May 9, 2005

Ottawa, Ontario, Toronto join to provide $10.5M for waterfront revitalization

A $10.5-million investment from the federal, Ontario and Toronto municipal government will enable the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC) to break ground on a number of projects to "green" the city's Port Lands and improve public access to the waterfront.

"With support and commitment from all three levels of government, waterfront revitalization has turned a corner," said TWRC chair Robert Fung, adding, "these Port Lands beautification projects are the first of many that will see shovels in the ground over the next year."

Public ownership, exceptional waterfront access and proximity to downtown make the 800-acre Port Lands an unprecedented opportunity for waterfront revitalization. While it will be several years before new neighbourhoods are built in the area, the initial investment will kick-start TWRC's efforts to lead revitalization with parks, cleanup and greening projects. Specific initiatives to be funded include:

-cleaning up and landscaping Cherry and Leslie Streets and Unwin Avenue to transform them into major gateways for the Port Lands and the future 500-acre Lake Ontario Park;

-landscaping on Commissioners Street;

-launching the Port Lands Community Planting Strategy (which this year will target sites at Cherry Beach and on Unwin Avenue);

-improving amenities and landscaping at Cherry Beach, Toronto's cleanest but largely underutilized beach; and

-establishing a Port Lands tree nursery.

"The Ontario government is excited to be part of an initiative that signals a new beginning for the Port Lands, one of Toronto's oldest brownfields," said David Caplan, Ontario Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal. "We are witnessing the start of a massive makeover that will transform the Port Lands into a vital and useful part of Ontario's capital city."

In addition to improving public access and drawing more people to the waterfront, these investments in the Port Lands "green infrastructure" will ultimately enhance the overall value of the area and make it more attractive for future investment. "Renewing Toronto's waterfront demonstrates our capacity for leadership in sustainable city building, architecture, urban design, community development and environmental stewardship," Toronto Mayor David Miller pointed out.

TWRC, in partnership with Evergreen and the Toronto Bay Initiative, is organizing the first Port Lands community planting event, to be held Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. at Cherry Beach. More information is available on the TWRC Web site, www.towaterfront.ca.

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