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Port Lands
Once the site of heavy industry, much of the Port Lands is now abandoned
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
City Toronto Toronto

The Port Lands (also known as Portlands) of Toronto, Ontario, Canada are an industrial and recreational neighbourhood located about 5 kilometres south-east of downtown, located on the former Don River delta.

Approximate geographical borders are the Gardiner Expressway/Don Valley Parkway ramps to the north and west, Lake Shore Boulevard to the north, Lake Ontario on the three remaining sides, the Inner Harbour to the west, Ashbridges Bay to the east and the open waters of Lake Ontario to the south. Landmarks include the Portlands Energy Centre, Cherry Beach, and the now out of service Hearn Generating Station.

Contents

History

Munitions Dump at Ashbridges Bay, 1916 (First World War)

The land was formerly marshland and delta of the Don River in Toronto. The area was connected to the Toronto Islands archipelago until a violent storm in 1858 created a natural channel break turning the archipelago into a series of islands to the west. Much of the port lands were initially part of Ashbridge's Bay, and the area was gradually filled in to make more available land for industry and shipping, beginning in the 1880s.

The Don River's mouth was filled in and the river was re-routed into the Keating Channel into the inner harbour and a large shipping channel (the inner basin) was created to allow access into the center of industry in the 1910s. Until the mid-20th century the area become further filled in and developed industrially under the watch of the Toronto Harbour Commission. With de-industrialization spreading rapidly by the 1980s, much of the previous land uses became abandoned. The port uses have been reduced to a 50-acre shipping facility and a cruise ship terminal, both run by the Toronto Port Authority, the successor agency of the Harbour Commission.

The vast majority of the lands were transferred to the City of Toronto in the 1990s. The area is ear-marked for cleanup and redevelopment in addition to restoring a natural mouth for the Don River. The redevelopment is being organized through the Waterfront Toronto partnership.

Industry

The Port Lands are mostly abandoned from the days of heavy industry. The Toronto Port Authority operates a container shipping facility and a cruise ship terminal along the eastern shore of the inner harbour. The newly opened Portlands Energy Centre, a cogeneration power plant, is situated beside the now defunct Richard L. Hearn Generating Station. The Hearn Generating Station smokestack (215m - 705 feet in height), together with the Ashbridges Bay sewage sludge incinerator stack and the Commissioners Street waste incinerator stack stand as towering landmarks of a bygone industrial era (All three facilities are no longer in operation).

Recreation

The area along the south shore of the Port Lands has become mostly recreational. The Leslie Street Spit extends south from the Port lands and forms an outer harbour, sheltering a bird sanctuary and two boating marinas in the outer harbour. The south-western corner of the Port Lands is home to Cherry Beach, parkland similar to the Toronto Islands but surrounded by a mostly vacant, industrial setting.

Business

The Docks Waterfront Entertainment Complex is located on Polson Street. In July 2007, Canada's largest Asian supermarket chain -- T & T Supermarket -- opened on the former site of Knob Hill Farms.

A former Esso oil storage facility was demolished and the Pinewood Toronto Studios (formerly FilmPort) has been built on the 11 acres (4.5 ha) site. The first phase opened in 2008, and the project will be complete in 2010.

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Major events

From August 9 to October 21, 2007, Cirque Du Soleil presented a touring version of KOOZA under the Grand Chapiteau on vacant lands of the area.

From September3 to November 8, 2009, Cirque Du Soleil presented a touring version of OVO under the Grand Chapiteau on vacant lands of the area.

See also

External links



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