News Release
February 25, 2020

In partnership with the City of Toronto, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) will begin accelerated flood and erosion control work at Toronto Island Park and several waterfront locations. The City is working closely with TRCA to deliver proactive and innovative solutions to mitigate the impacts of high lake water levels and shoreline flooding in Toronto.

Currently, Lake Ontario water levels are more than 12 centimetres above those recorded at the same time last year and record high levels are anticipated again this year. The City will continue to work closely with TRCA to monitor the conditions that contribute to high lake water levels as spring approaches. Investments in parks and shoreline infrastructure protect against future flooding events and improve Toronto’s overall climate resilience.

Accelerated flood mitigation work at Toronto Island Park and along Toronto’s waterfront includes:
• geotechnical assessment of road raising for 300 metres of Lakeshore Avenue and 200 metres of Cibola Avenue at Toronto Island Park
• construction of a Ward’s Island beach curb
• construction of a berm or an increase in the existing seawall’s height at Algonquin Island, pending the outcome of engineering investigations
• drainage improvements to the Cherry Beach off-leash area shoreline, and
• construction of a natural barrier at the eastern beaches.

TRCA is currently working with PortsToronto to secure barging services for shuttling material for the flood mitigation work to Toronto Island Park. The potential berm planned for Algonquin Island will repurpose brick rubble sourced from demolition projects in Toronto and other construction materials to provide flood protection. Clean rubble is a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable alternative to quarrying and transporting purchased material from outside the Greater Toronto Area. The sourced material meets lakefill quality specifications.

Flood mitigation work along Toronto’s waterfront builds on the ongoing work to proactively address floods by repairing, remediating and enhancing the resilience of Toronto’s waterfront shoreline structures and tree canopy with long-term measures. In 2019, the federal government announced $11.9 million in funding for repair and enhancement projects through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, with the City contributing more than $17.9 million. To date, three projects have been completed as part of this work at Bluffers Park, Colonel Samuel Smith Park and Humber Bay Shores, and another four are expected to be completed at Bluffers Park, Sunnyside Park, Ashbridges Bay Park and Palace Pier in 2020.

Toronto Island Park is a well-loved destination for Toronto residents and visitors, with more than a million visits every year. On busy days in the summer, as many as 20,000 people a day ride the ferry. Past flooding has affected more than 800 residents, six island businesses, 30 waterfront businesses and two schools, and resulted in millions of dollars of damage.

The City will continue to supply sand to island residents for sandbagging, ensure accessible roadways for emergency vehicles, and provide and service generators and pumps. Despite higher water levels in 2019 than 2017, the City’s proactive measures were effective in reducing flooding impacts and the Island remained open.


“These investments in parks and shoreline infrastructure are a critical part of our support for Toronto’s ongoing work to protect against future flooding events and improve the city’s overall climate resilience. The City and the Government of Canada are funding these proactive measures to protect Toronto Island Park. This important work will help to ensure this vital city asset is here for future generations.”
– Mayor John Tory

“Long-term climate change resilience and adaptation measures are essential work for Toronto Island Park and our waterfront. We know that sandbagging alone cannot be the solution, and I’m pleased to see the proactive work being undertaken with our partners the TRCA.”
– Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York)

“Long-term planning, co-ordination and investments are required to ensure Toronto’s shoreline and waterfront parks are stewarded for future generations. TRCA will continue to work alongside the City to assess long-term flood mitigation and adaptation work and to encourage all levels of government to make strategic investments in parks and shoreline infrastructure.”
– Jennifer Innis, Chair, TRCA

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Jaclyn Carlisle
Strategic Communications
Michelle Sirizzotti
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority