Call to Teams for Design Competition for Ontario Line East Joint Corridor

Metrolinx has launched a design competition to encourage teams to submit innovative urban design and landscape architecture solutions for the Ontario Line infrastructure that will be built around the existing rail corridor extending from Eastern Avenue to Gerrard Street in Toronto. Submissions to the first stage of the two-stage process, including team compositions and a sample of past projects, are due July 7. From the responses that are received, up to four teams will be selected to participate in the design competition.

The competition is a unique, first-of-its-kind collaboration between the communities surrounding the corridor and Metrolinx, combining the vision and goals from community groups and local BIAs with Metrolinx’s objectives for the rail expansion.

Renderings of future components of the Ontario Line’s eastern portiond

The objective of the competition is to solicit creative design solutions, responding to the challenge of integrating new transit infrastructure into established neighbourhoods. The site of the competition runs along both sides of a two-kilometer stretch of rail corridor which will accommodate both the new Ontario Line and the expansion of GO Transit (a regional express rail system). These boundary conditions could be a point of friction between the transit infrastructure and the adjacent urban context. Metrolinx is soliciting proposals that use design excellence principles to transform these interfaces into a unique urban environment that enhances the adjacent neighbourhoods, commercial streets, and parklands.

The scope of the design competition includes the rail corridor to retaining walls, abutments, bridge underpasses, station plazas, aesthetic lighting, murals and other landscape items within four Community Zones identified along the Joint Corridor. The goal for the competition is to achieve an innovative, integrated, context-sensitive design solution that is implementable. Embedded within the proposals there should be a focus on ecological performance and biodiversity.

The Ontario Line and Competition Site

The Ontario Line is a planned 15.6 km, 15-stop rapid transit line in Toronto connecting Exhibition Place, through downtown, to the Ontario Science Centre. While fostering community growth and development, the delivery of the Ontario Line requires a unified integration of new architectural, civic and landscape components into the existing urban form. The design and construction of this alliances will establish an enhanced user experience within the existing public realm.

Ontario Line’s proposed Joint Corridor is the area of this design competition. The “Joint Corridor” title denotes the 2 km stretch where two rail expansion projects overlap – Ontario Line two tracks on the west side and an additional new GO rail track on the east side of the rail corridor. The Joint Corridor area for this competition will run above ground from north of Eastern Avenue to south of Pape Avenue.

The Riverside and Leslieville neighbourhoods have developed in close proximity to the historic GO Transit rail corridor. To accommodate the additional volume of the Ontario Line plus the GO Transit electrification expansion, the rail corridor will be raised, widened, and bridges will be replaced. It is these infrastructural changes that have opened up the opportunity for Metrolinx to run a design competition for the Joint Corridor.

The winning team from the competition will receive a $100,000 honorarium for their design concept, and the three shortlisted design teams will receive honorariums of $25,000. The winning design concepts will be translated into tender documents by the Ontario Line Technical Advisor, contracted to Metrolinx.

The nine-person jury includes two community members from the Lakeshore East Community Advisory Committee, a representative for the Riverside and Leslieville BIAs, four architecture, urban, and landscape design professionals, a City of Toronto representative, and a Metrolinx representative.

For more information about the competition, visit: https://www.metrolinxengage.com/en/content/ontario-line-neighbourhood-updates-east-ontario-line-joint-corridor-design-competition

The formal Request Document and Design Brief are available at: https://www.metrolinx.merx.com

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