Canada Malting Silo Site
On Toronto's Waterfront

(Open Letter to George Cope, Bell Globemedia)

For: George Cope, Bell Globemedia
Subject: Proposed Bell Communications Center on Toronto Waterfront

Introduction: Toronto’s Waterfront is transforming into one of the finest development projects in the world, and there are numerous possibilities for participation.

Toronto Waterfront Silo Site. The City of Toronto is developing plans with Build Toronto for a prime development site on Toronto’s Waterfront, near the Island Airport. Located by Harbourfront Center and Ontario Place, this is possibly the most valuable real estate in Toronto at this time, depending on how it’s developed.

Harbourfront Community Association is proposing that the land be developed in a special way, to reflect its unique location, near Harbourfront Center, Ontario Place Exhibition Place, CN Tower and the Skydome. Truly there’s no place like it.

One proposal under consideration is to create a communications center on this waterfront land, which can impress the world with its design, and serve as a broadcasting facility / communications complex at the center of the northern hemisphere.

This is an ideal location for a communications company that wishes to develop its public profile around the world, for this is surely a one in a lifetime location.

There are always priorities and plans to consider, but this proposal should be considered as a possibility, because of it’s extremely large potential for long term media exposure and publicity benefits. If done well, this site could become almost as famous as the Sydney Opera House, a waterfront icon for the northern hemisphere.

It’s interesting to note that other communications companies, including Corus are already located on Toronto’s Waterfront. Rogers Communications has a TV station across the street from the proposed silo site location. If you visit this waterfront site by the Malting Silos, you’ll see what we mean about it’s unique location & potential. Some of this showcase space has theme park potential, which could also add value.

If you’d like more information on the great potential of this unique silo location, you can contact the Harbourfront Community Association @

For planning enquiries, please follow up with city officials responsible for this project, Adam Vaughan, Toronto City Council, and Derek Ballantyne, VP & COO Build Toronto

Thank you for your consideration of the malting site Bell World Communications Center proposal.

Canada Malting Site Survey

Review these Options and Proposals for use of the Malting Site lands.
State your preferences publicly, by emailing your city councilor.

Question #1:   Of these 2 Options, which option do you prefer - Private or Public Ownership?

Private Ownership Option. Repair the silos minimally for $8 million, and to cover the costs, sell the land to private interests.

Background Info: The city can spend $8 million to keep the silos standing, but it would require a lot of money to maintain the buildings. If the silos are kept up in this way, the land may have to be sold to the highest bidder to cover high annual maintenance costs.

Public Ownership Option. Remove some parts and restore the silo lands over time as a Partial Heritage Site for public use.

Background Info: If not repaired immediately, the silos will deteriorate to an unusable condition within 2 years. Taking no action immediately delays costly decisions, but seals the fate of the silos as a partial heritage site. For example, the circular footprints of the malting silos could be transformed into four foot high swimming pools.

Question #2:  Of these 7 Proposals for silo land use, which do you prefer? ( Select two )

1.       Community Facilities, Cultural Facilities, Public Facilities

2.       Small commercial businesses serving the community

3.       Large commercial interests, hotels, private offices

4.       Toronto Community Housing, Coop Residences

5.       Private Developments, Condos, Townhouses

6.       Port Authority, Island Airport uses

7.       Metronome Music Center

If you want to receive survey results
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This survey is part of a healthy community exchange. Please continue discussing these community options and proposals with your neighbors.

Express your opinions publicly by emailing your personal preferences to your city councilor. Find city council email addresses at

Public Comments on the Canada Malting Silo Survey

I would like to see uses at the silos site that contribute to the preservation of some of the historical value of the site; also to service, nurture and be compatible with both the local community and those visiting the waterfront for recreational purposes.

There are interesting solutions being found in Europe for this style of silo, that I think would be helpful in solving some problems that these Silos present. I have recently sent Mayor Miller and Councillor Vaughn this information.

My cousin Peter Fransham is looking for a showcase home for a new and uniquely Canadian forward thinking green technology. The silos would provide an ideal space for a very small scale version of a plant providing gasification of biomasses for direct energy generation. The process is clean and quiet. A showcase place for local green bin conversion... I can provide a more specific proposal, if something like this could be considered. - Corby

The City needs to own more space on the waterfront particularly heritage and cultural sites.

The first question in the survey is tough. Are there not other choices?

Question #1 does not make it clear how to keep the land out of the clutches of the TPA.

I would like to see the silos come down. If they can't come down, then they need major work to be used for anything and I don't think it's worth the money.

The silos are fundamental to Toronto waterfront history and should be made secure and part of the waterfront scene even if they stand unoccupied in a forest of indigenous trees.

After ten years of debate no useful purpose can be found for the silos. They should be taken down and no tax money use for their preservation. The best use of the land would be Park.

I think that the silos are an eyesore and should be taken down completely. I think there is very little heritage value in restoring these structures, especially to the tune of $8 million plus. That money could be spent more wisely!

We need more retail and commercial development!!!

Is there no alternative to institutional sententiousness or commercial crassness? Something charming, current, thoughtful, playful...? Just hoping.

This is a unique area that is slowly growing into a neighborhood. I believe it is important for us to keep the distinctive look of the malting plant and the silos. They are part of what makes this area special. We must be careful that private commercial investment not be allowed to set the conditions for any changes that are made.

Please, please not Port Authority or anything to do with Porter Air. Let's not let them destroy our neighborhood any further!

Anything but Port Authority uses! Parkland, full community access that is safe, recreational and does not bring more traffic (car, bus. etc) to the area.

NEVER, never, never, never allow Port Authority and Island Airport use of this land.

Most of the waterfront has been given/sold to thieves. Let's leave at least some of it to the people who live in the city.

PLEASE do not let the Port Authority get a hold of this land. They are already abusing the airport land! The silos are a dangerous building full of bats and rats and serve no real cultural of historical purpose.

Those who are attempting to make a heritage case or historical case for maintaining these poorly designed industrial relics must speak up soon or otherwise be held to account for the assessment value lost over the past decades.

The loss of public access to Toronto's waterfront is shameful and lacks any kind of long term insight. At this stage of the game we need to grab hold of any bit of it that we can.

We love the option of a public swimming pool and/or more housing for those less fortunate.

Old buildings add character to a city. Remove some parts, light it up from the ground as they do at the parliament or to old churches in Europe and be proud of the city heritage.

I honestly believe the best solution would to tear it down. It's a dilapidated industrial facility with no obvious conversion value. The silos probably can't, without major structural redesigns, be converted into habitable structures. Their profiles are too slim, and I would be surprised if the supporting walls could support grafting ~6 stories of stuff onto the inside, plus supports like elevators, ventilation, emergency stairs, plumbing and so forth.

I would like it to be torn down and made into the Metronome Music Center or private developments.

As a neighbor to this ‘revitalization killer’, I am shocked that the option to ‘remove silos completely and expand park and playground or top of them’ was not included as an option to be voted on!? How is this possible since this is by far and away the most popular option.

When I moved here in 2004 there was great chatter about The Metronome! Then a museum with no public infrastructure to support it! Something is happening there now. Not sure what. I hope it is demolition and making way for more parkland to support the school/community centre next door!

Participate in your Community

If you would like to participate in the creation of a better community
consider contributing some time and talent to your favorite community projects.
There are many community groups that can benefit from your participation and
everyone is welcome at the Harbourfront Community Centre.

For more information, contact