Item - 2020.EP11.23
- This item was considered by Board of Governors of Exhibition Place on June 24, 2020 and was adopted with amendments.
EP11.23 - Exhibition Place Master Plan Update
- Decision Type:
The Board of Governors of Exhibition Place:
1. Confirmed its support for the Exhibition Place Master Plan - Phase 1 Proposal, as outlined in the report (June 5, 2020) from the Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District [EP11.23a].
At its meeting of February 11, 2020 City Planning staff presented a progress update on the Exhibition Place Master Plan Framework to the Board of Governors relating to (a) the Master Plan Vision and Guiding Principles; (b) the public and stakeholders Consultation Summary; and (c) a Strategy Presentation from City staff.
The Board of Governors Decision was a recommendation that City Council direct the City Manager and the Deputy City Manager, Infrastructure and Development Services to report to the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place with an update, when appropriate, on the strategy being developed jointly with the Province of Ontario to plan the future of Ontario Place and Exhibition Place, as set out in part 1 of EX5.1 - Ontario Place/Exhibition Place Revitalization, as it relates to the development of the Exhibition Place Master Plan.
Further, at its meeting of December 19, 2019 City Planning staff presented a progress update on the Exhibition Place Master Plan framework to the Board of Governors. The Board referred the item to the Chief Executive Officer to: a) bring forward to the next Tenant Liaison Consultation meeting to review and obtain input from the tenants; and b) report to the Board with the results at its February 11, 2020 meeting. The Tenant Liaison Consultation meeting was held on January 20, 2020 and a summary of the feedback from this meeting is contained in Attachment 1 to the supplementary report from City Planning. The overview presentation given by City Planning staff at the meeting is contained in Attachment 2.
Further, at its meeting of April 10, 2019, City Planning staff presented the final Cultural Heritage Landscape Assessment (CHLA) for Exhibition Place undertaken by City Planning through the engagement of Archeological Services Inc. Subsequently, a report on this matter entitled "Exhibition Place - Cultural Heritage Landscape Assessment and Next Steps for Master Plan" was presented to City Council and the following recommendations were approved related to the development of a Master Plan for Exhibition Place:
- City Council adopt the proposed Master Plan study framework as described in the report (April 10, 2019) from the Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District to guide ongoing work on the Master Plan.
- City Council direct City Planning staff to undertake public consultations on the development of the Master Plan, including consultations with various stakeholder groups, the community at large, and the Indigenous community.
- City Council forward a copy of this Item to the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place for its information and City Council direct City Planning staff to work with the Exhibition Place Board of Governors to coordinate work of the Master Plan with development of the new Strategic Plan for Exhibition Place.
At its meeting of December 19, 2019, City Planning staff gave a presentation to the Board on work completed to date to advance the development of the Exhibition Place Master Plan. The presentation included an overview of the preliminary urban design analysis, draft vision and guiding principles, and ongoing consultation efforts to continue through the end of 2019.
The purpose of the Master Plan is to provide a long-term framework for physical change at Exhibition Place, while recognizing the unique attributes of the site and the role the lands have played in the development of Toronto. The recommended strategies will be informed by the CHLA, the existing planning framework, concurrent transportation and parks initiatives, and consultation input. The Master Plan is intended to be coordinated with the future plans for the revitalization of Ontario Place, and with other initiatives at Exhibition Place including the development of its Strategic Plan.
City Planning staff will be attending the June 24, 2020 Board meeting and will be available to answer questions.
Supplemental updates to the Board will be provided as the progressive phases of the Master Plan is launched.
1. The Board of Governors of Exhibition Place confirm its support for the Exhibition Place Master Plan - Phase 1 Proposal, as outlined in the report (June 5, 2020) from the Director, Community Planning, Toronto and East York District [EP11.23a].
23a - Exhibition Place Master Plan - Phase 1 Proposals Report
Exhibition Place is one of the City’s great waterfront assets. It has a long history as a unique, multi-functional gathering place for Toronto’s residents, visitors and business communities, home to special events, meetings, exhibitions, conventions, recreation and long-held traditions. A focus of economic activity amid a valuable oasis of open space near the downtown, Exhibition Place nonetheless finds itself disconnected from Lake Ontario, the parks and open space system, and surrounding neighbourhoods.
At the request of City Council, City Planning staff undertook a Master Plan study for Exhibition Place, launched in June 2019 with its first phase concluding in March 2020. This report describes the outcomes from the first phase of the Master Plan exercise, including a Proposals Report comprising a recommended Vision, Guiding Principles, emerging strategies and draft Structure Plan to support and enhance the continued success of Exhibition Place. This report also provides a summary of public and stakeholder engagement activities and feedback received throughout the first phase of the study.
The Phase 1 Proposals Report outlines a vision to re-establish Exhibition Place as Toronto’s preeminent gathering place, where visitors from near and far can experience spaces for relaxation, entertainment and exhibition. These spaces will be bound together with a cohesive public realm network both within the site and connecting to the surrounding city. In serving as a gathering place, Exhibition Place will embrace and balance its diverse roles as a centre for innovation, inspiration and economic development, a historic place, and a place of entertainment and recreation, and a green destination.
Among other issues, discussion around parking emerged as a key focus area through Phase 1 public and stakeholder consultation, particularly from major shows and exhibitors. The existing surface parking lots support activity at Exhibition Place and also provide an opportunity through more flexible use for multifunctional, hardscaped plaza spaces that can accommodate a variety of uses while enhancing the public realm. The
adaptability of these spaces would allow Exhibition Place to move nimbly to respond to evolving opportunities.
Another key issue is the improvement of transit service to Exhibition Place, to provide a convenient alternative means of travel to the grounds that enhances the visitor experience. Given the barriers posed by the Gardiner Expressway, rail corridor and Lake Shore Boulevard west, transit will be critical to moving greater numbers of people to and from the site, as well as addressing vehicular traffic and climate change. The Proposals Report promotes leveraging investments in transit service and access, optimization of parking and staging areas, and exploration of alternative transportation technologies to allow for enhanced mobility and public realm improvement opportunities to be realized over the long term.
The proposed strategies will better integrate Exhibition Place with surrounding neighbourhoods, parks and open spaces, and Ontario Place; improve transit accessibility and connectivity to and through the site; conserve and rehabilitate the site's heritage features in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Landscape Assessment; and develop a holistic approach to public realm improvements at Exhibition Place to benefit all visitors from Toronto and beyond. These strategies provide a long-term framework to consider future improvement opportunities, including most recently the revitalization of Ontario Place, arise over time. The Provincial government’s announcement to revitalize the adjacent Ontario Place brings an opportunity to position Exhibition Place as part of a dynamic lakefront precinct, with improved connectivity and public realm improvements to maximize the use of the grounds. The development of a Master Plan is intended to provide a framework that articulates physical planning priorities to guide future decision-making.
Since this report was first drafted, the world has faced the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting economic uncertainty. Exhibition Place has seen the cancellation of numerous events at its various venues since mid-March, and staff advise they have proactively initiated discussions with the Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild regarding innovative strategies toward reopening the site. In this context, the Master Plan Proposals Report offers a first step toward a physical framework to support economic recovery, guiding the restoration of publicly accessible open spaces, and promoting flexibility and resilience in the use of civic assets. It also proposes a number of “quick start” actions that can be implemented in the short term to enhance mobility and connectivity to Exhibition Place as it begins to restore activity.
The Proposals Report represents the professional advice of City Planning staff following an eight-month study phase that included robust consultation, urban design analysis, planning policy review and development of preliminary ideas for feedback. Should the Board wish to advance the Master Plan through future phases, a series of technical and feasibility studies and further consultation are recommended to test and refine the proposed strategies prior to the completion of a final Master Plan for Exhibition Place.
Attachment 1 - Exhibition Place Master Plan Phase 1 Proposals Report - Part 1
Attachment 1 - Exhibition Place Master Plan Phase 1 Proposals Report - Part 2
Attachment 2 - Engagement Report