Toronto's waterfront revitalization is one of Canada's most exciting urban renewal projects. At the municipal level, it is managed by the City's Waterfront Secretariat. The Secretariat works with Waterfront Toronto, the federal and provincial governments and other partners to realize a number of projects within as well as outside the Designated Waterfront Area (DWA) between Dowling Avenue in the west and Coxwell Avenue in the east.
Much of the designated waterfront area includes prime downtown Toronto locations in West Don Lands, East Bayfront and the Port Lands, about 70% of which are owned by the City of Toronto. As the rest of the city built out, these areas remained largely undeveloped for a variety of reasons, including their industrial past. Waterfront Toronto’s mandate involves renewing these areas in a manner that better positions the Toronto region for the intense urban competition and realities of the 21st century.
Waterfront renewal was launched in November 1999 with the release of the Mayor's vision for Toronto's waterfront: Our Toronto Waterfront, the Wave of the Future. The City and the federal and provincial governments then established the Waterfront Revitalization Task Force, headed by Robert Fung, to create a development and business strategy for renewal.
In October 2000, the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto each committed $500 million to renew Toronto’s waterfront over 30 years. In 2001, the three waterfront partners created the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC), now known as Waterfront Toronto, with a mandate to lead and oversee waterfront renewal activities in a designated waterfront area (DWA) from Coxwell to Dowling Avenues.