Join Sidewalk Labs on Saturday, July 21, from 12–6 p.m. at 307 for Open Sidewalk: Nature and the City.

This month, 307 takes you on a journey through Nature and the City, a set of projects, experiments, and experiences that focus on how communities can embrace nature to become healthier and far more sustainable.

We want to share some of our thinking about fostering a climate-positive community that learns and readily adapts innovation to achieve new levels of environmental sustainability while maintaining reasonable costs. Some of the ideas are disarmingly simple. Biophilic design — or infusing our cities with natural elements such as wood, dappled lighting, plants — has been scientifically proven to make us feel better. Similarly, tall timber construction techniques are still in early, but promising, phases for high-rise construction. We believe that by incorporating nature into our spaces — our buildings, our public spaces, or our entire neighbourhood design — we can create spaces that deeply improve quality of life.

What is 307?

We’ve transformed an old fish processing plant and parking lot into an experimental work space — 307 is where Sidewalk Labs works every day in Toronto and is open to the public every weekend. Inside and outside, we’re exploring some of the ideas that could become part of this future neighbourhood and establishing an open venue for community collaboration. We’re excited to co-create and share our explorations with you as the Sidewalk Toronto project evolves.

Who Is Invited?

You! And anyone else you know who is interested in the past and future of Toronto. RSVP by clicking the REGISTER button right here on this page.

Come See This Month’s Explorations-in-Progress

Through the Forest: Biophilic Design Experience (12–6pm — Main Hall)

Biophilic design evokes the feeling of nature in the built environment and, when incorporated into urban neighbourhoods, has been shown to measurably improve quality of life. At Sidewalk Labs, we’re exploring the potential for biophilic design to create more vibrant and healthy places. As you walk into the 307 Main Hall, you will enter a space that feels like a forest clearing. Made in partnership with the architectural design firm Parasoleil, this experience mimics the sensation of dappled light through tree canopies. This natural lighting effect is not only one that people enjoy — it’s been shown to postively stimulate the brain.

Mass Timber: Tall Timber Buildings (12–6pm — Main Hall)

Engineered wooden towers are the skyscrapers of the future and a building typology that we are excited about exploring at Sidewalk Labs. Whereas every tonne of cement used in a building creates 900 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions, engineered wood acts as a carbon sink. Construction of engineered timber projects also generates far less noise pollution for urban neighbourhoods, and the structures can be erected much faster using modular techniques. We invite you to learn about tall timber design, construction, and uses in structures around the world in this detailed visual exploration.

Biophilic Design with Bill Browning (3pm — Main Hall)

We all know that we have a connection to nature, even though we spend most of our days indoors. What if we could bring a little bit of the outdoors inside? In fact, we can design buildings that incorporate nature into our everyday lives. Buildings that do this can not only make us feel better but may also improve our health. Mass timber construction is one way to create this connection with nature, enabling architects to safely feature the warm and inviting feeling of wood in city buildings.

To learn more about new ways of designing nature into the city, join us for a talk with Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green. Browning is one of the green building and real estate industry’s foremost thinkers and strategists, and an advocate for sustainable design solutions at all levels of business, government, and civil society. He writes and lectures widely on sustainable design and building practices, and is a globally recognized expert in biophilic design.

City Colours: The Toronto Ink Company (12–5pm — Small Hall)

Even in the most unexpected corners of the city — including Quayside — you can find both nature and art inspired by it. Join us on an exploration in making colour from a city with Jason Logan of the Toronto Ink Company. Learn about the history of ink-making with native and invasive weeds of Toronto as well as other street-harvested materials. Then join a hands-on session highlighting the surprises and capabilities of natural inks. Find colour and creativity in the strangest nooks and crannies of the city, get a sense of the colour-ecology of Toronto, and be inspired to think of our neighbourhoods in new, inky ways.

Pedal Power! (12–6pm — Exterior)

Outside of 307, you’ll learn how you and a bicycle can create a wholly different type of renewable energy — at least as long as your energy keeps up. Transform yourself from consumer to “prosumer”: a human-powered, sustainable energy source that produces electricity. We’ll have two stations set up for your pedaling pleasure:

  • Phone Charging Station by Tune Your Ride.Cycle away and charge up your device! This bicycle-powered phone-charging station allows up to 10 devices to be charged at a time.
  • Bicycle-Powered Blender Smoothies and Bike Clinic by Charlie’s Freewheels and Ya Bikes!Ever wanted a tasty smoothie made entirely with your own pedaling might? We’ve brought in an innovative smoothie machine designed and built by youths working with Charlie’s Freewheels in collaboration with Schön Studio. They’ve made hundreds of delicious blended treats all over the city since building this amazing machine last summer — and we count ourselves lucky that they’re stopping by! Plus, Ya Bikes! returns to 307 for another full-day bike clinic, offering complimentary safety checks, assessments, adjustments, minor repairs, and advice.
More Prototypes at 307
  • The Dynamic Street tests modular pavement and lights that can be programmed to give more street space to pedestrians, more of the time.
  • Building Blocks explores flexible ways for communities to make outdoor furniture.
  • Navigating 307, a partnership with Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s ShopTalk program and BlindSquare, tests how Bluetooth beacons for the blind and visually impaired can help visitors navigate an ever-evolving space like 307.
  • Plan Your Neighbourhood explores a new data-driven approach to urban planning known as “generative design.”
Market 307

Food and non-alcoholic drinks are available to purchase all day from 12–6pm in Market 307, led by Scadding Court Community Centre, local leaders pioneering new opportunities for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. This month we’re featuring delicious options from Scadding Court Community Centre’s Newcomer Entrepreneurship Program:

Getting to 307

307 is located at 307 Lake Shore Boulevard East (at the base of Queens Quay East and Parliament Street). There are a number of options for getting there:

  • Bike Share: We’re thrilled to celebrate the first Bike Share Toronto station on Quayside, located at Parliament and Lake Shore Boulevard East.
  • Cycling: Bike parking is available at 333 Lake Shore Boulevard East. There is limited bike parking onsite.
  • Bus: 307 is accessible by TTC on the 72B Pape.
  • Wheel-trans: A designated drop-off/pick-up point can be found on the east side of Small Street, between Parliament Street and Lakeshore Boulevard East.
  • Parking: Pay parking is available at 333 Lakeshore Boulevard East (enter from Parliament Street).
Accessibility at 307

Site and select washrooms are wheelchair accessible. ASL-English interpretation will be available for this event. Find out more about accessibility at 307 with our PDF guide. Please reach out to our team at should you have any questions about accessibility.

Who Is Behind 307 and Open Sidewalk?

307 and Open Sidewalk are a massive collaboration with many extraordinary new friends and partners from Toronto, Canada, and around the world. The architectural transformation of the 307 building has been led by Lebel and Boulaine and Govan Brown. Daily Tous Les Jours and illustrator Cecile Gariepy are the designers behind the identity of the building and our flexible system for experimentation. Bowery Project has created the outdoor Learning Garden. The Dynamic Street prototype is designed with Carlo Ratti Associati. The Plan Your Neighbourhood prototype is designed with KPFUI and Daily Tous Les Jours. Plus, Ya Bikes! and Charlie’s Freewheels are animating 307’s Bike Station.

Partners and Performers
  • Bike Share Toronto: Bike Share Toronto has opened a brand new hub onsite, adding to their network of over 270 stations and 2,750 bikes. The 307 team is thrilled to offer this enjoyable and cost-effective mobility option on Quayside.
  • Bill Browning: Bill Browning is one of the green building and real estate industry’s foremost thinkers and strategists, and an advocate for sustainable design solutions at all levels of business, government, and civil society. He is a co-author of the books Green Development: Integrating Ecology and Real Estate, A Primer on Sustainable Building, and Biophilic Design, as well as many related reports, including “Greening the Building and the Bottom Line, “The Economics of Biophilia,” and “Midcentury (un)Modern.”
  • Bowery Project: Bowery Project is a not-for-profit organization that designs, builds, and manages mobile urban farms all across downtown Toronto; growing food for local chefs/restaurants and charitable organizations, while engaging the community through fun, creative, and educational programming. For more on the Bowery Project’s Learning Garden, check out our 307 page.
  • Charlie’s Freewheels: Charlie’s Freewheels is a non-profit organization that’s on a mission to inspire a spirit of exploration using bicycles to mobilize, empower, and engage young people. Ya Bikes! offers two things: non-judgemental bike repair and the occasional joke. Their goal is to make sure your bike is safe and  roadworthy.
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind: The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is a 100-year-old not-for-profit and Canada’s leading provider of support for people who are blind or partially sighted to have the confidence, skills, and opportunities to fully participate in life.
  • Scadding Court Community Centre: Scadding Court Community Centre is leading our Market 307. They are a local community center known for their innovative ideas — be it their entrepreneurial Market 707 or their aquaponics experiments. At Market 307, Scadding will be bringing in a host of vendors from their various markets and programs, including several vendors from the Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub, a business incubator that helps New Canadians gain their footing in an unfamiliar market.
Sidewalk Toronto | July Open Sidewalk: Nature & The City