Sustainable Growth Will Flow from Don River Flood Protection


Visionary government funding commitment will unlock climate-resilient growth in Toronto's Port Lands.

It's truly a historic moment for Toronto as all three levels of government join forces to flood-proof the Port Lands and naturalize the mouth of Don River. As the former chair of the Task Force to Bring Back the Don, I can assure you that this is no hyperbole.

The announcement by the federal, provincial, and municipal governments to fully fund the project will enable Toronto to surge forward with climate-resilient, sustainable growth. It's an example how cities, regions and nations can build consensus to meet the challenges of climate change and urban renewal together.

Canada, Ontario and Toronto are each committing one-third to the $1.25 billion cost of transforming the mouth of the Don River in central Toronto from a post-industrial flood-prone environmental disaster into expansive new waterways, wetlands, greenways and parklands that will protect existing homes and businesses and open the Port Lands for revitalization. The seven-year project will mitigate flood risk using ground-breaking naturalization techniques to will enable new, green developments like the East Harbour employment hub, a Metrolinx/Smart Track transit hub, and new mixed communities like Villiers Island in the Port Lands. 

The Don Mouth Naturalization and Flood Protection project was approved through provincial and federal environmental assessments in 2015 led by Waterfront Toronto, Toronto & Region Conservation, and the City of Toronto. The process engaged thousands of residents, businesses, First Nations and community stakeholders throughout the region. Countless residents reviewed the plans, attended public meetings, petitioned their political representatives and took to social media to express their hopes and visions.

Special thanks go to Waterfront for All founding member CodeBlueTO. The community group mobilized supporters throughout the environmental assessment and protected the people's vision for the Port Lands from an ill-conceived push for Ferris wheels and shopping malls.

But there are many more organization that paved the way for this week's monumental development: The Task Force to Bring Back the Don, the West Don Lands Committee, the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and neighbourhood associations along Toronto’s waterfront - to name just a few.

The tri-level government funding clears the way for implementation of a vision that had its genesis in the 1992 report of the Royal Commission on the Future of Toronto’s Waterfront. The inspired leadership of Waterfront Toronto has developed that vision into the award-winning Lower Don Plan. I applaud the three governments for funding this transformative project.

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Join us May 21 for Speaker Series 13, "Villiers Island: Hang on a Minute! Let's take a 2nd look at the plan."

Villiers Island: Hang on a Minute! Let’s take a second look at the plan.

Join us on Tuesday, May 21, 7 pm (Zoom) for critical and constructive panel discussion on the plan for Villiers Island. 


WfA has been broadly supportive of Waterfront Toronto's work over the years, but true friends owe their friends open and constructive dialogue.  So inspired by recent discussions of the recently amemded Villiers Island plan, including critical assessment by the Globe & Mail's Alex Bozikovics and a commentary by architecture and planning firm Smart Density, we felt that it was urgent to give voice to legitimate and constructive concerns about the Villiers Island Plan prior to its consideration by City Council in June. 

To that end we've put together a panel of community activists, housing activists and urban planners to take a second look at the Villiers Island plan. 


  • Norm di Pasquale — City Activist (NoJetsTO, past Board of Education Trustee)
  • Eric Lombardi — Housing Advocate, More Neighbours Toronto
  • Mark Richardson — Technical Lead, HousingNowTO
  • Blair Scorgie — Registered Professional Planner, Urban Designer, Lecturer TMU


A successful & enlightening evening at Bathurst Quay .

We had a fabulous evening on Tuesday, May 7 at Bathurst Quay, with our featured guest, Bryan Bowan, City of Toronto Program Manager for Bathurst Quay Common, and special guest, William Peat of the Canada Ireland Foundation. We were also very pleased to be joined by Deputy Mayor Ausma Malik. 

The Canada Ireland Foundation is leading the development of The Corleck, a new centre for arts, culture and heritage that will be flanked by and the Bathurst Quay Common. Both are located beside Ireland Park,  which the foundation spearheaded and fundraised for, in co-operation with the City of Toronto, the restored Canada Malting Silos. 

Waterfront for All Board Member, Edward Nixon (left), welcomed attendees and introduced, the City of Toronto's Bryan Bowen (right).


Deputy Mayor, Ausma Malik, spoke about the creativity and commitment of the local community, including the the efforts of the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association to champion the revitalization of the area, and the key role City staff played in realizing the project. 

William Peat Executive Director of the Canada Ireland Foundation spoke about The Corleck which is expected to open in 2025.

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