Making a 21st Century Village

For near­ly 30 years, the for­mer oil refin­ery known as the Impe­r­i­al Oil Lands in Port Cred­it, Mis­sis­sauga, sat emp­ty. Beyond the chain link fence, how­ev­er, was a true dia­mond in the rough: a 72-acre brown­field site which includes the last plot of prime water­front real estate. The site spans between Lakeshore Road to the north and Lake Ontario to the south, with the estab­lished res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood of Cran­ber­ry Cove to the west, and a her­itage dis­trict that pre­serves some of Mississauga’s ear­ly cot­tages beyond the Cred­it Riv­er to the east.

The pri­ma­ry goals for the rede­vel­op­ment and revi­tal­iza­tion of the brown­field site of the Impe­r­i­al Oil lands are to strength­en access to water­front and its ameni­ties, while re-ani­mat­ing the east­ern side of the Cred­it Riv­er. We cre­ate an urban pock­et south of Lakeshore Road that curates new places for meet­ing, liv­ing, work­ing, learn­ing, and con­nect­ing, now uni­fied by robust streets, green­ways, parks, and land­scape ele­ments that invite the pub­lic pedes­tri­an scale first.

The mas­ter­plan address­es the City’s ambi­tion to sec­tion the site into three zones: com­mer­cial, res­i­den­tial, and mixed-use cam­pus.

As Mas­ter­plan Archi­tect, GPA leads a com­plex team of land­scape, traf­fic, civ­il, and plan­ning con­sul­tants to deliv­er a com­plete com­mu­ni­ty of streets, squares, and parks, lined with mixed-use office, retail, cul­tur­al and res­i­den­tial build­ings includ­ing town­hous­es, mid-ris­es, and tow­ers.

Bright­wa­ter is envi­sioned as a con­tem­po­rary 21st Cen­tu­ry vil­lage that, despite its over­all size, is designed to oper­ate and ani­mate at the walk­a­ble human scale with a hier­ar­chy of pub­lic spaces and streets. As a holis­tic com­mu­ni­ty, it is designed to pro­vide an excep­tion­al qual­i­ty of life to its res­i­dents in a con­tem­po­rary set­ting, pro­vid­ing them with access to the water­front and best-in-class retail expe­ri­ences and ameni­ties. Inspired by ham­let towns like East Hamp­ton, it is the sym­bi­ot­ic con­nec­tion to the water that forms the foun­da­tion­al con­cept of the project.

The oil refin­ery on site was owned and oper­at­ed by mul­ti­ple par­ties over the last cen­tu­ry and closed in 1985.

The mas­ter­plan address­es and refines the City’s ambi­tion to sec­tion the site into three strate­gic zones: pri­ma­ry com­mer­cial, pri­ma­ry res­i­den­tial and mixed-use cam­pus. Brightwater’s north­ern edge along Lakeshore Road is lined with retail store­fronts, to draw the activ­i­ty and ani­ma­tion of Port Cred­it west­ward. The entrance to the devel­op­ment lies in its main arte­r­i­al road, Street A, which trav­els along the north/south axis from Lakeshore to the water­front. Street A widens to a prom­e­nade in the cen­ter of Bright­wa­ter, lead­ing to a pub­lic square, cam­pus court, and final­ly lake­front park—exposing res­i­dents to a diverse set of expe­ri­ences while draw­ing peo­ple from the main street to the water. There is inten­tion­al­ly no mate­r­i­al dis­tinc­tion between the side­walk and road, allow­ing for a seam­less pedes­tri­an expe­ri­ence. The cur­va­ture of Street A is designed to cre­ate a buffer from the harsh con­di­tions of the lake­front in the win­ter.

“(Bright­wa­ter is a) lake­front urban neigh­bour­hood of land­scapes, meet­ing places, liv­ing, work­ing… and draw­ing peo­ple to the water’s edge to play.” Kate McGillivray, CBC News

The south­ern end of the mas­ter­plan accom­mo­dates a cam­pus development—a series of build­ings arranged in a park-like set­ting. Each hosts com­mer­cial uses at ground lev­el and res­i­den­tial floors above, designed around a court­yard, with gath­er­ing spaces pro­tect­ed from the ele­ments. This zone is also slat­ed to house a pub­lic ameni­ty such as a recre­ation cen­ter. Holis­ti­cal­ly, the cam­pus accom­mo­dates pub­lic, edu­ca­tion­al, and cul­tur­al ameni­ties.

The Impe­r­i­al Oil site trans­formed.

Town­hous­es occu­py the east and west sides of Bright­wa­ter, which are adja­cent to exist­ing low-rise neigh­bor­hoods. These tran­si­tion to mid- and high-rise build­ings at the cen­ter of the devel­op­ment, which them­selves are sculpt­ed to pro­vide the appro­pri­ate street wall. They also form a sense of enclo­sure and pro­tec­tion from the ele­ments. The tow­ers derive the least amount of impact in terms of shad­ow to the adja­cent park and pub­lic realm spaces.

The town of East Hamp­ton pro­vid­ed inspi­ra­tion for its unique com­mu­ni­ty with gen­er­ous ameni­ties and water­front inte­gra­tion.

Oth­er notable pro­gram­ming of the site includes a block of Peel Region­al Hous­ing, pro­vid­ing afford­able hous­ing for over 150 fam­i­lies. Along the east­ern perime­ter, a new school will also be erect­ed with empha­sis on pro­vid­ing an abun­dance of out­door space for recre­ation­al activ­i­ties for stu­dents.

Pub­lic green­space is a cru­cial part of the Bright­wa­ter project. A main tenet of the mas­ter­plan aims to revi­tal­ize the park at the south­ern edge of the water­front. The inte­gra­tion of the two devel­op­ments near the park­way is exe­cut­ed by lead­ing trails around the build­ing. An open-air amphithe­ater sits in the cen­ter of the park, which is acces­si­ble for pub­lic pro­gram­ming like the­atre pro­duc­tions and con­certs.

Bright­wa­ter has already been rec­og­nized as a leader in city build­ing as recip­i­ent of the award for ‘Best New Com­mu­ni­ty’ by BILD.

Project Facts

  • Client

    Port Cred­it West Vil­lage Part­ners (an asso­ci­a­tion of Kilmer Group, Dream Unlim­it­ed, Dia­mond Corp, Fram Build­ing Group, Slokker Real Estate Group)

  • Location

    Port Cred­it, Mis­sis­sauga, Greater Toron­to Area, Ontario

  • Size

    72 acres includ­ing 18 acres of green­space, 2,500+ units and 400+ town­homes, 150 afford­able hous­ing units, 300,000 square feet of retail

  • Status

    Phase 1 Under Con­struc­tion

  • Affiliate Architect

    COBE Archi­tects
    Dia­mond Schmitt Archi­tects
    Turn­er Fleis­ch­er Archi­tects

  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Com­mis­sion­ing — Isotherm Engi­neer­ing Ltd.

    Plan­ning — Urban Strate­gies Inc., EQ Build­ing Per­for­mance Inc.

  • Renderings

    Cica­da Design
    Office In Search Of