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Ontario's 4 Best Brownfield Redevelopment Projects

The Canadian Urban Institute handed out Brownie Awards last week, its annual tip of the cap to brownfield projects that catalyze neighbourhood reinvestment. Here’s a look at Ontario's winners.

1. Queen Richmond Centre West


Location: 134 Peter St

Award: Best overall, building scale

Developer/Owner: Allied Properties REIT

Why it won: Newly opened QRC West is a poster child for urban intensification, a modernized heritage warehouse with a new 17-storey glass box perched above it. The building boasts 300k SF of office space, with 14k SF of retail. Coolest part: the steel structures that support the rooftop addition run through QRC West’s glass-walled atrium.

2. Queens Quay Revitalization


Location: Queens Quay West

Award: Best overall, neighbourhood scale

Developer: Waterfront Toronto

Why it won: Spanning 1.7 km from Spadina to Bay, this $130M project has transformed the main waterfront drag into a public realm showpiece. Condos and ground-floor retail front a tree-lined granite pedestrian promenade that co-exists (mostly) peacefully alongside a new bike lane, two lanes of car traffic and a dedicated LRT line in the middle.

3. Meridian Centre


Location: St Catharines

Award: Project development, neighbourhood scale

Owner: City of St. Catharines

Why it won: This 160k SF, 5,300-seat entertainment complex, home to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, was built on a parking lot created when parts of the old canal system were paved over. The centre repurposes an underutilized site and the city hopes it'll spur further growth downtown. Pedestrian bridges connect the complex to surrounding areas.

4. Zibi


Location: Ottawa/Gatineau

Award: Communications, marketing and public engagement

Developer: Windmill Development Group, Dream Unlimited Corp

Why it won: On a 37-acre waterfront site between Ottawa and Gatineau once occupied by a paper mill, Zibi (named for the Algonquin word for river), will have condos, a hotel, waterfront parks and green spaces, and a network of pedestrian and cycling paths. The community will also feature a district-wide energy system.