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Crews start filling Lake Ontario to make room for Toronto's newest waterfront community

Last Updated Jun 27, 2018 at 6:59 pm EST

Exactly one year into a billion dollar project to revitalize Toronto’s Port Lands, construction crews have started filling a slip of Lake Ontario to make room for the new community.

Massive trucks are arriving daily, carrying thousands of tons of dirt and shale to fill the 7.5 metre-deep area of the lake just off Cherry Street.

Using clean material from other local constructions sites, like the old Globe and Mail building at Front and Spadina, the goal is to eventually build a new park that will overlook the city. But that’s just one part of the massive undertaking.

“We’re actually going to be creating an area for re-development that’s as large as the existing downtown, and we’re only five minutes from downtown,” said Waterfront Toronto’s David Kusturin.

“There will be major major park lands along the river and there’ll be new homes, new affordable housing, new businesses, new retail.”

Considered one of the most under-developed urban areas in North America, Toronto’s Port Lands have been largely abandoned for decades. All three levels of government are helping to fund the project they say will bring the community to life.

But before giving it the green light, engineers had to figure out a way to make the area flood proof. Right now, in an extreme weather event, flood waters would spill into the Port Lands. But not for long.

“In order for us to be able re-develop these lands, in order to create new neighbourhoods, new businesses, new employment areas, this has to come out of the flood plain,” Kusturin added.

Their plan is to use the Don River, redirecting part of the mouth to create a flood wall, that will protect the new infrastructure.

Excavation of the river will begin in the fall, and is expected to naturalize the river outlet