Would you like to hop off the streetcar and travel by kayak for a paddle in the new river? How about losing yourself in a wooded ski trail on your lunch break? Maybe you’d like to help plan for new homes and businesses on a new downtown island?
This will all be possible after 2024.
This winter, we started excavation on a new kilometer-long river valley, a natural spillway and new mouth for the Don River – a key part of our $1.25-billion, seven-year construction project protecting almost 300 hectares of waterfront land from flooding. With new roads, bridges and infrastructure, parks and greenspaces, Port Lands Flood Protection will create the foundation for a future island community on the waterfront. Once developed, Villiers Island will provide homes to thousands of people and economic opportunities to thousands more. Find a breakdown of what we’re building here.
In 2014, we completed a flood protection landform beneath Corktown Common that protected 210 hectares of Toronto’s downtown east end and a portion of Toronto’s financial district from flooding.
This project is a game changer.
As a result of a first phase of flood protection, we were able to develop the West Don Lands, a now thriving community with new affordable housing, parks, community amenities like the new YMCA, and an extension of the 514 streetcar line.
The Port Lands has the potential to become this same kind of community, minutes from downtown Toronto. This 290-hectare area represents over one third of Toronto’s waterfront. But that revitalization can’t begin unless the risk of flooding is removed and the legacy of contamination left by former industrial uses is addressed.
In 2017, governments announced a join commitment of $1.25-billion to do just that. This collaboration has allowed us to get started on building the new river valley, parks, public spaces, streets, and infrastructure that are the foundation of a complete community.
Design has been progressing since then. On November 28, 2018, Waterfront Toronto joined our government partners to mark a critical step in making these dreams a reality. Construction is now well underway, and we’re preparing to start digging the new river. Find a project timeline here and a construction schedule here.
Taking the next big step in waterfront revitalization together
Community members and project partners braved the cold on November 28, 2018 to help celebrate construction progress on this project.
From left: In November 2018, MP Adam Vaughan, Toronto Mayor John Tory, MP Julie Dabrusin, Toronto City Councillor Paula Fletcher, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities François-Philippe Champagne and Waterfront Toronto Board Chair Helen Burstyn surrounded by project partners and community members as we marked the start of excavation on the new river.
In November 2018, Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation Chief Stacey LaForme reminded the crowd at Cherry and Commissioners Streets that they were standing on a former river.
We’ve been asking members of the waterfront community to tell us what excites them most about this game-changing project. We’ve gotten lots of postcards telling us what people are most looking forward to when this project is complete in 2024. We’ve heard people talk about a new island community, new parks and natural greenspace and — most emphatically — a new river.
So, what will you do in 2024? Fill out this quick poll and let us know what you’re most excited about!