More than half a century after being pronounced dead, the Don River which cuts across Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has come back to life thanks to decades of advocacy work and funding dedicated to its restoration.
In 1969, Toronto’s Don River – named after Yorkshire’s River Don – was officially declared dead due to neglect, discharge from heavy industry, and sewage dumping. Through the years, the Task Force restored wetlands, cleaned the river’s banks, and reduce the city’s use of salt during winter.
Thanks to the investment of some $1 billion, the river’s mouth’s restoration, one of the Task’s main goals, is near completion with the creation of wetlands, levees, and a new route for the Don. Led by Waterfront Toronto, the project adds 3 hectares of new coastal wetland and 4 hectares of habitat in what used to be a post-industrial wasteland long despised and feared. The city is now investing $2.2 billion to build three tunnels to route untreated sewage away from the river. Upon completion in 15 years, there will no longer be sewage overflows in the river.