, Waterfront Toronto – in partnership with Toronto Outdoor Picture Show (of Christie Pitts Film Festival fame) and the Canary District – presented a free open-air screening of Apollo 13 in Corktown Common. The West Don Lands community has been a long time in the making and it was great to see so many new residents from the Canary District, River City and from other neighbouring areas gather together under the stars in Corktown Common to enjoy this event.

In the spirit of a community designed to promote active and healthy living, Cooper Koo Family YMCA offered a complimentary pre-show yoga class and Think Fitness Studios (soon to open on Front Street) ran a bootcamp. We were also pleased to have two well-loved food vendors on site for the evening: Young Animal and Sugar Mamma’s Mini Donuts

Check out our Facebook album to see a recap of the Movies on the Common.

New Underpass Murals are Love Letters to the Great Lakes

Content / Image

Work in Progress by Kirsten McCrea, Alexa Hatanaka and MC Baldessari. Photo by Devon Ostrom

From June 20 to 25, nine artists painted murals on the pillars below the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway ramps at the mouth of the Don River. The murals take inspiration from the resilience of the Don River and explore the ecological challenges and opportunities we are confronted with as we renew our relationship to our urban watersheds.

Waterfront Toronto was excited to partner with ArtRelay / the Friends of the Pan Am PathPangeaSeed Foundation, the Toronto Foundation, START Toronto and Hermann & Audrey to help make this project – A Love Letter to the Great Lakes – a reality.

Explore the Lower Don Trail to discover these inspiring murals by a talented group of artists: Kwest & Emmanuel Jarus, Kirsten McCrea, EGR / Erica Balon, Alexa Hatanaka & Patrick Thompson, Mc Baldassari, Rajni Perera, and Jason Botkin.

Want to see more?

•   Check out this video showing the finished project 

•   View a photo album of the artists at work

Gardiner Expressway Ramp Reconstruction

Phase 1 of the Gardiner Expressway ramp reconstruction began in late July 2016 and is expected to continue until December 2017. 

Earlier this summer, the City of Toronto began Phase 1 of the Gardiner Expressway ramp reconstruction and improvements to Harbour Street. 

Phase 1 includes the construction of a new, shorter and wider off-ramp from the eastbound Gardiner Expressway to Lower Simcoe Street that will feed into a wider Harbour Street. No long term closures of the Gardiner Expressway or Lake Shore Blvd are expected during Phase 1 construction. 

The existing off-ramp to York, Bay and Yonge Streets is scheduled to be demolished in 2017 during Phase 2, which will also see the widening of Harbour Street with improvements to streetscaping. The City also plans to restore the York Street Park following the completion of this construction. 

For more information on this work, please contact the City of Toronto

In brief

Waterfront Toronto is now on Instragram!

Have you seen our new Instagram account? Follow us to see some of our favourite photos and stories about our waterfront. This summer, the account is being managed by our team of summer students and interns, who will be sharing their perspectives on waterfront revitalization. Follow us at @waterfront.to


Parking It

You may have noticed we’ve been running a weekly series of blog posts called Parking It. This series explores Toronto’s system of waterfront parks from west to east. We’ve already discovered some of Toronto’s favourite parks including Mimico Waterfront Park, Coronation Park, and HTO Park. This week, we’re discovering Tommy Thompson Park – Toronto’s urban wilderness. 




From the Archives: Corktown Common

What was once part of a neglected post-industrial area within a floodplain, Corktown Common now functions as both a captivating public space and critical flood protection mechanism. In this recent blog post, we examine how Corktown Common came to be and explore its unique features and terrains. Read more about this one-of-a-kind park

World Cup of Hockey heads to the Distillery District

From September 16 to 25, the World Cup of Hockey will host a free 10-day fan festival in the Distillery Historic District. The Scotiabank Fan Village will offer a mix of programming designed for people of all ages, along with live musical performance, prizes and giveaways, food offerings, and viewing parties!

The family-friendly festival will also occupy more than 200,000 square feet of an untouched lot at the south east corner of Cherry Street and Mill Street, which will be known as the East Fan Village




A full schedule of events, performances and appearances will be announced in the coming weeks and be available at wch2016.com/fanvillage

Sail-In Cinema is back at Sugar Beach!

Sail-In Cinema – Toronto’s only floating movie theatre – returns to Canada’s Sugar Beach August 18-20. For both land-lovers and boaters enjoyment, this free, floating festival will again showcase three movies on the world’s first two-sided movie screen from a barge anchored in Lake Ontario. With this year’s theme of “Books to Big Screen” movie-goers will have the chance to watch some of their favourite stories in a unique way. 

No registration is required but space is limited so arrive early with your chairs, blankets and boats! 




Sail-In Cinema is presented by PortsToronto. Gates will open at 6:00 pm each night with the film starting at approximately 8:00 pm.

Let’s go to The Ex

Canada’s largest fair is set to return to Toronto for its 138th year. From August 21 to September 5 the Canadian National Exhibition will take over Exhibition Place, allowing people of all ages to indulge in a variety of rides, live entertainment, food, shopping, the Air Show, and more!

Don’t miss this popular end-of-summer tradition! Tickets are available here.




Find the full schedule of events here

Project update: East Bayfront

Looking east towards ongoing construction at Bayside.

Queens Quay East

Construction crews working at Hines-Tridel’s Bayside development must access this site intermittently via a driveway just east of Bonnycastle Street. When this access point is in use, a flagman is stationed at the entrance to direct construction vehicles. Signs have been installed alerting cyclists and pedestrians to watch for turning vehicles.

East Bayfront Essential External Servicing Infrastructure

Work on the new Sanitary Pumping Station, located at the foot of Cherry Street at Lake Shore Boulevard East, continues. The concrete structure is complete, and mechanical and electrical work is ongoing.


Construction on the two residential buildings included in Phase I of the Bayside development is progressing. Tie-back installation is now 75 per cent complete at Aquavista.

The construction contract was awarded to rebuild a section of the dock wall infrastructure at Bayside.  The contractor has mobilized and work is slated to begin this month. We expect to begin construction of the remainder of the infrastructure, roads and public realm in Bayside in early 2017. More details will be provided as information is available.


Project update: West Don Lands

No Shoes by Mark di Suvero sits at the foot of the Corktown Common south lawn, overlooking the West Don Lands.

Northern Entrance to Corktown Common

The final portion of Corktown Common – which we refer to as the northern entrance – opened in early July. As the name suggests, this portion of the park is located to the north with a welcoming entrance at the intersection of King Street, Queen Street and River Street. Here you’ll find some informal seating, gently sloping hills and more urban prairie. Follow the asphalt pathway down the slope and through the meadow nestled between River City and Bayview Avenue to the intersection at Lower River Street where you can safely cross into the main part of the park. A little known fact is that this area is part of the flood protection landform that will protect the West Don Lands and the financial district from flooding in the event of a significant storm. Similar to the eastern portion of Corktown Common, visitors will notice that there aren’t any trees or other structures here. That’s because nothing can be planted or buried here that could be damaged during a storm and compromise the important flood protection features.

People have commented about the condition of the vegetation across this new section of the park. It’s been a hot dry summer and it’s taking longer than anticipated for the grass and meadow to flourish. These spaces were recently overseeded and some additional overseeding may be required again in the fall. We ask for ongoing patience and respect for those areas over the coming months.

Corktown Common Dog Run

A new pea stone surface was applied to the dog run in early July and planning is underway for a double-gate entry/exist system to be added in the fall.

Waterfront Toronto and Deputy Mayor McConnell’s office are reviewing the other requests for the dog run made by community members to determine the best course of action. The placement of the dog run in the meadow on the eastern side of the park was an outcome from the public consultation held during the design of Corktown Common. The size and shape of the dog run was further informed by the natural boundaries offered by the service road to the east, the hydro tower to the south, the flood protection landform to the west and Bayview Avenue running along the north-west side. Trees cannot be planted in this area because of the proximity of the dog run to the flood protection landform and the risk that they could be uprooted during a major storm and damage the landform. These facts may limit the options when considering potential enhancements to the dog run, however, we will be working to identify improvements wherever possible. We will keep you posted.

514 Cherry Streetcar Route

On August 10, TTC track crews began streetcar rail maintenance at the King Street and Sumach Street intersection. The work is intended to help optimize wheel-rail interface to reduce noise levels when streetcars operate through some of the curves in this area. The TTC advised that this is a slow process and may take up to four weeks to complete. The notice can be found here

This work has resulted in a temporary streetcar route change during the hours of 12am to 5am. A shuttle bus will operate during these hours to supplement the service. Find the full details here.

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Waterfront Toronto

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Toronto, Ontario M5J 2N8


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