Naturalizing the Mouth of the Don River: Challenges and Opportunities in the Port Lands


Our city is changing at an unprecedented rate. Toronto’s rapid growth is a sign of success and opportunity. But it also poses real challenges. The demand to live and work in our vibrant downtown continues to rise. And, our aging infrastructure is already stretched. While many major cities struggle with these problems, Toronto has an opportunity unlike any other. An opportunity to manage our growth and secure our future with more room to breath and grow. Just to the east of downtown are 400 hectares – nearly 1,000 acres – of waterfront land. This is the Port Lands. Once a massive wetlands, the area is now a reminder of Toronto’s industrial past. Abandoned lots, derelict buildings, crumbling concrete and contaminated land. And yet it could be so much more. Only minutes from the Financial District, the Port Lands is about the size of Toronto’s entire downtown core. We have a plan to transform this area into new mixed-use neighbourhoods, beautiful parks and natural habitats. Places that represent our city’s next chapter. Places where future generations will live, work and play. Right next to the heart of the city. But to make any of this possible, we must first restore the Don River to a more natural state. Today, the Port Lands and surrounding neighbourhoods sit in the Don River’s floodplain, at greater risk because of climate change and the extreme weather events it brings. Our plan will restore the river’s natural course; creating new wetlands and a green spillway that will channel flood water safely into Lake Ontario and protect the nearby lands. This will unlock the potential of the Port Lands and areas nearby. And, it will deliver on our investment many times over. Generating billions of dollars of value and thousands of jobs. The new river’s edge will become a series of vibrant residential and business districts. Designed with quality of place in mind – helping to ensure that Toronto keeps pace in the global competition for jobs, talent and investment. When complete, the Port Lands will feature vibrant, sustainable neighbourhoods connected by transit, and paths for walking and cycling… …new parks and public spaces that redefine Toronto’s relationship to the lake. And, restored wetlands and natural habitats that support biodiversity and help to clean our air and water. Above all, the Port Lands will give Toronto the space we need to grow and thrive into the future. A shining example of what an urban waterfront can be.

5 thoughts on “Naturalizing the Mouth of the Don River: Challenges and Opportunities in the Port Lands

  1. I know it’s not as fancy, but how about building a subway across Scarborough? You know, Mass Transit. I don’t use a canoe to get to work.

  2. It sounds like a great plan, the Don River has game fish running up it now. I hope they bring it back to the way it used to be, but maybe consider getting rid of some of the cormorants that are killing all the tress and eating all the fish in Lake Ontario in Tommy Thompson Park. Good LUCK with this plan!!

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