Six thousand new residences - Restaurants, coffee shops and hip retail spaces, offices, schools, child care and community centres. Artful public spaces and over 23 acres of green parkland right in downtown Toronto. There's a beautiful neighbourhood rising from the industrial wasteland that was the West Don Lands. But it has taken tremendous vision to break ground on the rebirth this underused parcel of land.
In the 1900s, the West Don Lands was a dynamic industrial area with busy factories and warehouses. But by the 1970s, rapid deindustrialization had effectively shut the area down. Industries moved, factories closed and the area lay vacant for decades. For years it was boarded up on King Street and cut off from the city by the Don River to the east, the Gardiner Expressway way to the South and the not-yet-restored Distillery District to the west. The West Don Lands became a place completely out of the consciousness of Torontonians.
In 2006 things changed. The province put the West Don Lands in the hands of Waterfront Toronto. They developed definitive plans, public funds were set, and one of the largest redevelopments in our city's history began. Now the area is experiencing an exciting renaissance, and massive steps towards revitalization has been made. A flood protection landform has been built to protect the area from Don River flooding. The 18 acre Don River park and the highly innovative Underpass park are nearing completion. Work on the River City development, and final buildings in the Distillery District are in progress. The Canary District project and a developer for the PanAm Games Athletes village have been announced.
It's an exciting time to be living in Toronto - A whole new section of the city is opening up. And it's going to be amazing.