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Political Science Regional Planning

Reshaping Toronto's Waterfront

edited by Gene Desfor & Jennefer Laidley

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Initial publish date
May 2011
Regional Planning, Environmental Policy, General, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2011
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


Large-scale development is once again putting Toronto's waterfront at the leading edge of change. As in other cities around the world, policymakers, planners, and developers are envisioning the waterfront as a space of promise and a prime location for massive investments. Currently, the waterfront is being marketed as a crucial territorial wedge for economic ascendancy in globally competitive urban areas.

Reshaping Toronto's Waterfront analyses how and why 'problem spaces' on the waterfront have become 'opportunity spaces' during the past hundred and fifty years. Contributors with diverse areas of expertise illuminate processes of development and provide fresh analyses of the intermingling of nature and society as they appear in both physical forms and institutional arrangements, which define and produce change. Reshaping Toronto's Waterfront is a fundamental resource for understanding the waterfront as a dynamic space that is neither fully tamed nor wholly uncontrolled.

About the authors

Gene Desfor is a professor emeritus and senior scholar in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.

Gene Desfor's profile page

Jennefer Laidley holds an MES in Urban Planning from the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.

Jennefer Laidley's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Reshaping Toronto’s Waterfront offers a comprehensive overview of the city’s ever-changing shoreline. Readers will learn about the monumental decisions and socio-economic pressures that have transformed Toronto’s waterfront for over two hundred years. They will also be reminded of the territorial battles between all levels of government that have been going on for over a century, and most disturbingly, continue to be played out to this day. If we want to know how Toronto’s lakeshore has ended up in its current state, we have to learn from the mistakes and successes that dot its history. Reshaping Toronto’s Waterfront is a good place to get your history lesson.’

Matthew Blackett, publisher, <em>Spacing</em>

‘The book provides an insightful historical sketch and critical analysis of the variegated socio-natural processes of waterfront development to urban historians, scholars of urban environmental history, urbanists, city planners, scholars of local politics, students as well as activists.’

Urban Studies vol 51:04:2014