Photographers documenting Toronto’s Port Lands project

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Photographers Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker have been taking photos in the Port Lands since 2019. They were commissioned to document the Port Lands Flood Protection project and have been photographing the heavy construction, led by site contractor EllisDon, for the past four years.

“I’ve always had an interest in urban issues and the idea of the archive,” Ingelevics said in an interview posted on the Waterfront Toronto website. “My father used to work in the Port Lands, which struck me as an unusual connection to the site.

“I also worked there in the summers in high school. The opportunity to create a record that will be this significant for the City of Toronto, as an artist and photographer/documentarian, is a great challenge.”

Walker says he was motivated by an interest in “these forgotten spaces” and he describes the Port Lands as “the wild west.”

“When I saw the request for proposals, I was excited about playing a role in the massive transformation. I don’t think I could grasp the sheer scale of this project and how significant it was,” he said. “This project is such a transformative moment for the city. The public isn’t going to see the bioengineering and layers that exist beneath the surface.

“The importance of this documentation is to capture this moment in time and to see the lengths that the engineering and project team and landscape architects are going to, to ensure that this is done right.”

The plan is to reconnect the Don River to Lake Ontario by creating a naturalized river mouth – one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Toronto’s history. A crucial part of this project involves building new public spaces, roads and bridges and utilities, as well as structures to control water flow and manage sediment and debris.

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