Average Commute Time
The Housing Market
What You’ll Love
What Not To Expect
The Port Lands neighbourhood is situated in southern Toronto, southeast of the downtown core. It includes almost 290 hectares of land hugging the waterfront. Already the home to landmark destinations like Cherry Beach and Tommy Thompson Park, the Port Lands neighbourhood is on the threshold of undergoing a major renovation. This will revitalize Toronto’s expansive waterfront with an urban island, green space and a new river valley; creating a unique city landscape.
This Waterfront Toronto project will be the catalyst for the creation of a new neighbourhood, consisting of homes and offices and providing living space for many Torontonians.
Historically, this district was one of the largest wetlands on Lake Ontario. Much of the area was originally part of Ashbridge’s Bay. Industries such as the Gooderham and Worts Distillery created significant pollution problems in the 1880s when the water was used for industrial waste disposal.
By 1922, the City of Toronto infilled the marsh to address the health concerns and to provide land for new industry and shipping. In the 1980s, a majority of the industries left the area, though a small scattering of light industries remained.
In 2017, all levels of government granted $1.25 billion to Waterfront Toronto to be used primarily to stop the area from flooding and to infill the mouth of the Don River. Currently, this massive revitalization project remains ongoing with a vision to create an island, a flowing river, and green space. This will allow for the creation of new homes and offices in a neglected region that has much potential.
The area contains a proliferation of industries, including Portland’s Energy Centre, which is a natural gas electrical generating station and a massive landmark along the waterfront. The Port of Toronto is a 21-hectare shipping facility and also houses a cruise ship terminal operated by Ports Toronto.
The TTC also operates two facilities in the area, including its Lakeshore garage and a maintenance and storage facility for streetcars. Toronto Hydro is a major industry in the Port Lands with a facility that housed 189 solar panels for internal use in 2009. In addition, a variety of concrete companies are on a “concrete campus” on Commissioner’s Street, including Essroc, Lafarge, Metrix and St. Mary’s.
FedEx also has its major shipping facility here, containing small planes and vehicles for domestic and international couriering.
An unlikely tenant in a vista of industries is the movie studio Pinewood Toronto Studios, which opened in 2008 and has created such popular films as It, Total Recall, and RoboCop.
Things to Do in Port Lands
Arts & Culture
Nestled in this industrial area is the Rebel nightclub on Polson Street. The club defines itself as “Toronto’s premier nightlife, concert and event destination.” Torontonians who like to see and be seen are the first in line to book VIP tables and snag a spot on the guest list for this trendy nightspot. Jam-packed crowds enjoy the prolific DJs spinning tunes on Revolution Saturdays. Progressive artists also bring album tours to the Rebel, and the dance floor reverberates with music lovers enjoying a night on the town. Those young enough to enjoy dancing till the early morning will find this establishment a favourite stop on their weekend agenda.
Port Lands is just a 15-minute walk away from several local shopping districts, including Queen Street West, Bay Street, and Yonge Street. The nearby Eaton Centre, situated at Yonge and Dundas Streets, is home to world-class shopping. This venue features 300+ retailers and is one of the largest shopping centres in the city.
Restaurants & Dining
There are a plethora of restaurants situated in this neighbourhood on Portland Street that welcome beach-goers frequenting nearby Cherry Beach. Some of the eateries here include Sara, Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, Vela, Gaston 101, Shook, and Cabana Waterfront Patio. Cabana features luxurious surroundings, including a bar and lounge, a DJ, and a high-end menu. Beachy-type seating is located around a large pool.
The Cherry Street Bar-B-Que stands out as a popular spot to enjoy dining on a patio. Serving up slow-smoked meats, the restaurant is a favourite for scrumptious sandwiches. Additionally, for large gatherings, it offers take-out platters like the Super Bowl 2022 dishes that were prepared for the big day.
Cherry Beach is a popular destination for families and sun worshippers. Since the creation of the beach in the early 1930s, it has been a well-known destination for 20-something groups of friends, couples, and families enjoying the warmer than average waters.
Situated on the southwestern corner of the Port Lands, this beach can be compared to the beaches on Toronto Island with wooded areas and green space. Cherry Beach and the adjoining Clarke Beach Park feature remarkable sunsets across Lake Ontario, and biking and hiking trails provide a diversion from busy city life.
Tommy Thompson Park is a nature reserve situated on the Port Land’s narrow peninsula on Leslie Street. Featuring 10 kilometres of walking, cycling, and hiking trails, this park is unique in that it is entirely man-made. More than 100,000 nature enthusiasts visit the park each year, where they can take part in activities like all-seasons guided nature hikes.
Toronto residents who can’t find an empty sports field downtown can travel south to the Port Lands to enjoy a game of soccer. Cherry Beach Sports Fields features two state-of-the-art soccer and lacrosse fields that opened in 2008. They were constructed to meet the high demand in Toronto for outdoor recreational space.
These fields offer high-tech artificial playing surfaces that are expected to last 25 years. A nearby children’s playground also provides families with a spot for unwinding whether it be to watch a soccer game or for playtime.
Just east of Cherry Beach, you’ll find a plethora of sailing clubs for boating enthusiasts who sail on Lake Ontario and the waterways beyond. The St. James Town Sailing Club, Hanlan Boat Club, and Sailing Fanatics are a few of the clubs offering a meeting place for like-minded sailors.
Transit & Commute Times
The bottom end of the Don Valley Parkway is in this neighbourhood and connects with the Gardiner Expressway, which will also take you north to Barrie. Downtown Toronto is just a 15-minute walk from the Port Lands and TTC buses regularly run through the area.
A Neighbourhood in Transition
This neighbourhood is on the verge of undergoing a massive revitalization, which will result in the creation of an urban island, green space, and a river valley by 2024. This new construction will provide an environmental safeguard against flooding and lead to the creation of a unique enclave of homes and offices, enhancing this underdeveloped waterfront area.
Frequently Asked Question
What is Port Lands known for?
Port Lands is known for popular landmarks like Cherry Beach and Tommy Thompson Park.