Toronto's Port Lands have begun a transformation that will take this area to the southeast of the city's core from from an under-utilized industrial area into a vital mixed-use area of our quickly growing city. This major overhaul aims to completely redesign the Lower Don Lands to reconnect the Don River to Lake Ontario by creating a natural river mouth flanked by parks and new neighbourhoods.

The future Villiers Island, image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

Being overseen by Waterfront Toronto, the current infrastructure work—new river, shorelines, and main roadways, scheduled for completion in 2024—aims to prevent the Don River from flooding the area in the event of a 1 in 100-year storm (think 1954’s Hurricane Hazel), while preparing for a total transformation of the Port Lands—the first neighbourhood is to be called Villiers Islandfull of new housing and commercial space, public spaces, parks, along with the new naturalized river valley.

Overview of current Port Lands work, image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

As the redevelopment continues, some roads in the area are being closed—including Commissioners Street and the Don Roadway—and scheduled to reopen in 2022. Cherry Street will be realigned to the west of its current path and connected via a new bridge over the Keating Channel. A minor diversion will be created at the intersection of Cherry and Polson Streets starting in Spring 2020, ending in Winter 2021.

A view of the Don Roadway closure, image by Forum Contributor achender

Construction is also progressing in the river valley, as crews continue to install cut-off walls along the perimeter of the river valley. Excavation of the Don Greenwaywhich will connect the new river mouth to Toronto's ravine system, lengthening the continuous green strip through the cityhas also begun, south of Commissioners Street and west of Don Roadway.

River valley preparation image by Forum contributor achender

Tree clearing has also started in the sediment and debris management area, a critical flood prevention zone of the redevelopment. This will widen and deepen the Don River north of Lake Shore Boulevard, which will enable high water to flow more easily south, not just having to make the 90° right turn into the Keating Channel.

Tree and vegetation removal, image by Forum contributor achender

As construction continues, crews prepare for the installation of the Cherry Street North Bridge, constructing foundations for its piers, and for the future path of new Cherry Street, the major north-south roadway for the master-planned community.

Early preparation work for the Cherry Street Bridge, image by Forum contributor achender

While the long-term vision will create a complete community, current construction activity has brought the closure of the longstanding Cherry Street T&T Supermarket. The Port Lands landmark is set to be demolished as work on Cherry Street continues.

A closed T&T Supermarket, image by Forum contributor achender

Additional information and images can be found in our Database file on the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Related Companies:  LEA Consulting