Ashbridges Bay Landform Project

Ashbridges Bay on the north shore of Lake Ontario is a vibrant community with a host of land and water-based recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.

The purpose of the Ashbridges Bay Landform Project is to address the existing navigation risk caused by sediment accumulation at the harbour entrance of Coatsworth Cut, while considering approved projects and waterfront planning initiatives in the area, managing shoreline erosion along the northeast shore of Tommy Thompson Park, and providing enhancements to the aquatic habitat.


Status Report

Updated March 28, 2022

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) completed the perimeter of the Landform structure, effectively isolating it from Lake Ontario, in June 2021.

Since this time, construction crews have been filling the three cells with shale material generated from three City of Toronto tunnel projects. To date, Cell 1 and Cell 2 have been filled, with Cell 3 expected to be filled by the end of 2022.

Progress of Ashbridges Bay Landform Project Cell 3 filling operations
Progress of Cell 3 filling operations. Source: AECOM courtesy of the City of Toronto, January 31, 2022.

With the perimeter complete and filling well underway, crews are now focusing on installing long-term protection to the landform, in the form of armourstone headlands and cobble beaches. Headlands 2 and 3 were constructed first, as they protect the most vulnerable area of the landform, and were completed in January 2022.

Completed construction Ashbridges Bay Landform Project of Headland 2. Source: TRCA, March 9, 2022
Completed construction of Headland 2. Source: TRCA, March 9, 2022.

Crews are now focusing on protection of the easternmost corner, and will be commencing the final two headlands in the fall of 2022. Cobble beaches, anchored between headlands, will be installed throughout 2023.

Progress on the two breakwater structures also continues. The Eastern Breakwater (off Ashbridges Bay Park), was completed in December 2020. Construction of the Central Breakwater commenced in January 2021 and will continue through 2022 and 2023.

Construction progress of Ashbridges Bay Landform Project East Headland and Central Breakwater
Construction progress of East Headland and Central Breakwater. Source: AECOM courtesy of the City of Toronto, January 31, 2022.
Construction progress of Ashbridges Bay Landform Project East Headland
Construction progress of East Headland. Source: TRCA, March 9, 2022.

Once all structural components of the project are complete, work will focus on habitat improvements. This is expected to start in early 2024. The landform will bolster the ecological functions of the area through the addition of both land and aquatic natural habitat:

  • The shoreline fish habitat being created will provide 1,790 m2 of restored nearshore habitat.
  • The new 3,690 m2 artificial reef has been developed to ensure that there will be a net increase in restored fish habitat.
  • Additional benefits to the fisheries include a reduction of wave energy which will make the area near the reef more hospitable to the fish community.

Project Background

TRCA, in partnership with the City of Toronto, re-initiated a Conservation Ontario Class EA to address erosion and sedimentation issues within Coatsworth Cut and Ashbridges Bay Park.

The 2013 EA picked up where the 2009 Class EA left off and identified the design alternatives that still remain valid given the change in project scope.

Two Public Information Centres were held to present and receive input on alternative solutions (June 19, 2013) and the recommended solution (February 6, 2014).

An Environmental Study Report (ESR) was completed (link below) and submitted for a 45-day public review period in December 2014. The ESR was subsequently approved in February 2015.

A preferred alternative was identified through the Ashbridges Bay Erosion and Sediment Control Conservation Ontario Class EA process (April 2013–December 2014), consisting of erosion and sediment control structures to be integrated with the lakefill area required for the City’s planned stormwater and CSO treatment facilities that will form the Ashbridges Bay Landform.

This preferred alternative was subsequently refined through detailed design to remove any impacts to the existing outfall right-of-way.

As part of the refined preferred alternative, a series of aquatic habitat enhancements are proposed. These include:

  • Four submerged rock shoals within the headland-beach system
  • Submerged rock piles, anchored log tangles and tree wads in the cobble beaches
  • A shoreline naturalization area near the opening of Coatsworth Cut along the Central Breakwater
  • Gravel fill along the inner bend of the Central Breakwater
  • A vertical sunken tree field at the inner bend of the Central Breakwater
  • Submerged rock berms along the Eastern Breakwater

The final design and proposed habitat enhancements are available for review below.

Download a Copy

Ashbridges Bay landform project final design

Download a Copy

Ashbridges Bay Landform Project habitat enhancement plan

Study Area

Map of Ashbridges Bay study area

Ashbridges Bay is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario in Toronto, Ontario. Within the local study area, Coatsworth Cut serves as an access route to the lake for several boat clubs, and a public boat launch, and offers sheltered water for sailing, kayaking, and canoeing.

Lands surrounding the local study area include Woodbine Beach, Ashbridge’s Bay Park, Tommy Thompson Park, and Toronto Water’s Ashbridges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant.

drone photograph of Ashbridges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant
Ashbridges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant

Baseline Environmental Inventory

A draft Baseline Environmental Inventory (BEI)  was prepared and was reviewed by Community Liaison Committee members in November 2013.

The project BEI consists of the examination and documentation of existing project site conditions: physical, biological, cultural and socio-economic environments. The physical environment description includes an account of previous measures (dredging) implemented in the area and technical and engineering aspects to be considered.

The report provides the baseline conditions information needed to evaluate alternative methods of addressing the problem situation. In addition, the inventory provides a baseline from which to monitor the effectiveness of the action, once taken, as well as the types and levels of environmental impacts.

Public and Agency Consultation

The Class EA process provides that all views respecting a proposed remedial flood or erosion control project be taken into consideration during the planning and design of remedial flood and erosion control projects.

A Community Liaison Committee (CLC) was formed to provide a venue to allow concerned citizens, local interest groups and non-governmental organizations to voice issues of public concern as well as assist in the planning and design process of the project.

Public Information Centres (PICs) were also held to seek feedback on the study from a broad audience.

Community Liaison Committee

A Community Liaison Committee (CLC) was established subsequently to publishing the project Notice of Intent. The CLC met three times throughout the course of the EA. Presentations and minutes associated with these meetings are available below.

CLC Meeting #1 – May 15, 2013

CLC Meeting #2 – September 5, 2013

CLC Meeting #3 – November 28, 2013

Public Information Centres

Two Public Information Centres (PICs) were held to allow for public comment on the EA. These public meetings provided opportunities for the community to be made aware of the project and provide feedback as the study progressed.

Both PICs were advertised in the Beach Mirror newspaper prior to the meeting and notices were sent to project stakeholders (CLC members, politicians and others who expressed interest in the project) electronically.

Public Information Centre #1

The first Public Information Centre (PIC) was held on Wednesday June 19, 2013 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Toronto Fire Academy (895 Eastern Ave, Toronto). Background information on the project was provided and the public were asked to provide feedback on the draft evaluation criteria that will be used to assess remedial alternatives.

24 Panels were featured at the PIC outlining the project process, existing conditions, screening of previous remedial alternatives, draft evaluation criteria and next steps. A comment form (workbook) was provided at the PIC and also made available online. Comments and feedback were requested to be submitted during the two weeks following the meeting.

Public Information Centre #2

The second PIC was held on February 6, 2014 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Toronto Fire Academy (895 Eastern Ave, Toronto). The purpose of this PIC was to review the results of alternatives evaluation and present the recommended preferred alternative.

Similar to the first PIC, a comment form (workbook) was provided at the PIC and also made available online. Comments and feedback were requested to be submitted during the two weeks following the meeting.

Contact Us

Ashbridges Bay Landform Project Team