Toronto’s shoreline stretches from Etobicoke Creek in the west to the Rouge River in the east. As the crow flies, that’s 41 kilometres from end to end. But the actual length of where Toronto’s mainland meets the lake, with every wiggle, stretch and curve is almost 3 times that: 113 kilometres. Every inlet, peninsula, slip and quay lengthens Toronto’s shoreline, and presents an opportunity to enjoy the waterfront.
So it’s important to take stock of the ownership and access to the shoreline. In an ideal world, a city’s shoreline is 100% open public access, regardless of use. It’s impossible to achieve that in practice, but it is a worthy goal to work towards.
My interest in Toronto’s shoreline and its ownership started after taking a walk in Etobicoke, and experiencing the intermittent access that occurs between Marie Curtis Park in the west, and Norris Crescent in the east. It seemed way more fractured compared to other parts of the city, but was it true, or was it merely a sentiment?
This is a breakdown of the ownership, history, and use of Toronto’s shoreline; all in order to answer that very question, and kickstart the discussion about how to achieve a more accessible waterfront.
- This data was created using shoreline, property parcel and web map service data from Toronto’s Open Data Portal, made available under the Toronto Open Government Licence v1.0 (refer to the Metroscapes Open Data changelog for dates).
- The shoreline is naturally subject to fluctuations due to changes in static lake elevation or shoreline erosion, as well as human modifications (e.g. private development, public infrastructure). Therefore this data is provided ‘as is’; please refer to the disclaimers at the Open Data page.
- This generally does not account for boardwalks or inland ponds / wetlands, and may not account for all groins / breakwaters.
This project is informed by first-hand walks listed on the Toronto Walk Page