Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, on behalf of and in cooperation with Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto, has completed the Environmental Assessment for the Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project.

The Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project (DMNP) is a precedent-setting undertaking aimed at revitalizing the mouth of the Don River. The DMNP 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.

A Brief History of the Port Lands

Today, the form and function of the Don River mouth differs dramatically from that of the river mouth that existed at the time of European settlement. Prior to the formation of what is now the City of Toronto, the lands along the lakefront were composed of extensive forest and marsh habitats.

Ashbridge’s Bay Marsh, a 560 hectare wetland named after the first settlers east of the Don River, formed the mouth of the Don and was molded over time from depositional materials eroded from the Scarborough Bluffs.

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

These processes, combined with years of lakefilling and other shoreline alterations, have completely transformed the Don Mouth from a complex and rich wildlife community to a highly industrialized, artificial waterscape with low ecological diversity and limited public value.

Fortunately, in recent decades attention has moved towards improving and rehabilitating the mouth of the Don River, and the DMNP EA caps off an extensive planning process whose roots can be traced to a public meeting in 1989.

Informed by extensive engagement with the public, government agencies, landowners, and developers, the DMNP has been merged with the Lower Don Lands Transportation and Servicing Master Plan EA to form the Port Lands Flood Protection and Enabling Infrastructure Project, a comprehensive plan for flood protecting Toronto’s southeastern waterfront.

Project Goals

Currently, 290 hectares of urban land east and south of the Don River are subject to risk of flooding. The overall goal of the DMNP, along with its objectives, has been shaped by extensive consultation with stakeholders, including members of the public, during the development of the the DMNP EA.

The project goal is a statement of overriding purpose of the DMNP, which is to:

“Establish and sustain the form, features, and functions of a natural river mouth within the context of a revitalized city environment while providing flood protection up to the Regulatory Flood

Project Objectives

Naturalization of the Don Mouth will not only improve the aquatic and terrestrial habitat conditions at the mouth of the river, but will provide for the creation of a more natural form of river mouth.

Flood Protection
Address flooding issues within the Port Lands without exacerbating flooding in other areas, while meeting the first objective.

Operational Management and Constructability
Adequately manage sediment, debris, and ice in order to support navigation, natural river function, and existing or future flood protection works.

Integration with Infrastructure
Integrate with all existing and planned infrastructure.

Recreational and Cultural Opportunities
Encourage and contribute to the development of recreation, cultural and heritage opportunities, and improve accessibility for the public and persons with disabilities.

Co-ordination with Other Planning Initiatives
Work and integrate with other planning and development efforts planned for the waterfront, as well as between the three levels of government.

Consistency with Waterfront Toronto’s Sustainability Framework
Be consistent with Waterfront Toronto’s Sustainability Framework (TWRC 2005c), which seeks to ensure that principles are integrated into all facets of waterfront revitalization management.

Learn More about the DMNP EA

What’s New?

View latest photos and videos here


May 2019Port Lands Flood Protection Construction Update: digging the new river

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

April 27th, 2018 VIDEO: Construction of confinement berms continues for the first phase of the Port Lands Flood Protection Project – Cherry Street Lakefilling. Construction notice for the project can be accessed here.

February 22nd, 2018Waterfront Toronto hosts a community consultation event to share information about Port Lands Flood Protection Project. 

January 11th, 2018Governments of Canada, Ontario, Toronto, and Waterfront Toronto celebrate the start of construction in Toronto’s Port Lands. 

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

December 20th, 2016 – The Project Team for the Port Lands Flood Protection and Enabling Infrastructure Project complete the final Workshop for the development of the Community Based Risk Assessment Process – More information to follow.

October 20th, 2016 Waterfront Toronto Releases Due Diligence Report on Port Lands Flood Protection

September 14th, 2016 Waterfront Toronto to Receive $65 million in Tri-government Funding through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund

Project History At-a-Glance

October 26, 2017
The first phase of work begins with the Cherry Street Stormwater & Lakefilling Project. Click here for more information.

October 20, 2016
Due Diligence Report Completed

September 14, 2016
Government Funding for First Phase of Construction – Cherry Street Lakefilling Project (formerly Essroc Quay)

December 31, 2014
Environmental Assessment Approved

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

May, 2010
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, 2006
Terms of Reference Approved

June 23, 2005
First Public Forum