Quayside is a planned neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Formerly dockland and industrial uses, a new housing development is being built between East Bayfront and Port Lands. The new neighbourhood, on 4.9 hectares (12 acres) of land on Toronto’s waterfront, is being planned by Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., as a smart city in a project named Sidewalk Toronto.
The project began as a Request for Proposals by Waterfront Toronto in March 2017 and made official in October 2017. Sidewalk Labs has committed $50 million and one year’s worth of engagement to develop a plan for execution. Either the company or Waterfront Toronto could still decide to back out, though the two partners have also formed a third entity, called “Sidewalk Toronto,” devoted to bringing the lakeside property to life. It has been noted by senior city officials that the current deal does not give Sidewalk Labs the right to develop land or avoid government approvals.
The area will be bounded by Gardiner Expressway to the north, Bonnycastle Street to the west, Queen's Quay East (from Bonnycastle east up the eastern side of Parliament Street Slip) and east by Victory Soya Mills Silos. While the area east of the Parliament Slip is vacant other than berthing for Toronto Harbour Cruises ships, a number of low rise businesses reside along the north side of Queen's Quay East. The parcels of land included in the project are:
- Quayside Development Block
- Parliament Development Lands
- 333 Lake Shore Boulevard East - former site of the Sunsoy Products Limited linked with the Victory Soya Mills Silos and now parking lot since 1996.
The area will be home to new business, residential buildings and public space. The area will be dubbed as green by encouraging use of electric vehicles and an onsite power generation station using renewable energy.
The project has also attracted significant controversy, particularly relating to the terms of agreement and also privacy concerns. The contract between Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto has been shrouded in secrecy. Board members of Waterfront Toronto, a city, Ontario and federal partnership, had only four days to review the deal to work with Sidewalk Labs for a year on development plans — before signing. Toronto city councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, the sole city representative on the Waterfront Toronto board, has called for the agreement to be made public beyond the 4 page summary that is currently available, stating "I know enough about the agreement that I think you would like to know more about the agreement." He also made a failed motion to make public the Sidewalk Labs contract at the last board meeting. Privacy concerns have also been brought up by numerous experts, who note the incentives for parent company Alphabet to collect personal data from residents and visitors. Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff has stated that while data sharing isn’t in Sidewalk Labs’s ethos, he can’t say with definitive certainty what will happen with the information collected in Quayside. That’s because, at this stage, it isn’t clear who will own the data.
- "Christopher Hume's Project of the Year: Google's Quayside".
- "quayside". www.waterfrontoronto.ca.
- "If Google Were Mayor".
- "Cracks appear in Sidewalk Labs' Toronto waterfront plan after fanfare" – via The Globe and Mail.
- "Waterfront Toronto Takes First Step in Building Quayside: A New Community That Will Provide Testbed for Solutions to Pressing Urban Challenges". www.newswire.ca.
- "The Technology Behind Sidewalk Toronto's Concept Images - Urban Toronto". urbantoronto.ca.
- Austen, Ian (December 29, 2017). "City of the Future? Humans, Not Technology, Are the Challenge in Toronto". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
- "The risks of becoming a Google city | The Star". thestar.com.
- "Smart communities need smart governance" – via The Globe and Mail.
- "Despite Google ties, Sidewalk Labs CEO says there's no intent to sell data from Toronto smart city project". GeekWire. November 27, 2017.