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