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healthy environment

From re-naturalizing the mouth of the Don River, to soil recycling, flood protection, improving Toronto’s urban forest, and restoring wetlands and wildlife habitats, Toronto’s waterfront will be an urban refuge and greener than ever.

Waterfront Toronto's integrated and holistic community building and urban planning model is creating smarter, healthier and more sustainable communities.


A key consideration for every Waterfront Toronto initiative is to do everything possible to ensure we contribute to creating a healthy environment.  We also believe that proximity to nature, public greenspace, and pedestrian-friendly public spaces are all requirements for healthy urban living. To achieve our objectives, our approach to revitalization incorporates economic, social, cultural, and ecological sustainability criteria into all decision making. It will all add up to a lasting environmental legacy now and a revitalized waterfront that is the envy of the globe.


Waterfront Toronto is assigning a central role to parks, open spaces, bike paths, trails, trees and water. It’s dedicating 25 percent of the revitalized area to waterfront parks and public spaces, and planting about 34,000 trees.


Lake Ontario Park will be one of the most exceptional and distinctive landscapes in Toronto; a world class, 925-acre contiguous public park with over 37 km of shoreline extending from Cherry Beach to Ashbridges Bay, with connections to Toronto’s eastern beaches. Waterfront Toronto’s plans for the park will see existing parks, beaches, former industrial sites and regionally significant ecological areas joined together to form this magnificent urban oasis.


healthy trees


Trees are a fundamental part of green infrastructure systems and provide a range of benefits. Not only do trees provide welcome shade, they also help clean the air and improve our environment.


The revitalized waterfront will feature trees in abundance – along streets, the water’s edge and in parks. Waterfront Toronto is working with leading tree experts and employing the latest technologies to ensure that planted trees mature and thrive.


clean water


Given our mandate, water is a central theme in all of our work. In addition to connecting people with the waterfront, we are striving to ensure that revitalization has a positive impact on water quality and conservation. Our plans and designs include water conservation measures, creative and more effective stormwater management systems, and the use of grey water recycling where appropriate.


As part of the Don River mouth restoration, we are building wetlands to replace those that were destroyed in the 19th century. Wetlands provide an array of social and environmental benefits. They support many species of wildlife, moderate the effects of flooding and erosion, and mitigate climate change through the storage of carbon dioxide.


Waterfront Toronto is an active member of Aquatic Habitat Toronto, a consensus based partnership that is working to improve the aquatic habitat in the City. Aquatic Habitat Toronto is responsible for the implementation of the Toronto Waterfront Aquatic Habitat Restoration Strategy. The aquatic habitat enhancement work being done is having a positive impact on the aquatic ecology, and it has won a Public Sector Quality Fair award.


Waterfront Toronto is employing grey water recycling practices in several projects in an effort to conserve potable (treated, drinking quality) water for the uses for which it is intended. Grey water will be used across the waterfront for “lesser” uses such as irrigation and in addition to directly supporting our water conservation objectives, grey water recycling also contributes to our energy conservation objectives by reducing the amount of energy required to maintain our parks and public spaces.


In the West Don Lands, 50 per cent of storm water will be recycled for irrigation uses and in Corktown Common, 100 per cent of rainwater will be captured and used for irrigation. Along the Martin Goodman Trail at Ontario Place captured storm water from runoff is collected in a soil trench and used to irrigate trees.  In addition to 100 per cent of the rainwater captured is being used for irrigation and toilets.


Sherbourne Common is the first park in Canada to integrate an ultraviolet (UV) facility for neighbourhood-wide stormwater treatment into its design. The UV facility for East Bayfront’s stormwater management system is located in the basement of the Park’s Pavilion. Collected stormwater is treated in the UV facility; the clean water is then released back out to Lake Ontario.


Our Planet: The Environment

The US television series profiles Toronto's waterfront revitalization.

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