39 Queens Quay East
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No.9 Presents 13 panels by architecture students from the University of Waterloo's 3rd year course, Creative Instincts and Architectural Imagination. Each panel depicts a student's vision for the transformation of the Toronto Island Airport into a public leisure and outdoor space.
The Toronto islands hold a rich cultural history for the city and its residents. As a landmass made up of sand and sediment carried by Lake Ontario currents, their shape was always shifting. In the early to mid 1800s there was a pathway that led from York to Gibraltar Point, connecting the islands to the mainland. This connection was broken during some severe storms in 1858 and was never repaired. Life on the island continued to thrive with cottages, Victorian homes to some of the wealthiest Torontonians, hotels, an amusement park, and a baseball stadium. However, as erosion and high lake levels continued to cause damage to the properties on the island, in 1956 its care was transferred from the City of Toronto to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto to be developed as a regional park.
Today, the islands as we know them are maintained by rock walls that protect the land from erosion. As Toronto's population grows the islands' potential to serve as a much-needed space for outdoor leisure activity also increases. The student projects displayed in this exhibition propose that there is an opportunity to strengthen Toronto's core by providing refuge for busy urban lives with easily accessible recreational, outdoor, and agricultural zones. Although the majority of projects focus on the reclamation of the Toronto Island Airport, the project itself suggests the potential of a re-imagined vision for the entire Toronto waterfront. Such a vision would ease the inevitable densification of the urban core, and allow the development of more sustainable and more efficient patterns of settlement.
Curated by Andrew Levitt and Victoria Taylor