Request for Proposals For Integrated Communications Services
Submission Deadline: May 2, 2022, at 2:00 pm local time
Waterfront Toronto – Corporate Mission
Waterfront Toronto was established by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and
the City of Toronto in 2001 to oversee and lead the renewal of the city’s waterfront. Our mandate
is to deliver a revitalized waterfront that brings together the most innovative approaches to
sustainable urban development, excellence in urban design, real estate development and leading
Working with the public, governments and the private-sector, Waterfront Toronto creates complete
neighbourhoods anchored by parks and public spaces, and that offer a high quality of life for
residents, employees and visitors alike. We are transforming the waterfront for the use and
enjoyment of the people of Toronto, Ontario and Canada, to foster economic growth and to redefine
how the waterfront is seen by the world.
Ours is the largest urban renewal project underway in North America and one of the largest
waterfront redevelopment initiatives ever. However, it is not just the sheer scale of the project that
makes it unique. Waterfront Toronto is delivering a leading-edge city-building model that seeks to
place Toronto at the forefront of global cities in the 21st century.
A primary objective of waterfront revitalization is to leverage the infrastructure project to deliver key
economic and social benefits that enable Toronto to compete aggressively with other top tier global
cities for investment, jobs and people.
Further details may be obtained from Waterfront Toronto’s website: www.waterfrontoronto.ca.
Submission Deadline May 2, 2022 at 2:00 pm local time
For the purposes of this procurement process, the “RFP Contact” will be:
Katherine Wylie, Procurement Manager
If any Proponent has enquiries regarding this RFP, they should be directed through the messaging
function within Waterfront Toronto’s Bonfire Portal website (under Opportunity Q&A tab), no later
than the date set out above as the Recommended Deadline for Questions.
Waterfront Toronto may, at its sole discretion, respond to such questions directly, if they pertain to
simple administrative matters. With respect to all other questions, Waterfront Toronto will circulate
all questions and answers publicly. Any responses will be circulated only via posting on Waterfront
Toronto’s Bonfire Portal website, as further explained below (Addenda).
To ensure that the Corporation’s procurement process is fair, open and transparent to all
Proponents, there shall be no communication between the Corporation, its consultants or
contractors and the Proponents with the exception of the communication method noted above.
This blackout period is for the period of time immediately following the release of the procurement
document until the final award. Lobbying during the procurement process will not be permitted and
may result in disqualification.
Proposals in their entirety and as specified, shall be submitted online via Waterfront Toronto’s Bonfire Portal website at: https://waterfrontoronto.bonfirehub.ca, before the Submission Deadline. Any attempt to submit proposals after the Submission Deadline will not be accepted by the portal website. In order to submit online, each Proponent must:
a) be registered on the portal website, as all online submissions will only be accepted through this portal website;
b) download and carefully read and review all RFP documents;
c) complete the required information in the RFP documents and upload all necessary documents; and,
d) ensure that your submission contains all required documents, or you will be unable to submit your response.
Waterfront Toronto is working to create a vibrant, connected waterfront that belongs to everyone. As city-builders, we care about delivering neighbourhoods, parks, destinations and infrastructure that make people’s lives better.
The organization was formed at a time when the lack of shared vision had left Toronto’s downtown waterfront a patchwork of isolated development. Our mandate demands that we prioritize design excellence, advance the industry on innovation and sustainability, and build a waterfront that is accessible to all with economic opportunities inclusive of everyone. Then, as now, there was a need for a single organization to clear barriers to waterfront revitalization and drive progress on government city-building objectives. In addition to attracting private investment and jobs, Waterfront Toronto promotes the social and ecological health of the area, making it a landmark of 21st-century urbanism.
Beyond developing waterfront lands, our mandate demands that we get results that the market wouldn’t itself deliver if left to its own devices. To achieve this, we need to plan for the whole of the waterfront, not simply develop the land parcel by parcel. This city-building approach delivers neighbourhoods that are healthy and resilient by design.
Revitalization means more than simply developing vacant, post-industrial lots. It means vibrant public spaces and parks, alongside the commercial spaces that bring new jobs as part of the innovation economy. It means cultural attractions and art that bring us together, transit and trails that make new neighbourhoods resilient and sustainable, and community spaces and affordable housing that makes them inclusive.
We communicate in a variety of ways and with different audiences to support our revitalization efforts. Multifaceted, effective and relatable communications are integral to successfully delivering on our mandate.
Accountability and transparency
Waterfront Toronto is committed to rigorous public reporting that supports public accountability and transparency and helps us deepen our impact. We aim to create clear, approachable reports that inform readers about our work and the difference it makes. We also work to meet or exceed leading practices in corporate reporting and transparency by continually refining our processes and systems to ensure that we’re able to generate the greatest possible public benefit with the resources entrusted to us.
Guided by our key priorities; public good, jobs and innovation, city-building and financial sustainability, our Rolling Five-Year Strategic Plan sets the strategic direction for the Corporation for the next five years with a focus on what we will accomplish in the near term as well as our aspirational goals for the future. We track and report our progress in our Integrated Annual Report, working steadily to ensure that our results on the waterfront remain tightly connected to the goals and targets we’ve set with our stakeholders.
People are at the core of what we do. We seek meaningful public input on all our projects, something we hope has led to public trust. Working with the public helps us understand how to make our projects better and how to meet the needs of the people who will be working, living and playing on the downtown waterfront. Read more on our website here.
In Toronto, major acts of philanthropy have brought about extraordinary shared public spaces. The city’s largest park, High Park, was created by a charitable bequest in 1876. The Toronto Sculpture Garden, Philosopher’s Walk, Toronto Music Garden, Grange Park and The Bentway are all outstanding examples of what can be achieved by courageous, ambitious and inspired philanthropy. Philanthropy has led the way to create these extraordinary spaces.
We’re working to establish new partnerships with city-builders: individuals and charitable foundations who share our vision of a world-class waterfront. We’re exploring new opportunities for philanthropists to work alongside Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto to realize special projects that will enrich and enliven the waterfront for generations to come. Read more on our website here.
Animating waterfront spaces in transition
The best waterfronts offer multi-use, multi-dimensional spaces that are accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. Creating spaces that build community, and engage residents and tourists is a priority for Waterfront Toronto.
Waterfront Toronto sponsors a number of events, festivals and activations along the waterfront. We also create our own programming through our Temporary Public Art Program. In addition, we are planning for interim use programming to help generate public interest and engagement in areas before they have been redeveloped, given that the relatively long revitalization period can result in temporarily underutilized public assets. Through this type of programming, we can increase activation in waterfront neighbourhoods and promote recreational activities within the harbour. Waterfront Toronto is planning for partnerships on a number of major sports and cultural activations set to roll out over the next few years.
Scope of Work
What are we communicating? What support do we need?
As outlined in the background section above, Waterfront Toronto’s mandate, our shorter-term deliverables and longer-term goals will influence what, how and why we communicate, engage, promote and program. Some assignments, such as corporate reporting are cyclical and predictable. Others arise as needed. We are looking for a collaborator who can work with us in a flexible, adaptable, creative and committed way.
As such we would like to have one overarching vendor of record, that can act as both an advisor, collaborator and a service provider.
We are not looking for off-the-shelf solutions, nor are we looking for a one-off campaign for Waterfront Toronto. We are interested in working with skilled, passionate people who share our goals and who can be a trusted partner in using communications and engagement to further those goals.
While Waterfront Toronto has an in-house communications team which effectively manages many of the corporation’s day to day communications programs, it also uses external communication support and counsel for some projects and activities.
Services and Deliverables
The Proponent team selected to undertake this assignment should include experts in the following:
• Corporate and Project Communications:
o Public Engagement and Outreach
o Digital asset creation (e.g. Videos, animations)
o Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Reporting
• Marketing Communications:
o Graphic Design
o Writing (editorial, copywriting, proofreading)
• Experiential marketing, including the conception, development, and execution of owned events/properties:
o Display/Exhibition design and fabrication
o Event management
The Proponent will be required to identify a lead responsibility for coordinating the various services to ensure that the deliverables (listed below) are produced in an efficient, effective, coordinated and coherent manner. All firms making up the Proponent team must be named in the Proponent’s submission and their roles must be identified, as further explained in Appendix C, Part C (Rated Criteria).
1. Corporate and Project Communications
a. Public and Stakeholder Engagement (including but not limited to):
• Engagement strategy
• Interactive, experiential events such as popups
• Online engagement platforms
• Measurement and evaluation
b. Digital production services (Video production and videography, animations)
2. Marketing Communications (including but not limited to):
• Research and concept development
• Brand strategy
• Graphic design
3. Experiential Marketing (including but not limited to):
a. Conception, development and execution of owned properties
b. Exhibition/Display design and fabrication
c. Event Management and Production:
• Event planning and production
• Artistic direction
• Experiential marketing