BEFORE: Unwin Avenue and surrounding site.
BEFORE: Commissioners Street
AFTER: Cherry Beach Sports Fields today.

AFTER: Cirque du Soleil attracts thousands to the revitalized Commissioners Street site.

Our commitment to environmental stewardship in the port lands includes testing, managing and monitoring contaminated lands and any other environmental matters to ensure lands can be effectively and efficiently returned to a more productive use for the City’s long-term planning. As we work to determine the best economic return for the lands, we will ensure the environmental safety of the local port lands community.
Our expertise in brownfield remediation, including value creation, redevelopment and cleanup, stems from the brownfield legacy of contamination in the port lands.

The company provides ongoing environmental stewardship in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and partners with:

  • Ministry of the Environment (MOE)
  • Ministry of Labour
  • City departments
  • Waterfront Toronto
  • Toronto Regional Conservation Authority

TPLC provided environmental advice in drafting Ontario’s brownfield Regulation 509 posted by the MOE.

Our decisions are based on current and longer term social and environmental consequences in addition to economic growth. Adhering to this truple bottom line has been part of our narrative as an urban development corporation.

We have a history of firsts in Toronto in this regard. In 2006, the $15 million 184,000 sq ft Canpar distribution facility developed by TPLC became the first LEED building owned by a City corporation. It also retained jobs in Toronto, revitalized an abandoned property, freed up Canpar’s former waterfront location to make way for mixed-use redevelopment and created a 700% increase in tax revenues for the City on the new site.

In 2008, Phase 1 of the largest low-rise green residential community in Canada at the time was completed. Built to LEED-H standard, this $100 million joint development between Monarch Corporation and TPLC helped grow the market for sustainable residential development.

Environmental stewardship remains a key component of TPLC initiatives and includes testing, monitoring, and managing contamination and other environmental issues on properties.

The Port Lands were reclaimed from Lake Ontario between the late 1800s and early 1900s. The material used for reclamation and infill purposes at the time was not environmentally friendly compared to today’s standards. In addition, the Port Lands became home to heavy industrial manufacturing (ship building, foundry, metal works) and bulk coal storage and distribution for decades. Heavy industry transitioned to lighter manufacturing, warehousing and bulk petroleum fuel storage and distribution. As the petroleum industry evolved over time, its storage and distribution needs changed and operations in the Port Lands ceased.

TPLC has successfully decommissioned many of the former fuel storage tanks and other historic infrastructure throughout the Port Lands. This activity allows former derelict lands to returned to productive uses whether it is for redevelopment or leasing purposes. Some examples of creating recreational and productive space from former industrial and derelict lands are Cherry Beach Sports Fields and the revitalized Port Lands site for Cirque du Soleil on Commissioners Street.

TPLC’s brownfield expertise and historic knowledge of the port lands and its environmental issues are critical to the strong relationships with the provincial Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and the Ministry of Labour (MOL) as well as City departments, Waterfront Toronto, TRCA, and experts. This expertise and collaborative approach has seen TPLC become part of a collective of brownfield experts sharing information and participating in roundtables and industry discussions. TPLC also had input along with these industry partners into the drafting of the amendments to the provincial regulations governing brownfields remediation and redevelopment.

A key driver of TPLC’s environmental stewardship is the Soil and Groundwater Strategy in partnership with both municipal and provincial authorities. The goal of the strategy is to develop an environmental road map for the restoration of soil and groundwater conditions in the port lands.

The two components of the strategy are:

Area Wide Initiative(AWI)

  • Involves collecting soil and groundwater information over time to understand existing environmental conditions
  • Data used for managing or restoring sites for redevelopment
  • Create and AWI information database

Individual Site Initiative

  • A comprehensive approach to the short and long-term management of individual sites
  • A variety of conditions on individual sites require appropriate responses
  • Data collection provides information to TPLC and other stakeholders

TPLC staff also manage all Certificates of Property Use (CPUs) which are issued upon completion of a risk assessment, and in addition to the AWI, report regularly to the MOE that the properties are in compliance A Record of Site Condition is also often secured as a condition of redeveloping a property and/or leasing it to a tenant.

An environmental termination audit is conducted at the end of a lease to ensure departing tenants have not adversely impacted properties during their tenure. In 2009 TPLC successfully updated compliance with necessary regulations with the MOE and the MOL.