Lake Ontario Park will be one of the world’s great, large urban waterfront parks and will create a system of places that have unique functions and character.
Located along the Outer Harbour and extending from Cherry Beach to Ashbridges Bay and providing connections to the Eastern Beaches and Tommy Thompson Park, Lake Ontario Park will encompass 37 kilometres of shoreline. Covering approximately 375 hectares of land and water. The area is currently made up of an ad hoc collection of disparate pieces. The vision for the park is to collect all of these sites into
one coherent ensemble and provide a wide variety of experiences, amenities and uses including an urban wilderness, water sports, recreation and culture. Because the park is mostly edge and water, the primary structure of the park is framed around three long transects, or primary paths, and over 400 outposts or outlooks along the water’s edge. The park will be a landmark not only for a newly revitalized waterfront, but for Toronto as a whole. Stretching between the Eastern Gap to the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant, Lake Ontario Park will celebrate and serve Toronto's diverse population and will be a draw for residents and visitors alike.
Location: Stretches between the Eastern Gap to R.C. Harris Filtration Plant. Lake Ontario Park includes Tommy Thompson Park and Ashbridges Bay.
Size: 375 hectares of land and water
37 kilometres of shoreline
Design Team: Field Operations and Schollen & Company
Learn more about the detailed plans for Lake Ontario Park. Read the master plan for the park. The plan is a large document and it is divided into two parts.
In 2003, Toronto City Council adopted the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan. That plan formally identified the lands within Lake Ontario Park as a park and open space area. Lake Ontario Park was also an important feature of the Waterfront Toronto’s Public Space Framework that was developed and adopted by our Board of Directors in 2003.
The aspiration for a major waterfront park in this location has a long history in Toronto, and Waterfront Toronto's goal is to make that long standing vision a reality.
All of the lands within Lake Ontario Park are owned by public agencies. These owners include the City of Toronto, the Toronto Port Authority, Toronto and Region Conservation and the Toronto Port Lands Company (formerly TEDCO). These partners all continue to work together in the Lake Ontario Park planning process to support the successful revitalization of these lands. The public ownership of the park lands will facilitate the implementation of the master plan.
The Master Plan for Lake Ontario Park is essentially a precinct plan for a park, similar to the neighbourhood plans for East Bayfront and the West Don Lands.
Waterfront Toronto retained the services of an integrated team of internationally renowned landscape architects and other specialists who provided the creativity and skills that a plan of this scale required. The design team is led by James Corner, Principal of Field Operations.
The Draft Concept Plan was presented to the public on January 17th, 2007. There was extensive public participation and engagement throughout the development of the master plan, and a key goal of the planning process was to get people excited about the amazing potential that Lake Ontario Park presents.
The park must perform at the highest level of design and sustainability, and the master plan had to address a range of complex issues including environmental conditions, appropriate park programming, and land use.
The plan balances the needs of the existing users of the park with an ecologically sensitive approach to future development and increased use. The plan builds on the range of studies and work that has been completed in the past.
The plan is based on a compelling vision that preserves the unique defining features of the place while developing the kinds of landscapes and features that will make the park a popular waterfront destination for the residents of this region.
Development of the master plan was funded through Waterfront Toronto’s initial budget allocation of $1.5 billion. However full scale development of the park was not funded. The park master plan is designed to be implemented over a sustained period of time and it is an essential tool in securing the funding to make the park a reality.
In 2006, Waterfront Toronto and the lead design team, world renowned landscape architecture firm Field Operations, began preparing a master plan to guide the future implementation of Lake Ontario Park.
The Lake Ontario Park Master Plan (Part 1, Part 2) defines a unique design vision for the park and identifies specific implementation projects. The Master Plan embraces the Tommy Thompson Park Master Plan and supports the implementation projects that are already underway in the Port Lands. The goal is to foster the creation of a new waterfront park that is beautiful, sustainable and that serves as a special place for the people who live in and visit Toronto. The park will preserve the features that make this a unique and special place today but will be enhanced by new landscapes and facilities that change the way we think about urban waterfront parks.
The area covered by the Lake Ontario Park Master Plan is very broad. Some of these areas required more design work and creative change than others.
For example, the Eastern Beaches are a treasured public open space in Toronto and there is no intention to redesign these areas. Other parts of Lake Ontario Park, such as the shore of the Port Lands south of Unwin Avenue have never been properly planned and will be the focus of most of the planning team's design efforts.
In total, Lake Ontario Park can be thought of as a system of places that have unique functions and character. The Master Plan provides an integrated framework and approach to this substantial park area.
Lake Ontario Park presents a unique opportunity to create a special waterfront park that performs many roles. The park will accommodate a wide range of landscape types, intensities of use and program activity.
There will be a significant component of the park dedicated to recreational boating. There are also a range of important terrestrial and aquatic habitats within Lake Ontario Park, and one of the challenges and opportunities of the Master Plan will be to understand and protect these ecological resources.
Lake Ontario Park, will be defined by transects and outposts. The transects act as spines for wayfinding through a diverse series of landscapes.
Outposts reach out from the transects, offering opportunities to explore further a chosen land formation or habitat along the path. Each transect travels through a series of unique landscapes; the Bar transect traverses the original fisherman’s island, the Spit transect travels north south along Leslie Street to the tip of the spit, and finally, the beach transect connects back to the beach.