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New stretch of Don River meets Lake Ontario in milestone for Toronto Port Lands redevelopment


A newly created stretch of the Don River finally touched waters with Lake Ontario this week, in a move hailed by Waterfront Toronto as a "significant milestone" in the redevelopment of the Port Lands.

The city started flooding the 1-kilometres extension of the river in January, but kept plugs — underwater concrete walls — in place until the water level in the newly created stretch of river was the same as that in the lake.

On Monday, the West Plug, located underneath the yellow Cherry Street South bridge, was removed. To remove the wall, workers cut it up into 10 panels, each weighing between 50 and 60 metric tons.

"Today’s milestone brings us one step closer to building thousands of new homes and opening landmark parks and imaginative greenspace that will become a destination on Toronto’s downtown waterfront," Waterfront Toronto said in a release.

The group's CEO, George Zegarac, noted in a statement that The Port Lands flood protection project is one of the largest civil engineering projects currently underway in North America.

"In Toronto, it’s unlike anything attempted before. Despite global challenges, we have stayed the course, keeping us on track to open the new parks and river in 2025," Zegarac said. "Today’s latest milestone brings us one step closer to reconnecting the new river to the lake."

The North Plug at the Keating Channel will be removed next, allowing the Don River to flow out through the re-naturalized path.

The west plug, after the river was flooded. (Handout / Waterfront Toronto)

Creating a new mouth for the river between the Ship Channel and the Keating Channel is an essential step in the $1.35 billion Port Lands flood protection project.

The move will help protect the area in the event of a regional storm or a 100 year flood.

Adding the flood protection is a key step to re-developing 290 hectors  (715 acres)in the southeastern corner of downtown Toronto.

The flood protection project is expected to be complete by the end of this year, with parks and the new river valley opening in 2025. Top Stories

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