Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project

Construction on the Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project began in 2017. The new river mouth is expected to open in 2024!

You can learn more about this exciting project from Waterfront Toronto:


The Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project is a precedent-setting undertaking to revitalize the mouth of the Don River.

The project — now known as the Port Lands Flood Protection (PLFP) project — will ultimately transform the existing mouth of the Don River, including the Keating Channel, into a healthier, more naturalized river outlet, while simultaneously providing critical flood protection to 240 ha of Toronto’s eastern waterfront.

aerial view of the Toronto port lands and mouth of the Don River

Waterfront Toronto is building 1,000 m of new river channel and flood plain, 13 ha of new coastal wetland, and 4 ha of terrestrial habitat.

The project is creating crucial flood protection and ecological habitat restoration, while integrating development, transportation, infrastructure, and the re-naturalized river mouth into a harmonious whole.

PLFP is a key component of Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto’s plans to renew and revitalize Toronto’s waterfront.

Construction Progress

Construction Progress in the Port Lands – March 2021

In the video above from Waterfront Toronto, you can see the new river valley starting to take shape. It will average approximately 100 metres wide, cutting a kilometre-long path along Don Roadway and west across Cherry Street, ending in a new, renaturalized river mouth.


A Brief History of the Port Lands

Today, the form and function of the Don River mouth differs dramatically from the time of European settlement, when the lands along the lakefront were extensive forest and marsh habitats. Ashbridge’s Bay Marsh was a 560 ha wetland at the mouth of the Don.

Since the late 1700s, the Don River watershed has undergone profound changes. A host of industrial activity along its banks, from sawmills to cattle processing to petroleum storage, combined with years of lakefilling and other shoreline alterations, resulted in significant impacts to the physical, chemical, and biological form and function of the Don River.

Plan of the City of Toronto - 1894
Plan of the City of Toronto, 1894. Image courtesy of the Don Valley Historical Mapping Project by Jennifer Bonnell & Marcel Fortin, 2009. A member project of NiCHE in partnership with the University of Toronto Libraries. View the original map. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.

Today, Waterfront Toronto, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the City of Toronto are working together to improve and rehabilitate the mouth of the Don River.

To learn more about the history of the Port Lands, please see Chapter 3 of the Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project Environmental Assessment (EA).

Learn more about PLFP

Project History at a Glance

November 7, 2020 – Arrival of the new Cherry Street North LRT Bridge.

May 2019 – Port Lands Flood Protection construction update: Digging the new river.

November 28, 2018 – Waterfront Toronto breaks ground on river valley of Port Lands Flood Protection Project.

October 26, 2017 – The first phase of work begins with the Cherry Street Stormwater & Lakefilling Project.

June 28th, 2017 – TRCA, Waterfront Toronto, and the City of Toronto receive $1.25 billion in tri-government funding to undertake the Port Lands Flood Protection Project.

October 20, 2016 – Waterfront Toronto releases Due Diligence Report on Port Lands Flood Protection.

September 14, 2016 – Waterfront Toronto to receive $65 million in tri-government funding through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund for first phase of construction: Cherry Street Stormwater & Lakefilling Project (formerly Essroc Quay).

January 28, 2015 – The Minister of the Environment and Climate Change provides approval to proceed with the Project.

October 2014 – The 2014 Lower Don Lands Environmental Assessment Master Plan Addendum and Environmental Study Report is approved.

May 2010 – Toronto City Council approves the Lower Don Lands Infrastructure Master Plan — a report that coordinates and integrates the development of municipal infrastructure and services with the naturalization and flood protection of the Don Mouth.

August 17, 2006Environmental Assessment Terms of Reference approved by Ontario Ministry of the Environment.