This Strategic Framework & Tactical Plan is the culmination of a 5-month process undertaken by LiveWorkLearnPlay (LWLP) between February and June 2017 in collaboration with The Waterfront Business Improvement Area (WBIA).
This report provides an overview assessment – from a real estate, planning and economic development perspective – of the WBIA’s challenges and opportunities, as well as a strategic framework incorporating implementable tactics to guide future WBIA initiatives in its role as “the voice of the Waterfront’s business community”.
At the outset, the WBIA and LWLP collectively determined two overarching goals that are considered most crucial to the successful evolution of the WBIA and the Central Waterfront, and which guided the strategies developed in this report:
- Creating a City Destination
The first goal is to make the WBIA a city destination – one that Toronto residents seek out, and spend time and money at, on a consistent basis. For the area to grow from its current standing as a solely seasonal destination into an economically vibrant neighbourhood that is active year-round, it must be one that provides compelling reasons for locals to visit repeatedly.
- Evolving into a Waterfront City
The second goal is to see the City of Toronto shift from being a “city with a waterfront” into a globally-competitive “Waterfront City”. Despite great efforts made to-date, Toronto’s waterfront does not yet compete on a global stage, nor reap associated economic benefits of increased tourism and spending. However, Toronto must first service its local population before undertaking bolder transformations.
Following extensive outreach with key stakeholders and analysis of the WBIA’s geographic and physical conditions, policy context, and current market realities, LWLP distilled what currently is and is not working in the WBIA, as it relates to achieving its two stated goals. The objective of this analytical framework is to generate a clear set of strategies and associated tactics that maximize those elements that are currently working and seek to remedy those that are not.