Ontario Construction News staff writer
The City of Toronto has launched a public engagement process that will inform the Toronto Island Park Master Plan and shape the future of the Toronto Islands.
Details were released last week at a virtual launch ceremony that included an invocation and blessing by a Mississauga Elder, remarks from Indigenous leaders, an overview of the Toronto Island Park Master Plan and a celebration of the Island Stories campaign. Information was shared about the project and how to get involved in the three-phase public engagement process that will run until 2022.
“As the public engagement process begins on the Toronto Island Park Master Plan, I want to invite each one of you to share your feedback. Our priority is ensuring that the plan is as inclusive and equitable as possible, to reimagine what the future of Toronto Island Park could look like,” said councillor Joe Cressy.
The group of islands sheltering the Toronto harbour has been known by several names. For the Michi Saagiig (Mississaugas), it was simply known as Mnisiing, meaning ”on the islands”. Later they were collectively known as Aiionwatha or Hiawatha’s Island. Today, they are known as Toronto Island Park.
The master plan will be a long-term planning framework to guide decision-making and future investment in the park. Over the next year and a half, the city will work closely with Indigenous rights holders, urban Indigenous communities, Island residents, waterfront communities and businesses and park visitors to develop a plan that will secure Toronto Island Park as a cherished gathering place for generations to come.
In addition to informing future physical improvements, it will include improvements to the visitor experience – promoting equitable access, prioritizing place-keeping and protecting the area’s natural and cultural heritage.
Three phases of public engagement are planned:
“Towards a Vision” begins now and extends through to the end of April 2021. This phase explores a vision for the future of Toronto Island Park. In consideration of COVID-19 Public Health guidelines and restrictions, no in-person activities will be offered, however the public is invited to share ideas. Two additional phases of public engagement will follow, with the Master Plan anticipated to be complete in summer 2022.
“The Island means something different to everyone. In this phase of the engagement process, we’re reflecting on the unique role the island plays in the lives of Torontonians – before we collectively reimagine its future,” said councillor Mike Layton.