close
close

New stretch of Don River meeting Lake Ontario is milestone for Toronto Port Lands redevelopment

New stretch of Don River meeting Lake Ontario is milestone for Toronto Port Lands redevelopment
New stretch of Don River meeting Lake Ontario is milestone for Toronto Port Lands redevelopment

This week, a newly constructed section of the Don finally connected to Lake Ontario, in what Waterfront Toronto called a “major milestone” in the redevelopment of the docklands.

The city began flooding the 1-kilometer (0.6-mile) stretch of river in January, but left the plugs — concrete underwater walls — in place until the water level in the newly created stretch of river equaled that of the lake.

On Monday, the West Plug, which sits beneath the yellow Cherry Street South Bridge, was removed. To remove the wall, workers cut it into 10 panels, each weighing between 50 and 60 tons.

“Today’s milestone brings us one step closer to the construction of thousands of new homes and the opening of iconic parks and imaginative green spaces that will become a true drawcard on Toronto’s downtown waterfront,” Waterfront Toronto said in a press release.

The group’s CEO, George Zegarac, noted in a statement that the Port Lands flood protection project is one of the largest civil engineering projects currently underway in North America.

“In Toronto, it’s unlike anything we’ve ever attempted. Despite global challenges, we’ve stayed the course and are on track to open the new parks and riverfront in 2025,” Zegarac said. “Today’s final milestone brings us one step closer to reconnecting the new river to the lake.”

The North Plug at the Keating Channel will then be removed, allowing the River Don to flow along the re-naturalised path.

The western plug, after the river flooded. (Handout / Waterfront Toronto)

Creating a new estuary between the Ship Channel and the Keating Channel is a key step in Port Lands’ $1.35 billion flood protection project.

This measure should help protect the area against a regional storm or a flood that occurs once in 100 years.

Adding flood protection is a key step in the redevelopment of 290 hectares (715 acres) in the southeast corner of downtown Toronto.

The flood protection project is expected to be completed by the end of this year, with the parks and new river valley opening in 2025.