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New look for Don River’s mouth - and a new island - coming in Tuesday announcement

Ottawa's Joe Oliver, Mayor John Tory and Ontario Economic Development Brad Duguid to reveal new plans to naturalize the Don and protect against flooding.
July 13, 2015
By Jennifer Pagliaro

The promise of unlocking valuable waterfront lands for development is bringing three levels of government together Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor John Tory, along with federal Minister of Finance Joe Oliver and provincial Minister of Economic Development Brad Duguid with Waterfront Toronto officials will announce further plans for naturalizing the Don River and protecting part of Port Lands against flooding in order to build on almost 600 acres of land.

It’s what a Waterfront Toronto release called “significant economic development potential.”

The announcement comes just after a $600,000 contract was awarded for early work on the project last month.

Earlier this year, the province signed off on an environmental assessment following 10 years of planning.

If all goes to plan, the mouth of the Don River that opens into Lake Ontario will be rerouted, the Keating Channel will see the creation of a new “urban island” to be called Villiers Island and new parks and wetlands will help fill up total 800 acres.

Key to unlocking the land is flood protection, which has prevented any development to date. Part of the holdup has been negotiating the steep costs.

Since June of last year, all three levels of government have been in discussions to split the funds needed outside of planned development charges - totalling $800 million.

The announcement is being made on Polson Pier at 2:30 p.m.