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The Toronto Harbour Commission (THC) was a joint federal-municipal government agency based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The agency managed Toronto Harbour as well as being responsible for major works along the Toronto waterfront. It built the Toronto Island Airport in 1939. The agency was founded in 1911 and operated until 1999 when the port operations were transferred to the new Toronto Port Authority (TPA), now PortsToronto.
The Harbour Commission was the third organization to manage the Port of Toronto, after the Commissioners of the Harbour of Toronto, known as the Harbour Trust, formed in 1850. Prior to 1850, the harbour had had three commissioners appointed by the province of Upper Canada to oversee harbour works, in conjunction with the building of the Queen's Wharf, at the foot of Bathurst Street in 1833. One of the commissioners, Hugh Richardson, was named Toronto's first Harbourmaster in 1837 and he imposed wharf fees to pay for the Wharf.
The Harbour Trust was formed in 1850 at the suggestion of the Toronto Board of Trade. On behalf of port users, the Board expressed complaints in the operation of the provincial commission, which made no improvements in the harbour. The harbour was beset by silting problems which needed to be rectified. This second commission was governed by a five-man board, two from the City of Toronto, two from the Board of Trade and a fifth appointed by the province of Upper Canada, nominated by the four other members.The first work it undertook was to remove "certain stones now lying in the channel in front of the Queen's Wharf."
The Harbour Trust was also given authority over the Esplanade plan. The original 1817 plan intended to build a public walk and garden along the waterfront, just south of Front Street. The province's plan was largely ignored and the City allowed the use of the shoreline to be used for wharves and docking. In 1837, a new plan was developed for the Esplanade. In this plan, the Esplanade would be built just south of Front, and the waterfront extended south to the "Windmill Line", some 100 yards south. The new lands would be used for port uses.The Esplanade itself would become mostly railway lands.
The intrusion of the railways into the waterfront in the 1850s to 1890s period started to crowd out recreational uses. In 1892, a legal agreement solidified the railways' usage of the waterfront. In 1893, a new plan was developed to extend landfill another 600 feet (180 m) south, and a new Lake Street (today's Lake Shore Boulevard) established along the then-current waterfront edge. The problem of silting, and the increasing amount of sewage being dumped in the harbour, required ongoing dredging efforts. Other works by the Harbour Trust including a breakwater at the Don River and a breakwater at the Queen's Wharf to protect the entrance to the harbour.
The wetlands of the Don River were becoming increasingly polluted. Plans were developed to convert the area (1,000 acres in size) into usable lands. A planning advocacy group, the Civic Guild unveiled a plan in 1909 which advocated industrial and recreational uses for the land. The Board of Trade advocated the reclamation and infilling of the wetlands for port and industrial uses. The existing port facilities were inadequate when a railway strike occurred in 1910, forcing vessels to wait days to dock.
A referendum was held on January 2, 1911, to approve a new 'Toronto Harbour Commission' to take over the harbour and waterfront. The Toronto Telegram newspaper exposed the decrepit condition of the old harbour facilities, and the City and Board of Trade wanted a new Commission set up, similar to the Montreal Harbour Commission of 1908, with much-expanded powers over the Harbour Trust. The referendum was passed overwhelmingly.
The Government of Canada established the Toronto Harbour Commission on May 19, 1911 by an Act of Parliament.The commission was to manage Toronto harbour and waterfront lands in Toronto and provide for their improvement. Its initial plans included the cleanup of Sunnyside Beach, and a breakwater from the Humber River to Bathurst Street. In the central core, the Commission infilled lands south of Harbour Street to their current waterfront line. To the east, the Commission infilled the lands of the Don River marsh, for use as industrial and port lands. The bulk of these works were completed by 1925.
The Harbour Commission was the landlord for most of the Sunnyside Amusement Park at Sunnyside. After the Gardiner Expressway was built, the Harbour Commission transferred the Sunnyside lands to the City of Toronto.
In later years, the agency was responsible for the infill of Hanlan's Point on the Toronto Islands to build the Island airport. The agency also infilled the lands south of Lake Shore Boulevard south of the Canadian National Exhibition.
In the 1990s, the agency was requiring annual subsidies to manage the Island airport and the port lands. There were a number of harbour commissions in Canada and the federal government replaced the law under which harbours were managed, with the Canada Marine Act .Most ports were put under the authority of local governments and several were put under the authority of new 'Port Authority' agencies which would manage their affairs on a break-even basis. Toronto's was added to the Port Authority program, largely at the insistence of local Liberal MP Dennis Mills. In 2001, the new Toronto Port Authority was formed to manage the Port of Toronto, including the Island airport.
Also in the 1990s, the Harbour Commission transferred the Don River infill lands to the City of Toronto Economic Development Commission in exchange for an annual subsidy. In the 2000s, the Toronto Port Authority sued the City of Toronto for $1 billion over the lands, claiming that the lands were transferred illegally. The Authority and the City settled out of court in exchange for a promised bridge to the Island Airport and approximately $50 million.
Many of these milestones were documented by Wickson in 2002.
The Toronto Islands are a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario, south of mainland Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Comprising the only group of islands in the western part of Lake Ontario, the Toronto Islands are located just offshore from the city's downtown and provide shelter for Toronto Harbour. The islands are home to parkland, the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, several yacht clubs, Centreville Amusement Park, a residential area, and several beaches. The island community is considered to be the largest urban car-free community in North America, although some service vehicles are permitted. Access to the Islands is by ferry, including the City of Toronto ferries operating from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at the foot of Bay Street, or by water taxis.
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is a regional airport located on the Toronto Islands in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The airport is often referred to as Toronto Island Airport and was previously known as Port George VI Island Airport and Toronto City Centre Airport. The airport's name honours Billy Bishop, the Canadian World War I flying ace and World War II Air Marshal. It is used by civil aviation, air ambulances, and regional airlines using turboprop planes. In 2018, it was ranked Canada's ninth-busiest airport, and the sixth-busiest Canadian airport that serves the U.S.
St. Lawrence is a neighbourhood located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The area, a former industrial area, is bounded by Yonge, Front, and Parliament Streets, and the Canadian National railway embankment. The Esplanade off Yonge St., lined with restaurants, cafés and hotels runs through the middle of the area. In previous times, the area was sometimes referred to as 'St. Lawrence Ward' or more often today as 'St. Lawrence Market', synonymous with the large retail vendor market which is the neighbourhood's focal point. The area is the site of a large city-sponsored housing project of the 1970s, which revitalized an old 'brownfields' area. The boundaries of the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and the St Lawrence Market BIA are somewhat larger than those noted above. Both groups have boundaries that extend from Yonge to Parliament Streets and Queen Street East to the rail corridor.
Harbourfront is a neighbourhood on the northern shore of Lake Ontario within the downtown core of the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Part of the Toronto waterfront, Harbourfront extends from Bathurst Street in the west, along Queens Quay, with its ill-defined eastern boundary being either Yonge Street or York Street. Its northern boundary is the Gardiner Expressway.
The Toronto waterfront is the lakeshore of Lake Ontario in the City of Toronto, Ontario in Canada. It spans 46 kilometres between the mouth of Etobicoke Creek in the west, and the Rouge River in the East.
Toronto Harbour or Toronto Bay is a bay on the north shore of Lake Ontario, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is a natural harbour, protected from Lake Ontario waves by the Toronto Islands. Today, the harbour is used primarily for recreational boating, including personal vessels and pleasure boats providing scenic or party cruises. Ferries travel from docks on the mainland to the Islands, and cargo ships deliver aggregates and raw sugar to industries located in the harbour. Historically, the harbour has been used for military vessels, passenger traffic and cargo traffic. Waterfront uses include residential, recreational, cultural, commercial and industrial sites.
The Leslie Street Spit, or officially the Outer Harbour East Headland, is a man-made headland in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, extending from the city's east end in a roughly southwesterly direction into Lake Ontario. It is about 5 kilometres (3 mi) long. The Spit is the result of five decades of lakefilling by the Toronto Port Authority. It was conceived as an extension of Toronto Harbour, and has evolved into a largely passive recreation area. Naturalization had not been planned but the process is now actively managed by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority. A large portion of it is classified as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) and it is recognized as an Important Bird Area.
PortsToronto (PT), formerly known as the Toronto Port Authority (TPA), is responsible for the management of the harbour of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. It is a federally-incorporated agency, with directors appointed by three levels of government: the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto government. The agency changed its name in 2015 to PortsToronto.
Lake Shore Boulevard is a major arterial road running along more than half of the Lake Ontario waterfront in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Prior to 1998, two segments of Lake Shore Boulevard were designated as part of Highway 2, with the highway following the Gardiner Expressway between these two sections.
The Toronto Island ferries connect the Toronto Islands in Lake Ontario to the mainland of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The main city-operated ferry service carries passengers and vehicles from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at the foot of Bay Street to several docks on the islands. A ferry operated by PortsToronto carries passengers and vehicles to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on the island from the foot of Eireann Quay. Additional private ferries carry passengers to various island boat clubs. Ferry services to the islands began in 1833, and the Toronto Island Ferry company began in 1883.
The Toronto Ferry Company was formed from the merger of the Doty Ferry Company with A.J. Tymon's Island Ferry Company, two of Toronto's early ferry operators to Toronto Islands in 1890. TFC was founded and headed by businessman Lol Solman. The company's ferry license and ships were later acquired by the Toronto Transportation Commission in 1927.
Sunnyside is a lakefront district in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It includes a beach and park area along Lake Ontario's Humber Bay, from west of Exhibition Place to the mouth of the Humber River. The area has several recreation uses, including rowing clubs, sports clubs, picnic areas, playgrounds, a nightclub, a bathing pavilion and public pool. The area is a 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long strip along the lakeshore, bounded by the Gardiner Expressway and rail lines, which separate it from the Parkdale, Roncesvalles and Swansea neighbourhoods to the north. The name originates in a local farm owned by John Howard, which was situated just to the north, on the location of the current St. Joseph's Health Centre hospital.
The Port of San Francisco is a semi-independent organization that oversees the port facilities at San Francisco, California, United States. It is run by a five-member commission, appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Board of Supervisors. The Port is responsible for managing the larger waterfront area that extends from the anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge, along the Marina district, all the way around the north and east shores of the city of San Francisco including Fisherman's Wharf and the Embarcadero, and southward to the city line just beyond Candlestick Point. In 1968 the State of California, via the California State Lands Commission for the State-operated San Francisco Port Authority, transferred its responsibilities for the Harbor of San Francisco waterfront to the City and County of San Francisco / San Francisco Harbor Commission through the Burton Act AB2649. All eligible State port authority employees had the option to become employees of the City and County of San Francisco to maintain consistent operation of the Port of San Francisco.
Humber Bay is a bay of Lake Ontario south of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located between Ontario Place on the east and Mimico Creek to the west. The bay gives its name to Etobicoke's Humber Bay neighbourhood.
Community Air is a non-profit resident association in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada that seeks to have the Toronto Island Airport shut down and its lands converted to park land. The association is concerned about noise, pollution and safety aspects of the airport's operation. The group has regularly held protests at the airport site and at the airport's operator's general meetings.
The Port Lands of Toronto, Ontario, Canada are an industrial and recreational neighbourhood located about 5 kilometres south-east of downtown, located on the former Don River delta and most of Ashbridge's Bay.
Sunnyside Amusement Park was a popular amusement park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that ran from 1922 to 1955, demolished in 1955 to facilitate the building of the Metro Toronto Gardiner Expressway project. It was located on the Lake Ontario waterfront at the foot of Roncesvalles Avenue, west of downtown Toronto.
Originally conceived in the 1930s as the main airport for Toronto, the Toronto island airport has long been a source for political debate as to the proper use of its waterfront site in central Toronto. Building the airport necessitated the closure of park lands, a hotel, cottages and an amusement park on the Toronto Island site. Construction of the airport in the late 1930s was stopped and started and its final construction only went ahead after the death of the Toronto mayor who had opposed its construction.
South Core is a neighbourhood located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The South Core occupies the eastern portions of the Railway Lands. The remodeling and restoration of Union Station and the construction of a new wave of business and condominium towers is central to this area's forecast growth.
"Forecasters expect the downtown population to grow 80 per cent to 130,000 by 2031. With the financial district just to the north and the new high-rise South Core on the other side, Union is right at the centre."
The Esplanade is an east-west street along the central waterfront of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Originally conceived as a city beautification project to clean up the city's waterfront in the 1850s, the street was taken over by the coming of the railways to Toronto in 1850. The railway eventually moved to an elevated viaduct, leaving only the eastern section of the street today. The area, east of Yonge Street, was dominated by industrial uses until the second half of the 20th Century. As the harbour declined as a transfer point, the railway and industrial uses left the area. The Esplanade was redeveloped into a residential area, known as the "St. Lawrence Neighbourhood" in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This neighbourhood consists of generally low-rise and mid-rise housing - condominiums, public housing, cooperatives and some town homes between Jarvis and Parliament Streets south of Front Street. In the blocks between Jarvis and Parliament, the southern part of the street were converted to a long strip of park and recreation space for the residents - David Crombie Park. The stretch between Scott Street and Market Street is a popular restaurant area.