Doug Ford envisions highly developed waterfront

Doug Ford says he'd like to see a monorail, a mall and a hotel as part of the redevelopment of the port lands.

Ford called Waterfront Toronto 'a boondoggle'

Toronto Coun. Doug Ford has outlined his vision for a revitalized Toronto waterfront. ((Waterfront Toronto))

 A staff report to be considered by Toronto's executive committee will recommend that the city take control of the port lands from Ottawa and the province.

Both levels of government have contributed about $500 million to the Waterfront Toronto plan —but it now seems the city wants to take over the agency and set about developing a much grander project which would include a monorail, hotels, malls and residential property.

On Tuesday Toronto Coun. Doug Ford — brother of Mayor Rob Ford — outlined his ideas for the port lands on CBC's Metro Morning.

In a wide-ranging interview Doug Ford said although nothing is official yet, the development plan made quite a stir when it was revealed to an unspecified group recently. 

"We had 15 people in the room and everyone's jaw just dropped when they saw it. It is spectacular, just spectacular."

Ford — who is on record calling Waterfron Toronto 'a boondoggle' — said his vision is for a "monorail system that's running right from the [site of the] Pan Am Games ... along the lakefront and stops at Union Station and Ontario Place ..."

The first-term councillor said the monorail would also head east to Cherry Street. "And as it goes down Cherry St. the first stop would be right at the end of the pier.

"You would have some just beautiful iconic buildings, hotels, you'd be able to get to the hotel from boat, from train or from the airport and it'd be the only hotel that you'd be able to get off the plane, throw your luggage in a boat and pull right into the lobby and unload it.


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Ford went on to muse about a giant mall that would house some of the biggest retailers in the world.

"It would be 1.6 million square feet of one of the most prestigious malls in Canada. We'd try to attract Nordstrom and Bloomingdales and Macy’s," he said.

Ford says the private sector would fund the project.

"People from all over the world are calling us with billion of dollars to invest," he said, "and Toronto's open for business."

Waterfront Toronto is currently in charge the roughly 450 acre site. Ford says the agency has no plans to develop it. 

But John Campbell, the CEO of Waterfront Toronto, says there is a plan for a residential community.

A lengthy environmental assessment that includes flood protection plans has also been done, he said, which included extensive community consultation.

Campbell says "if there is a focus for an entertainment precinct it probably, in our view, should be at Ontario Place or the exhibition grounds."

Paula Fletcher, the councillor whose ward includes the port lands, says everybody has ideas for the redevelopment of the waterfront but "they need to be tested in the public engagement process."