MAKING RIVER CITY tells the story of a contaminated, flood-prone, industrial zone forked by two highways, in a semi-abandoned area of Toronto…and its eventual transformation into an iconic gateway that ushers you into one of the premiere cities in the world.
River City was never meant to be just a series of residential buildings, it was envisioned as a community, a unique environment for Torontonians. A rare coup of this project was having the public and private sectors working in unison in the residential space. The unifying link? Sharing a common goal: building a world-class community and outstanding public spaces. From the architecture’s living, moving feel, to the green spaces, to the creation of urban skate parks in the under path, River City is a tribute to the people of Toronto and it proves that it is possible for these sectors to come together and create the icons of the future.
This short documentary—a finalist in the CTBUH Awards— explores the potential that the architects and developer saw in a site that for decades was deemed impossible to build on. A project plagued with a myriad unknowns and high risks…and yet the team forged ahead. We take you through its conceptualization to its design thought-process and the vast engineering challenges faced by a team that LITERALLY was thinking outside the box. (In this case, hundreds of cantilevered boxes!)
We knew we didn’t want to use a typical narrative video to tell this unique story. Only a documentary that included the different voices of those who contributed to the project, would do this seventeen-year-in-the-making dream justice. These voices, from the public and private sectors, ended up determining the flow of the video.
In the end, MAKING RIVER CITY proves you can set a new standard for what a private developer can do to contribute to the public realm and that you can create iconic buildings in the residential market. In turn, River City has become the gateway that Toronto always deserved and few thought it would ever have.