The northwest corner of Toronto's Port Lands area is looking quite a bit different these days, as work on a lakefilling project from Waterfront Toronto reshapes the area of Essroc Quay near the Cherry Street bridge to Lake Shore Boulevard. The Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project (DMNP) is making rapid progress on the east edge of Toronto Harbour, to bring a naturalized mouth to the Don River over the next years, including over 1,000 metres of new river channel, and new park space and wildlife habitats.

Current and future layout of the Port Lands, image via

The most visible work currently being carried out is the project's lakefilling at the disused Essroc Quay, just west of the intersection of Cherry and Villiers streets. Thousands of truckloads of locally-sourced clean fill have shaped the outer boundaries of the new landform, which will eventually be home to a new public space called Promontory Park.

Lakefilling for the Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project, image by Forum contributor Jasonzed

During August, tree-clearing work proceeded on a square-shaped lot bounded by Don Roadway to the east, Villiers Street to the north, Commissioners Street to the south, and a recycling centre to the west. This lot is part of the area that will be excavated to extend the Don River south of the Keating Channel, where it will then meander to the west and terminate in a new naturalized river mouth.

Looking southwest from Don Roadway and Villiers Street, image by Forum contributor achender

Similarly, trees and structures were cleared from a large lot at Commissioners Street and Cherry Street in August, also making way for the river’s new course. This location will be site of the initial excavations for the river valley, with an 80,000 cubic metre dig scheduled to begin as early as September 10th. Another element set to start work this month is the "greenway", a linear north/south stretch of green space that extends directly south from the Don and intersects with the lake near Cherry Beach.

September to December construction schedule, image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

As construction of the new landform progresses, the recently-elected provincial government is aiming to expedite redevelopment of the Port Lands with recent amendments to the Ontario Building Code. These amendments allow construction projects to advance before the new flood protection is in place, while ensuring that occupancy of new buildings will be held off until the area flood protection project is complete.

We will return with updates as construction progresses. In the meantime, you can learn more about the project by visiting our Lower Don Lands Redevelopment database file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

Related Companies:  LEA Consulting, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, urbanMetrics inc., Waterfront Toronto