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A case study in urban resiliency

One of the most exciting city building projects going on in Toronto right now is the revitalization of the 715-acre Port Lands area (here’s a map if you’d like to get situated). Despite its massive scale, it doesn’t seem to be receiving a lot of attention. And that’s probably because, at this stage, it’s mostly infrastructure work. It’s just a lot of soil being moved around.

But it’s of course important work. The mouth of the Don River (where it meets Lake Ontario) was never properly engineered for resiliency, and so the entire area is at risk of flooding. That’s why this $1.25 billion effort to re-naturalize its interface is currently underway. The above video does a good job explaining just what that entails.

At the same time, it is creating a wonderful city building opportunity — new parks for the illegal drinking of craft beers, new wildlife habitat, new meandering rivers for kayaking, and of course new housing and new jobs. But when you look at what’s planned, it’s hard not to feel like we’re missing the mark in terms of density.

The plan for Villiers Island calls for some 4,900 homes (according to this Globe and Mail article). And the plan for the entire area calls for only about 20,000 homes (according to this recent Bloomberg article). Surely there’s room for at least a few more — especially if we’re hoping to support a new LRT line to the area.


  1. doug pollard

    This has been such a long time coming after umpteen discussions and various plans. yes it is exciting after all this time to “see the earth move” and the mouth of the Don rehab take place. I once tried to locate my office there in a building on the channel across from Wards Island because I thought it was a great location Still do Thanks for the update I am out of the country and miss things like this.


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