Public shoreline parkland or private spa?

The future of Ontario Place hangs in the balance.

West Island – Ontario Place by Zunaid Khan

The natural habitat of Ontario Place was a chief casualty of the grand New Deal announced between the City of Toronto and the provincial government on November 27, 2023.

As part of the deal to help the city resolve its critical budget shortfalls, the city agreed not to interfere with the province’s development plans for Ontario Place. Now the fate of important winter shorebird habitat, hundreds of trees and public shoreline trails all rest clearly in the hands of Queen’s Park.

At this point, Toronto’s nature community needs to make our case to our provincial MPPs, and especially to any Conservative MPPs in the GTA area, since they have a voice in the Premier’s own caucus.  Easy instructions on how you can find and message your own MPP (either by phone or email) can be found here.

The non-profit advocacy group Ontario Place for All has taken legal action to stop the destruction of West Island.  Ontario Place for All has not given up arguing for public greenspaces along the waterfront, and we shouldn’t give up either. So please do make that call, and encourage friends to do the same. Our arguments remain as strong as ever:

  • Many North American shorebird species are showing major population declines, and the loss of migratory stopover sites (like Toronto’s remaining natural shorelines) – through shoreline hardening, loss of wetlands and loss of beaches – are key contributing factors.
  • Public lands along the waterfront should not be privatized.

Ellen Schwartzel

TFN Past President & Chair of Advocacy Committee.

Toronto Field Naturalists wishes to acknowledge this Land through which we walk. For thousands of years, the Land has been shared by the Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, and the Anishinaabe. Toronto is situated on the Land within the Toronto Purchase, Treaty 13, the traditional and treaty Lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is also part of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum, a covenant agreement between Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Wendat peoples and allied nations to peaceably share the land and all its resources. Today, the Land is home to peoples of numerous nations. We are all grateful to have the opportunity to continue to care for and share the beauty of this Land.