Toronto Harbour Infill Reclaimed Land

That time Toronto filled in the harbour

Most of the land that currently exists below Front Street is the result of landfill. In the early 1920s, the Toronto Harbour Commission made good on a plan hatched years before to fill in a portion of the harbour, which eventually gave rise to Lake Shore Boulevard, the new street that can be seen in the above photo.

Subsequent projects dating as late as the 1950s extended the city even further south into the lake. For my money, the most interesting way to track this expansion of the city is via the relationship of the Harbour Commission Building to the shoreline. When it was built in 1917, it sat right on the water. Today it's more than half a kilometre away.

Check out these historical photos that show was Toronto was like before and after they filled in the harbour.

BEFORE

The harbour in 1883:

Toronto Harbour 1883


Yonge Street Dock 1906:

Yonge Street Dock


Aerial of the waterfront in 1918:

Toronto Aerial 1918


Harbour Commission Building 1920:

Harbour Commission Building


Harbour Commission Building 1920s:

Harbour Commission Building


Dredging the Lake:

Harobour Commission Building


AFTER

Harbour 1920s:

Harbour Commission Building


Harbour 1926, post-infill:

Harbour Commission Building


Harbour area in 1928:

Harbour Commission Building


The waterfront from the Royal Bank 1929:

Harbour Commission Builidng


Waterfront aerial 1938:

Toronto Aerial 1938


Harbour Commission Building 1980s:

Toronto Waterfront 1980s


The changing harbour:

Toronto Waterfront



Photos from the Toronto Archives


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

The garden car might be Toronto's most unusual landmark

The 35 most iconic photos you can take in Toronto

blogTO is now on WeChat and Weibo

The mist garden is one of Toronto's secret cooling spots

5 of the strangest things to ever happen in Toronto

The guy behind the King St. middle finger is running for city council

It will soon be easier to cross the street in Toronto

Worker lockout could put a damper on the CNE this year