Toronto’s Port Lands is an area of about 356 hectares (880 acres) that stretches from the Inner Harbour on the west to Leslie Street in the east, and from Lake Shore Boulevard in the north to the to the Outer Harbour in the south.

The Port Lands were created in the early 20th Century by filling in Ashbridges Bay to create additional industrial areas for the growing city. The Port Lands have been used for a variety of industrial activities over the years, including providing the city’s only industrial port, manufacturing functions and energy generation. Today, the lands continue to be used for industrial and port functions, but there are large amounts of vacant and underutilized land. The Port Lands are an unparalleled revitalization opportunity for Toronto.

Not only is the Port Lands one of the most significant urban renewal opportunities in Toronto, it is also a remarkable place today. Its concentration of heritage resources, natural areas, active port and industrial uses assist in building and maintaining the broader city. It also has numerous film studios and related uses that support Toronto’s film sector. Several planning initiatives are underway setting the stage for urban renewal of the Port Lands.

Map of the Port Lands districts and precincts. The map shows the location of Media City, Turning Basin District, Warehouse District, East Port, South Port East, Maritime Hub, South Port, South River, Villiers Island, Polson Quay, McCleary District and Ports Toronto.
Several districts are identified in the Port Lands Planning Framework including Media City, Turning Basin District, Warehouse District, East Port, South Port East, Maritime Hub, South Port, South River, Villiers Island, Polson Quay, McCleary District and Ports Toronto.

The Port Lands Planning Framework (PLPF), Port Lands Official Plan Modification (OPM) and Villiers Island Precinct Plan were adopted by City Council on December 8, 2017. These studies and the implementing OPM represents the culmination of over four years of collaborative work by the City and Waterfront Toronto, with support from the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and numerous City divisions and agencies, reflecting a robust consultation and engagement program. These documents provide guidance on urban renewal within the Port Lands and ensure all development advanced in the near, medium and longer-terms will support long-term city building objectives.

The Port Lands Planning Framework, approved by City Council in December 2017, provides:

  • a comprehensive 50-plus year vision for the area
  • a context for positive change
  • establishes new and enhanced policy direction that is the basis for the recommended Official Plan modifications to the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan for the Port Lands

While the Port Lands Planning Framework is a major accomplishment for advancing more detailed planning in the area, additional studies and work continues to be advanced to implement this vision.

The December 5, 2017 Council Decision on the Port Lands Planning Initiatives – Final Report, approved:

Several appellants of the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan (CWSP), including public agencies, existing industries, and private owners with development aspirations, raised issues with Port Lands Official Plan Modification (OPM).

The Port Lands OPM was appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) and the City worked with the various appellants to resolve the majority of issues. A Settlement Hearing was held on April 16, 2021 to present the various settlements and the revised version of the OPM to the Tribunal.

The Phase 1 OLT Decision on May 18, 2021, resolved land use, land use and land use compatibility issues.

A Port Lands OPM Phase 2 OLT Settlement Hearing was held on May 19, 2022 which presented revisions to the Port Lands OPM that resolved the majority of outstanding matters, specifically cultural heritage, views, inclusive communities, community infrastructure, built form, arts and culture, sustainability and biodiversity. The Phase 2 OLT Decision was issued on July 11, 2022.

Please contact Anthony Kittel, Project Manager, Waterfront for a copy of the Phase 2 OLT Decision.

Map of the Port Lands employment-focused districts that were the subject of the Port Lands Zoning Review. . The map highlights the location of Warehouse District, East Port, South Port East, Maritime Hub, and South Port.

The Port Lands Planning Framework provides direction with respect to commercial, industrial and park land uses that will be encouraged within the Port Lands. The current zoning does not permit many of these uses within the Port Lands. New zoning regulations for employment-focused districts better align with the Council-adopted Port Lands Planning Framework direction, and are more reflective of land uses that the City is encouraging in the Warehouse District, East Port, South Port and Maritime Hub.

In particular, the zoning review updated zoning for Port Lands employment- focused lands, and increase as-of-right zoning permissions for port, industrial, and production, interactive and creative uses.

In addition, the zoning review addressed parks and open system to ensure it aligns with the Port Land Planning Framework’s land use direction.

Information & Reports

City staff were directed by City Council to update the zoning for approximately 200 hectares of employment lands to facilitate the transformation of the Port Lands into a number of new urban employment districts amid activities of a working port that include Media City, Turn Basin, Warehouse, East Port and South Ship Channel Districts.

The four adopted zoning by-law amendments to Zoning By-law 569-2013 can be found at:

Ontario Land Tribunal Appeals

The four Port Lands Zoning Review By-laws were appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) and are not in force for the Port Lands. An OLT Hearing has not been scheduled at this time.

Due to the appeals to the Port Lands Zoning Review zoning by-laws, Zoning By-law 438-86 remains in force, as well as the Port Lands Interim Control By-law.

A map of the existing condition of the PIC Core Districts, Media City and Turning Basin District. This includes the location of Pinewood Studios, the FedEx warehouse, Ship Channel, Turning Basin, McCleary Park and Mayfair Clubs.

The City of Toronto, in partnership with Waterfront Toronto, is undertaking an urban design guidelines study for Production, Interactive and Creative (PIC) districts to further expand on the Council-adopted vision for the Port Lands for approximately 33 hectares of industrial land. This area will transform into two vibrant modern, urban districts that will become a creative industry hub, anchored by film and media campuses.

Media City and the Turning Basin are Production, Interactive and Creative (PIC) Core Districts in the Port Lands that employment-focused with vibrant pedestrian-friendly streetscapes and water’s edge promenade.

Media City is envisioned as a district for film, television and digital media production alongside other creative and supportive uses. Turning Basin will transition from light manufacturing and warehousing into creative uses.

Meeting & Events

Stakeholder involvement and public consultation are critical components of the urban design guidelines study. The City is holding a Community Consultation meeting to present an update on the direction of the PIC Core Urban Design Guidelines Study, and provide an opportunity for your questions and to share your comments.

Virtual Public Open House #1

This public open house was held on September 22, 2022 and focused on providing an update on the PIC Core Urban Design Guidelines and an opportunity for community members to provide input into the guidelines.

The Waterfront Toronto PIC Core Urban Design Guidelines website includes information on the Virtual Public Open House, including the Virtual Open House Presentation material and a video of the Virtual Public Open House.

LURA Consulting prepared a Summary Report of PIC Core Public Engagement for the first round of public and stakeholder engagement.

Please contact Anthony Kittel, Project Manager, Waterfront for a copy of the Summary Report of PIC Core Public Engagement.

Information & Reports

The Port Lands Planning Framework and the Port Lands Official Plan Modification, adopted by City Council on December 5, 2017, provides detailed land use directions for the Regeneration Areas in the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan and endorsement of a work program to initiative more detailed planning in key areas of the Port Lands.

City staff were directed by City Council to develop production, interactive and creative core urban design guidelines for the Media City and Turning Basin Districts to provide guidance on performance standards and inform the Port Lands Zoning Review Study.

February 3, 2020 Film, Television and Digital Media Advisory Board:

January 26, 2022 Waterfront Design Review Panel Meeting:

April 4, 2022 Film, Television and Digital Media Advisory Board: (NEW)

McCleary District

The District

McCleary District comprises approximately 19.75 hectares (48.80 acres) that are bounded by Don Roadway to the west, Commissioners Street to the south, Lake Shore Boulevard East to the north and Logan Avenue to the east.

McCleary District is envisioned as a dense, transit-oriented, complete mixed-use community and hub of activity, with a mid-rise feel. The District will contribute to broader economic objectives and complement the East Harbour office destination envisioned to the north, as well as the film studios and other creative uses to the south and east. The District will be bookended by two spectacular open spaces – the new Don River Valley to its west and McCleary Park to its east. Tall buildings will be focused along the Don Roadway and Lake Shore Boulevard, terracing down in height towards McCleary Park and Commissioners Street.

Precinct Planning

The City, in partnership with Waterfront Toronto and CreateTO, are anticipating beginning a precinct planning process for McCleary District in early 2023, with the development of a robust community and Indigenous engagement strategy and confirming the vision, objectives and direction of the precinct plan.

The McCleary District Precinct Plan will provide more detailed direction for the District, based upon the Port Lands Planning Framework and Central Waterfront Secondary Plan (CWSP).  The CWSP required that a precinct plan be completed before rezoning these lands with residential permissions.

The precinct plan will generally establish local street and block patterns, locally-oriented parks and open spaces, the preferred location for community infrastructure, detailed urban design and streetscape guidelines, heritage, passive design, and sustainability recommendations, and specific strategies for public art and affordable housing.

The City, in partnership with Waterfront Toronto and CreateTO, are anticipating beginning a precinct planning process for McCleary District in early 2023, with the development of a robust community and Indigenous engagement strategy and confirming the vision, objectives and direction of the precinct plan.

More information on the precinct planning process and future engagement events will be posted here when available.