WATERFRONT TORONTO Request for Proposals Communication Services Vendors of Record RFP #2023-09

DUE DATE: June 15th, 2:00pm local time


2.1 Background

We communicate in a variety of ways and to different audiences to inform and engage the public and support our revitalization efforts. Our audiences include governments, Indigenous communities, residents, businesses and the broader public, industry partners and special interest groups, and the media. Multifaceted, effective and relatable communications are integral to successfully delivering on our mandate, including accountability and transparency, creating awareness and engaging the public in planning and design, and generating interest and excitement for the long-term vision of a waterfront for everyone.

Accountability and transparency

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 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, operational, and resourcing direction for the Corporation. 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.

Public Voice

How do we know what people who will live, work, and play in the neighborhoods we develop want? We make space and provide resources for people to learn about our projects so they can then work with us to get the best possible outcomes for their waterfront. We use a variety of tools and tactics to create awareness and provide a range of opportunities – from light to deep engagement – for public input, something we hope has led to public trust.

Animating waterfront spaces in transition

We sponsor several events, festivals and activations along the waterfront as well as create our own events and programs such as our Temporary Public Art Program. We also plan 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 increase activation in waterfront neighborhoods and promote recreational activities within the harbor.

2.2 The Services

Waterfront Toronto is looking to qualify on a VOR List the most suitable providers of Communication Services to deliver on our corporate communications, marketing communications, public relations and issues management, engagement and outreach, photography, and videography needs. Proponents may respond to one or more of the service categories. A brief description of each listed category of services follows below.


2.2.1 Corporate Communications and Marketing

Corporate Communications and Marketing services are required for brand strategy, graphic design, and editorial and copywriting, including for annual corporate reports, plans, frameworks and other marketing materials. All work products will meet or exceed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requirements. Deliverables include but are not limited to:

▪ Design, Create and Produce Annual Corporate Reports: The vendor will work with Waterfront Toronto to establish thematic and visual concepts, and provide creative direction, graphic design, layout, copywrite, editorial and proofreading services, and manage print production. All work produced will be designed and delivered in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

requirements. Annual corporate reports include:

• Rolling Five-Year Strategic Plan and Annual Corporate Plan: A guiding document that sets the strategic direction for the corporation over the next five years with a focus on the upcoming fiscal year.

• Integrated Annual Report (includes corporate social responsibility and sustainability reporting): Reports progress against all the dimensions of our work—from how we deploy financial resources to how we deliver public benefits like green space and affordable housing. The Integrated Annual Report provides updates on our revitalization efforts for each year ending March 31st using ESG (environmental, social governance) considerations based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

▪ Prepare other reports, frameworks, and corporate documents: Provide graphic design, layout, copywrite and proofreading services.

2.2.2 Graphic Design and Creative Services

Graphic design and layout services are required for brochures, posters, displays and other marketing materials. All work produced will be designed and delivered in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requirements. 

Deliverables may include but are not limited to:

• Design and produce information/ display panels, signage and hoarding: design, layout, proofread, source materials, oversee production and delivery.

Examples of this work include information display panels at public meetings and construction signage (stand alone or fence mounted)

• Research and design branded collateral as needed for public or stakeholder awareness and events. The vendor’s role may include research, creative direction, graphic design, copywrite, production and post-production services.

2.2.3 Engagement and Outreach Conceptualize, design, fabricate and execute experiential marketing opportunities: The successful Proponent will plan, produce, and provide artistic direction for events and

activations, like pop-ups; design and deliver workshops, focus groups and intercepts.


The successful Proponent may also support our pursuit of philanthropic partnerships by conceptualizing and designing displays, exhibitions, and other materials to support donor development.

Examples of engagement and outreach include our use of a shipping container as an information centre and our more mobile branded pop-up tent with a carnival style game, both allowing us to build public awareness of our work and capture feedback, and virtual reality goggles that enable the public to experience new waterfront spaces before they are complete.

2.2.4 Public Relations and Issues Management

Research, create and execute issues management and media relations plans: On an as needed basis, the successful Proponent will provide stakeholder analysis and outreach; develop and refine key messaging; strategic issue management; promote key initiatives (development milestones, announcements, differentiators), including event design, management, messaging and media plan, and production; and conduct opinion research.

In addition, the successful Proponent may be required to provide editorial planning, media and presentation training, and content creation and placement.


2.2.5 Digital Marketing and Storytelling

Design, create and analyze digital marketing campaigns: On an as needed basis provide strategic support for digital marketing and storytelling, including strategic campaigns, social and digital advertising, web page design and creation, audience targeting and analysis, google adwords, graphic and moving image design, web optimizations and SEO, etc.

The successful Proponent will have a thorough understanding of digital marketing and storytelling, industry best practices, and leading-edge technologies and uses. They will provide strategic guidance as well as practical implementation and analysis, and post campaign reporting.

2.2.6 Videography and Multimedia

Develop concepts, film, direct and produce videos: We use a variety of tools and tactics toinform and engage the public, including videos. For example, this Port Lands 2024 video was used to help explain a very complex and technical project in a fun and engaging way.

Another example is this 20 Years of Placemaking video, which was designed to build awareness around why Waterfront Toronto was founded, its values and to strengthen support with core audiences. An example of an animated video that was created to simplify and easily explain a complex project is this overview video for the Waterfront East Light Rail Transit project.

The successful Proponent will develop concepts, write scripts, storyboard, film, edit and complete post-production work to deliver final video files with closed captioning.

2.2.7 Photography

Document waterfront activations, and revitalization projects before, during and after completion. The photographer will collaborate with Waterfront Toronto on a creative brief and shot list to ensure a clear understanding of objectives and will identify and obtain any necessary permits or approvals.

Deliverables may include but are not limited to:

• Landscape photography, including waterfront parks and public spaces (i.e. promenades, multi-use trails, roads, light rail transit lines). Excluded from this category is documenting construction progress in transforming the Port Lands (Port Lands Flood Protection Project).

• Lifestyle and Event photography

• Architectural photography

• Aerial photography

• Drone photography

2.3 Assignment of Work

Waterfront Toronto may call upon the successful Proponent(s) for services at any time or invite them on occasion to quote competitively against each other for a given work package with or without inviting additional firms to the same competitive process. This RFP does not guarantee that the successful Proponent(s) will be the exclusive providers of the services which form the subject matter of this RFP, or that any work will be awarded.


Moreover, Waterfront Toronto may conduct other procurements to supplement or replace this procurement at any time.

The successful Proponent(s) may be called upon to supply services by the following


1) Complete an assignment within an upset limit (not cost plus) based on the hourly rates established in Form F2 – Schedule of Hourly Rates.

2) Complete an assignment at a lump-sum cost based on the hourly rates established in Form F2 – Schedule of Hourly Rates.

3) Provide service at an hourly rate in accordance with the rates established in Form F2 – Schedule of Hourly Rates within the Proposal.


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