Important spaces call for important surfaces to make them special.  Stones like Porphyry create surfaces that forever raise the the level of importance and contribute to special place-making.

Scope and Scale:

The revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront is the largest urban redevelopment project currently underway in North America, and it is one of the largest waterfront revitalization efforts ever undertaken in the world.

On a world scale,Toronto’s waterfront revitalization is almost unequalled in size. It’s larger than Lower Manhattan south of Houston Street, and four times the size of Monaco. To get a sense of its proportions on a local scale, the total area being redeveloped is 800 hectares (1,977 acres), which translates into an area roughly the size of Toronto’s downtown core, from Bathurst Street to Sherbourne Avenue and Front Street to Bloor Street.

According to Waterfront Toronto, it is “expected to take 25 years to complete, the new blue edge will create approximately 40,000 new residences and 40,000 new jobs. This will complement and leverage the attributes of our great city.”


Central Waterfront – Queens Quay:

Queens Quay sidewalk before

One section of the overall revitalization, Queens Quay, a $110 million devoted to a 3.5 kilometer stretch of downtown waterfront is destined to become a North American version of the Champs Elysee.  The team of West 8, the Rotterdam landscape architect and DTAH of Toronto are transforming what might be among the world’s ugliest streets into a new urban promenade.  The streetscape overhaul is ambitious.  Among other things, the plan will extend the width of sidewalks between Lower Spadina Avenue to Bay Street, pave the walkway with granite stones, take out two lanes of traffic and plant three long columns of trees.

Queens Quay Sidewalks After resized 600 


Toronto is one of the last major waterfront cities to redevelop its waterfront.  After the Second World War,Toronto’s relationship with its waterfront changed. With industry concentrated along the waterfront, the downtown core became undesirable as a place to live. For decades, the wealthy moved from the industrial urban areas to the cleaner suburbs. As cars became more accessible to more people,Toronto residents moved out of the downtown core to the outlying areas. However, since many of the jobs were still in downtown industrial areas, major roads and highways were needed to enable people to commute.

Toronto Waterfront 1938 resized 600 

At the time, highways were built as rings around cities. For most cities located beside water, a portion of that ring was built on or near the waterfront.Toronto was no different, and in the 1950s the Gardiner Expressway was built, effectively cutting the people off from the lake.

In the 1970s, a sort of Urban Revolution was changing the world, and cities started to rediscover their waterfronts. Major cities around the world not only redeveloped their waterfronts, they used their regeneration projects to catapult themselves onto the world stage. Their newly developed waterfronts attracted more residents, more employers, more jobs and more visitors.

All photos courtesy Waterfront Toronto


Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These beautiful materials are available from Milestone Imports.   Milestone supports the creativity of architects, planners and designers. Porphyry offers surfaces of various finishes and mixed colorings, tending towards tones of grey, gold, violet and red, depending on where it is extracted.  –