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.


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


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

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