The Toronto Island Park Master Plan is being co-created with Indigenous rights holders, local stakeholders and the general public. The ideas, thoughts and other feedback we receive during the engagement process feeds directly into the planning process and helps to shape the Master Plan.
This page documents progress on the Master Plan and includes engagement summaries, reports and other updates on the project. The information shared is not final and will be updated as we continue to receive feedback.
Follow our progress as we build the Toronto Island Park Master Plan together.
Presentations and summary reports from all public engagement opportunities will be posted here in reverse chronological order.
Over 300 people joined the virtual Indigenous Placekeeping Forum to listen and learn about Indigenous placekeeping. The event included an opening invocation, an Elders and knowledge-holders panel and presentations on perspectives on Indigenous placekeeping.
Indigenous placekeeping is an approach to design which recognizes the land as a living being first and considers our responsibilities now and in the future. Indigenous placekeeping thinks beyond our immediate benefits and defines our relationship with all living things and how they work together. Indigenous placekeeping is being considered in the Master Plan process.
The online Visioning Survey asked participants to provide insights on their Toronto Island Park experiences (before the COVID-19 pandemic) and how they would like to experience it in the future. Over 5,000 responses were received.
A summary report will be posted once it is available.
An Interactive Map on Social Pinpoint allowed participants to share their experiences and ideas and rate what others have said. The online map was visited by over 4,000 people and received approximately 800 comments and thousands of data points.
A summary report will be posted once it is available.
Participants who preferred to engage offline were able to download or receive a printed engagement toolkit and prepaid return envelope.
A summary report will be posted once it is available.
The City hosted a virtual Public Visioning Workshop to invite participants to explore what the future of Toronto Island Park could look like. The event included an overview of the Toronto Island Park Master Plan process, preliminary outcomes from pre-engagement, project updates from the City’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff and DTAH (landscape architect for the Toronto Island Park Master Plan), and a question-and-answer session followed by interactive discussions.
Read the Public Visioning Workshop summary report.
The project team held a series of workshops with specific Indigenous communities, including women, youth and Two Spirit people. During these focus groups, participants shared their thoughts, ideas, vision and priorities for the Toronto Islands.
The City’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation division and community and Indigenous partners formally launched the Toronto Island Park Master Plan and public engagement process in a virtual Launch Ceremony. Over 250 people tuned in to watch an invocation and blessing by a Mississauga Elder, hear from City and Indigenous leaders and learn about the Toronto Island Park Master Plan.
Participants at the IPAC meeting shared their thoughts, ideas, vision and priorities for the Toronto Islands. The IPAC is convened by the City’s Indigenous Affairs Office and comprises of 10-15 fifteen individuals representing a range of Indigenous organizations and perspectives.
Participants at the first MCFN meeting shared their thoughts, ideas, vision and priorities for the Toronto Islands. The meeting was attended by representatives of the MCFN, Elders, knowledge keepers and others who represent the Michi Saagiig perspective.
Participants at the first CAC meeting shared their thoughts, ideas, vision and priorities for the Toronto Islands. The CAC comprises of waterfront-based, city-wide, and Indigenous communities that have a mandate or interest that connects to the Toronto Island Master Plan.
The City hosted several pre-engagement focus groups and interviews with Indigenous audiences (including rights holders and urban Indigenous organizations), community-based audiences (organizations with an interest or mandate related to the Master Plan) and internal City divisions and extended Partners. The pre-engagement meetings were set up to introduce the project and to explore how participants wanted to be engaged in the Master Plan process. In addition, the purpose of these meetings was to get a preliminary understanding of the issues, existing conditions and opportunities on Toronto Island.
Read the Pre-Engagement Summary Report.
There are seven key components to building the Master Plan: Drivers of Change, Vision, Values, Guiding Principles, Big Ideas, Actions and Concept Options. Each component continuously feeds into one another, influencing the overall Plan.
A Driver of Change is a challenge or opportunity that is driving the need to improve Toronto Island Park. They are the reasons why the Master Plan is needed.
Since time immemorial, the Island has been a place of escape, respite and healing. It is also a meeting place for family and friends that welcomes a wide range of visitors including the Indigenous community, newcomers and LGBTQ2S+. Toronto Island is a one of a kind place and yet its natural character, rich and storied past and unique identity is uncelebrated.
The Island is an important Indigenous place, and has been for millennia. For the Michi Saagiig, it was simply known as Mnisiing, meaning “on the islands.” Later, they were collectively known as Aiionwatha or Hiawatha’s Island. It was long considered a meeting place and a place of healing and ceremony for Indigenous people. This rich history and living culture is not reflected in Toronto Island Park as it exists today.
Toronto Island is a special place that offers a different experience to everyone that visits or lives there. People come to Toronto Island for many different reasons, for example: hiking, biking, picnicking, spending time at Centreville, participating in events and celebrations, cruising on boats, paddling the internal waterway or spending a lazy afternoon at the beach. Many people simply come to escape the city and connect with nature – to re-charge and reconnect. Despite the varied reasons for coming, the Toronto Island visitor experience has un-tapped potential and has room for improvement!
The Toronto Island is a rich and dynamic landscape with many opportunities for small and large business to provide high-quality visitor experiences. These opportunities should be better coordinated at a system level to ensure Toronto Island Park reaches its full potential. There are currently gaps in commercial offerings, known areas to improve customer service, and an operating environment, which is difficult for small and diverse suppliers to enter, as well as logistical challenges which could be alleviated. The status quo needs to be examined to ensure the City is doing all it can to facilitate high-quality service offerings which respond to the diverse needs of Toronto Island Park visitors.
The Toronto Island should be a place for everyone with limited or no obstacles and barriers to getting there and getting around the Island itself to share in the Island experience.
Toronto Island is a landform that originated as a sandbar and has evolved over time into the Island we are familiar with today. Subject and vulnerable to the whims of mother-nature, the island’s environment is constantly changing, presenting ongoing operational, service delivery and management challenges.
Much of the Island’s infrastructure was installed decades ago and is aging and in various states of repair. In addition, environmental impacts from high lake effect, flooding and erosion have contributed to the decline of Island infrastructure. Despite ongoing capital investments and improvements to ensure the safety of the public and continued use of the park facilities and amenities, updates are needed. To ensure public safety and mitigate environmental impacts of flooding and erosion, a more strategic plan for coordinating these improvements is needed. This will help to ensure that the future function and sustainability of the park is maintained for future generations.
The population of downtown Toronto is growing at a pace that far exceeds the rate of growth for the city as a whole, with 10,000 residents added each year. According to the City’s new TOcore Downtown Secondary Plan, downtown could nearly double in size by 2041, to reach a population of 475,000. TOcore Parks and Public Realm Plan has identified that downtown Toronto is highly parkland deficient and has linked population growth with increased demand and use of parks. In response, the City’s Parkland Strategy has identified Guiding Principles to Expand, Improve, Connect and be more Inclusive with our Park system to respond to the city’s growth and to ensure our parks become more accessible, functional, connected and resilient. Toronto Island Park can help to achieve these goals.
The Vision identifies the aspirations and the end goals of the Master Plan. It outlines priorities and high-level outcomes for the study. It has been developed using feedback received in Phase 1 of the engagement process and may evolve through the remaining phases of the project.
Toronto Island Park will be a place to:
Values are fundamental requirements for guiding the Master Plan. They are overarching ideals that are universally true, regardless of context or specific conditions. They also apply beyond the limits of this study and align with the City’s corporate and divisional strategic initiatives.
The Values have been developed using feedback received in Phase 1 of the engagement process and may evolve through the remaining phases of the project.
The Toronto Island Park Master Plan must embody:
The Guiding Principles are the rules for the Master Plan. The Guiding Principles support the Vision and the Values. They are defined statements that will guide future improvements and the direction of what Toronto Island Park will become. Guiding Principles differ from Values because they reference specific conditions and context of the Toronto Islands.
They have been developed using feedback received in Phase 1 of the engagement process and may evolve through the remaining phases of the project.
Toronto Island Park should:
Big Ideas are strategic ideas that help to implement the Vision, Values and Guiding Principles for Toronto Island Park. They are informed by the outcomes of Phase 1 and preliminary feedback received in Phase 2.
Concept plans or demonstration plans are a way to share ideas that relate to the proposed physical improvements to Toronto Island. They will reflect the Vision, Values, Guiding Principles and Big Ideas. They may include recommendations towards improvements for specific areas on the Island or for roll-out across the Island. They are developed using feedback received in Phase 2 and will be informed by the outcomes of Phase 1. Updates will be posted here.
The preferred concept plan is the final draft of the Master Plan and will be developed in Phase 3. Updates will be posted here.
Research and studies of the Toronto Island Park are important to the development of the Toronto Island Master Plan.
A Public Life Study was undertaken from August to September 2020 to better understand how the Island is used. Measuring public life – how many people walk by, who stops to sit down, what they do there – is critical in understanding the successes and challenges of a public space. Data was collected through a combination of behavioural observation and surveys. The findings of this study will help to inform the Toronto Island Park Master Plan
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