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Woodbine Master Plan Unveiled

Published: April 25, 2017 11:49 am ET

Last Comment: April 26, 2017 10:36 am ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Tuesday, April 25, the Woodbine Entertainment Group unveiled the completed master plan for the Woodbine Racetrack lands.

Woodbine’s privately owned 684-acre site will be transformed in the years to come into “a city within a within a city” and seek to be a future urban heart of northwest Toronto.

The vision for the plan is for Woodbine to continue to be the ultimate destination for horse racing and gaming, while integrating new expanded entertainment and cultural offerings, food and dining, hotel, shopping, office space, post-secondary education, recreation, health, wellness, and urban residential living.

The ‘city within a city’ concept is strategically designed to unlock the value of the undeveloped land, generating long-term revenues that will sustainably support WEG’s horse racing operations, and thousands of farming jobs in rural communities across Ontario.

“At the core of the project is the beauty of the horse,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, WEG. “With over 2,000 Thoroughbred horses stabled on site, approximately 200 acres will continue be devoted to horse racing operations at the centre of this unique development. The master plan sets out a detailed roadmap that will create thousands of new local jobs in the community, introduce new fans to the sport of horse racing and be a transformative project for the City of Toronto in the years to come.”

The catalyst for the first phase of development is an expanded gaming district complete with integrated entertainment, hospitality and related amenities. The first phase will attract approximately 12 to 15 million people per year; more than double the current number of visitors. Additionally, this transformation will create significant jobs and economic development in the northwest corner of Toronto.

An artist’s rendition of one of the aspects of the redevelopment that is being planned for Woodbine Racetrack in suburban Toronto, Ont. (Image courtesy WEG)

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is currently seeking a private sector service provider to operate the Slots at Woodbine Racetrack site and to propose an expanded entertainment development, consistent with the City of Toronto’s conditions. OLG expects to name a private sector provider in late summer 2017.

The master plan and development strategy was developed with LiveWorkLearnPlay (LWLP), WEG’s lead real estate development advisor. LWLP have led the planning and master development of towns, cities and large-scale mixed-use projects across North America and beyond. The master planning design process incorporated a dynamic group of industry-leading professionals, led by SWA Group, an international master planning, landscape architecture, and urban design firm, in collaboration with BCV Architects and Nelson Nygaard. A team of local experts lead by IBI Group and Walker Nott Dragicevic additionally supported the process.

“The Woodbine Racetrack site represents a unique legacy opportunity to develop a place that can offer enduring social and economic value to the city and region, while ensuring the sustainability of the horse racing industry,” said Richard Martz, Partner & Principal of LWLP. “WEG’s ambitious planning and development strategy has been designed to effectively respond to that context and opportunity.”

This dynamic, large-scale, city-building project will be comprised of multiple seamlessly integrated districts.

Garth Essery, Vice President, Property Development, WEG, presented the plan Tuesday while speaking on a panel about Transformative Placemaking at the Urban Land Institute’s Toronto Symposium.

“After almost two years of strategizing, researching, planning and designing, we are excited to share our exciting master plan for Woodbine’s unique 684-acre property – a site larger than Toronto’s downtown business district and with enormous potential given its history and location,” said Essery.

Also on the panel were representatives from prominent northwest Toronto landmarks Humber College and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The discussion centred on the plans and approach each group is employing as they work to urbanize their lands to create community vibrancy.


April 26, 2017 - 10:36 amWoodbine is not set up for

John Hill SAID...

Woodbine is not set up for viewing standardbred racing anyway. Mohawk is much more family friendly and has a huge population in the surrounding areas waiting to be introduced to harness racing with some promoting and marketing to them specifically in the local media.

April 26, 2017 - 12:36 amStandardbred horsemen dislike

Dean Nixon SAID...

Standardbred horsemen dislike the facility, the paddock was not well thought out, driving into the city at peak traffic times... Right now the fields are small and the barns at Woodbine aren't full. What will fill them? Competitive purses. Given the weakness of our dollar - more purse money will facilitate that. So with the new 21 year deal, who directs the purse accounts? Something to think about. I know I have.

April 25, 2017 - 1:12 pmIts wonderful they can stable

Its wonderful they can stable 2,000 thoroughbred horses and no standardbreds. That's what's wrong with racing today for harness racing - no barn area at the track anymore. They stable at a farm - higher cost for owner with stall rent and shipping to race. The little guy can't do it anymore.

April 25, 2017 - 12:44 pmAnd standardbreds are going

Dave Snowden SAID...

And standardbreds are going to race year round at Mohawk? See Jim Lawson's quote "introduce new fans to the sport of horse racing" (yes, 1 breed only!). 12-15 million visitors a year, but there will be a large portion of the year with no live racing at Woodbine. So 1/3 of the land is dedicated to thoroughbred racing and no standardbreds.

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