Waterworks is a hybrid, mixed-use space that rehabilitates, conserves, and expands an industrial heritage site through the integration of diverse programs – not only supporting the life of its residents, but the greater community and urban experience.

The design combines food-focused retail, a fully serviced YMCA with extensive social facilities dedicated to health and wellness, a mid-rise condominium with family-oriented dwellings, including affordable housing, and an existing youth shelter. The combination of these diverse programmatic elements breaks down socio-economic barriers, catalyzing and activating the St. Andrew’s Playground neighbourhood.

Situated at the northern edge of Toronto’s oldest public playground, the scheme is defined by a 1932 City of Toronto Waterworks building which spans an entire city block. The entirety of the existing Art Deco style of the building is retained and restored, and establishes opportunities for new pedestrian connections and pathways through the block enhancing neighbourhood connectivity and porosity.

Re-establishing and adjusting glazed openings along the south façade gives pedestrians direct access from the Great Hall and St. Andrew’s Playground. The introduction of glazed entries at the east and west ends of the Great Hall extend the public realm through the building with the creation of a new mid-block outdoor courtyard.

Three new building wings, twelve floors in height are positioned above the heritage wings to protect daylight access to the heritage skylights which run the entire length of the urban block above the Great Hall. The wings accommodate the Gymnasium, 25 m Pool and program areas of the YMCA as well as 288 residential units which surround a south facing outdoor courtyard at the Fourth Floor Level.

By bringing new life to an industrial heritage site, Waterworks expresses a holistic approach to retaining the stories of our cities, while setting the stage for new narratives and opportunities for urban transformation, making a significant contribution to the quality of life within the neighbourhood.

Client MOD Developments / Woodcliffe Landmark Properties
Completion 2022

Photography doublespace photography, Joy von Tiedemann

Awards See all project awards
2024 Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) National Awards for Housing Excellence – Best Mid- to High-Rise Building
2023 BiLD Awards – Best Community Build
2022 Toronto Heritage Award, Heritage Toronto – Adaptive Reuse
Team See full project team