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.

Phase 2

August 2021

Youth Ambassador Pop-ups

Over 150 young people from across Toronto were engaged through a series of in person and online pop-up events designed and led by the Toronto Island Master Plan Youth Ambassador team. The team of 10 Ambassadors ranged in age from 15 – 27 and collectively spoke nine different languages. The team worked together throughout the summer to design and deliver events that engaged their peers and communities in the Toronto Island Master Plan’s Big Ideas.

A summary report will be posted here once it is available.

Eat, Play, Explore Survey

This survey specifically focused on current offerings at the Island including transportation, food and attractions, and what amenities and experiences park visitors would like to have access to in the future. The survey was open from August 4th to the 16th and received 1500 responses.

A summary report will be posted here once it is available.

July 2021

Big Ideas Public Workshop

Over 100 people attended the second virtual public workshop to provide feedback on the proposed Big Ideas gathered during Phase 1 of public engagement. This event included an overview about the Master Plan, an update on Phase 1 outcomes, and a presentation on the proposed Big Ideas. Discussions focussed on four main themes: Environment; Visitor Experience; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and History, Culture and Storytelling.

A summary report will be posted once it is available.

Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

For their second meeting, the CAC was joined by the City’s Technical Advisory Committee to discuss and co-develop the Big Ideas the emerged from Phase 1 of the public engagement process. In joining the two committees for this meeting, the goal was to have City staff collaborate with members of the public in vetting the Big Ideas and provide valuable insight on feasibility.

Download the July 2021 Community Advisory Committee:

June 2021

Big Ideas EngageTO

Through a City of Toronto digital platform, we invited members of the public to review, rate, and comment on preliminary Big Ideas from the Master Plan as well as to submit Big Ideas they thought would bring our collective vision to life. In total we collected over 140 ideas, 75,000 ratings and 900 comments were received from May 27 to June 20, 2021

Download the Big Ideas Summary Report.

Phase 1

April 28, 2021

Forum: Indigenous Placekeeping

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.

March 17 to April 9, 2021

The Visioning Survey

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.

Download the Survey Summary Report.

Interactive Map

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.

Download the Social Pinpoint Synthesis Report.

Engagement Toolkit

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.

April 7, 2021

Public Visioning Workshop

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.

Download the Public Visioning Workshop summary report.

March 28 to 31, 2021

Indigenous Focus Groups

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.

Download the Indigenous Engagement Summary Report.

March 17, 2021

Launch Ceremony

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.

February 2021

Indigenous Placemaking Advisory Circle (IPAC)

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.

Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (MCFN)

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.

Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

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.

Download the February 2021 Community Advisory Committee Meeting Summary.

Pre-Engagement

November 2020 to January 2021

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.

Download the Pre-Engagement Summary Report.

A diagram shows two circular shapes joined by thin arrows labelled "feedback", creating a vertical infinity eight symbol. The first circular shape at the top, is labelled "How", and is formed with three small arrows and four large ones. The three small grey arrows titled "site conditions", "best practises" and "strategies," point to larger grey arrow titled "Inputs". That arrow points to a large blue arrow titled "Big Moves", which points to a large green arrow titled "Actions," which points to a large light green arrow titled "Options". The second circle at the bottom, is labelled "Why". The circular shape is created with three small grey arrows titled "motivations", "aspirations" and "goals," that point to larger grey arrow titled "Inputs". That arrow points to a large red arrow titled "Drivers", which points to a large arrow titled "Vision," which points to a fourth large arrow titled "Principles".
Diagram shows the planned framework for the Toronto Island Park Master Plan.

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.

The Island’s one-of-a-kind identity is uncelebrated.

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 Indigenous history and significance of the Island is not well known.

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.

The Toronto Island visitor experience could be improved.

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 Island has unrealized and under-realized business opportunities that should be explored and improved to advance a holistic visitor experience.

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.

Access and Accessibility – It can be difficult to get to the Island.

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 dynamic environment that is constantly changing.

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.

Toronto Island and its supporting infrastructure is aging.

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.

Population Growth is placing increasing demands on Parks.

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:

Protect + Restore

  • The Environment: through stewardship and management of sensitive environments and habitats
  • The Community: to be safe, accessible and welcoming for all living beings
  • The Self: to be a place of healing and respite, away from busy urban life and in touch with nature

Honour + Celebrate

  • The land, water and sky, as well as all living beings that call Mnissing home: through Indigenous place-keeping, place-making and place-revealing
  • The identity, character and legacy of the islands: through Indigenous, Settler, Immigrant, Refugee and Visitor perspectives
  • Toronto’s diverse communities: through creating a space that is inclusive and celebratory of Indigenous communities, Black communities, People of Colour, LGBTQ2S+, women and gender non-conforming people, disabled people, children and youth, seniors, people experiencing poverty and all equity-deserving communities

Gather + Support

  • Explore collaborative governance, partnerships and coordinated program opportunities
  • Promote sharing, learning and teaching: through land-based practices, partnerships and programs
  • Ensure equitable access: through accessible and affordable spaces, experiences and connections

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:

Respect

  • By acknowledging the land as a living being
  • By advocating for the rights of all living beings and systems first and as part of interconnected and interdependent systems and existence
  • By honouring the practices and rights of past, present and future inhabitants

Diversity

  • By prioritizing inclusion and celebration of differing worldviews, experiences, and abilities
  • By ensuring equitable access to amenities, facilities, and services
  • By protecting and restoring sensitive and unique environments and habitats

Balance

  • By considering the needs of all parts of a system in the sharing and distribution of resources
  • By prioritizing the needs of the natural environment over human use and comfort

Accountability

  • By committing to transparent processes
  • By developing sustainable investment in social, environmental and economic initiatives
  • By cultivating lasting relationships with rights holders, stakeholders and communities

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:

  • Honour and respect Indigenous communities and their rights on the islands and water
  • Celebrate and protect the natural and cultural identity of the islands
  • Prioritize, protect and advocate for the natural significance and value of the islands
  • Leverage the dynamic nature of the islands and waterways to support adaptive and flexible use
  • Demonstrate resilience, sustainability and regenerative landscape management
  • Prioritize spaces that support equitable access, inclusion and flexible use
  • Enhance the visitor experience for all seasons
  • Reveal the unique character and spirit of the islands
  • Provide diverse amenities and experiences to encourage exploration, sharing and discovery
  • Develop evidence-based strategic investment to ensure long-term and continued support of improvements
  • Support opportunities for diverse and sustainable businesses to thrive

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.

Explore the ideas, ratings and comments shared.

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.

Toronto Island Park Public Life Study

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

While we aim to provide fully accessible content, there is no text alternative available for some of the content on this site. If you require alternate formats or need assistance understanding our maps, drawings, or any other content, please contact the project engagement team at 647-427–5331or islandparkmasterplan@toronto.ca.