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The Port Lands in Toronto is undergoing a C$1.25 billion infrastructure development known as the Port Lands Flood Protection Project. 

The Port Lands in Toronto is undergoing a C$1.25 billion infrastructure development known as the Port Lands Flood Protection Project. 

Photographer: Galit Rodan/Bloomberg
CityLab
Environment

Is This the Future of Urban Resilience?

Affordable housing. Flood-proofing. Rewilding. A massive project to reroute Toronto’s Don River is pushing the boundaries of green infrastructure.

What began as a defensive measure to protect Canada’s largest city from extreme flooding has evolved into one of the most ambitious urban resilience projects in the world.

Toronto’s Port Lands district — about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) southeast of the financial district — has languished for decades, an industrial wasteland jutting into Lake Ontario. But now, as part of the Port Lands Flood Protection Project, 600 acres are being reshaped, creating 64 acres of parks, 75 acres of wildlife habitat, a new 1.5-kilometer meandering river course and eventually housing to accommodate some 20,000 residents.