Once we complete the project in 2023, a new river valley will run through the Port Lands, creating a new island — Villiers Island. The natural landscape of the river valley will become home to diverse plants and wildlife. Land that was once unusable and under the threat of flooding will transform into complete communities and thriving businesses. This project will allow Toronto to grow sustainably, reduce urban sprawl and greenhouse gases, while giving us more access to greenspace.
One of the most exciting initiatives underway is a new, mixed-use island community called Villiers Island. This island will be bordered by the Keating Channel in the north, the inner harbour in the west and by the new river to the east and south. With exceptional views of Toronto’s inner harbour and the city skyline, Villiers Island will form a gateway from the West Don Lands and Keating Channel neighbourhoods, to the rest of the Port Lands. The development of this community is guided by the Villiers Island Precinct Plan, a joint planning effort by the City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto. Informed by the Villiers Island Climate Positive Assessment, this new community will be climate positive, producing more energy than it uses. Villiers Island will be so efficient that it will reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for surrounding neighbourhoods. When the Port Lands Flood Protection Project is completed in 2023, the newly formed island will be home to two new parks: Promontory Park and River Park. It will then be ready to begin its transformation into a place that invites people to enjoy the water, spectacular new parks and public spaces.
Planning the Port Lands
Planning initiatives for the Port Lands have been underway for over a decade. As part of the long-term planning process, Waterfront Toronto, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Region Conservation (TRCA) have worked on a number of initiatives and studies, including: the Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Environmental Assessment (DMNP EA), the Lower Don Lands Master Plan Environmental Assessment, precinct planning for Cousins Quay (now called Villiers Island), the Film Studio District (now called the McLeary District), the Port Lands and South of Eastern Transportation Master Plan EA and the Port Lands Planning Framework (PLPF).
In December 2017, Toronto City Council adopted the PLPF and Villiers Island Precinct Plan. These planning documents will provide direction around how to transform the Port Lands into a waterfront community with ties and connections to the city. Some of the work that is necessary to accomplish this includes building streets, bridges, and a network of parks and greenspaces that will join the land to the water. The framework brings together past and future planning initiatives. Read more about how Villiers Island strives to be the first climate-positive community in Canada.