Driving the Transformation of Toronto’s North End
The site of the former Downsview Airport and surrounding land, an area comparable in size to that of downtown Toronto, will now be transformed into a vibrant community setting new standards within sustainability, climate resiliency and public health.
The project is carried out on behalf of Northcrest Development and Canada Lands Company, and both Ramboll and Henning Larsen have leading roles: Henning Larsen is leading the entire masterplan project, and Ramboll is leading the parts related to integrated infrastructure, sustainability, and resilience. The project hence proves the value and synergy created by the merger between Ramboll and Henning Larsen.
The site includes the 370 acres that comprise the Downsview Airport and is located just north of Highway 401 and situated along numerous public transit arteries (including the Toronto subway) offering seamless connection to and across the Toronto metropolitan area.
The site presents a huge opportunity to build onto the existing qualities such as the industrial heritage buildings and revitalize them into active public spaces. There is also plenty of opportunity potential to build on the biodiversity and ravines of Toronto as a basis for sustainable urban growth that brings together the local community.
The first stage will be dedicated to developing the design framework for Downsview alongside the local community in a participatory process. Originally planned as gatherings at the site, the in-person engagement process has been reshaped into a digital one that locals can tap into via introductory videos, online forums, digital focus groups, community mapping platforms and several other tools coordinated by a dedicated webpage.
The digital process, which will continue through 2020, allows continued project development and safe community input in spite of the social-distancing rules imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Henning Larsen and Ramboll will be supported by local Toronto firms KPMB Architects and Urban Strategies Inc., Danish landscape architects SLA, and engineers from Transsolar. The digital community engagement processes will be additionally supported by Swerhun Inc., and the Department of Words and Deeds.