Sourced from the Toronto Star
“This is a river we’re sitting on,” Stacey LaForme, chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, told fellow guests shivering in a drab Commissioners St. parking lot in industrial Toronto.
Several people smiled, looking around the bleak lot with big yellow diggers set to break ground and carve out a lush new river valley, “renaturalizing” the mouth of the Don River and creating Villiers Island that will be home to a Port Lands neighbourhood just east of downtown.
Federal, municipal and Waterfront Toronto officials gathered Thursday to toast the latest milestone in a $1.25 billion, multi-year project to flood-proof east downtown Toronto and unlock a former wetland, later solidified with construction waste, for development with homes, parks and more.
“This is going to change the face of Toronto for the better and for the future,” declared federal Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne whose government is equally sharing redevelopment costs with the Ontario and City of Toronto governments.
Artists’ conception drawings of the kilometre-long meandering valley promise a six-year transformation from industrial blight to meandering green-banked waterway where canoeists and kayakers can land at parks connected by pedestrian and cycling paths.
More than 1.2 million native species seeds will be planted in 183,000 tonnes of new shoreline earth.