• BQNA

Vision for the Toronto Airport Lands presentation

The BQNA hosted a presentation on the vision of a new waterfront park for Toronto by Tom Bessai, Partner: Denegri Bessai Studio Architecture; Lecturer: University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.



Design concepts:

  • Natural process

  • Informal connectivity

  • Diversity

Five feature Zones:

  • Zone one beach dunes

  • Zone two marsh wetlands

  • Zone three active recreation and market

  • Zone four feature site

  • Zone five accommodation, restaurant




Why Turn the Island Airport into a Park

Toronto City Council Nov 26, 2019 “Final Parkland Strategy Report” proposes ensuring that Toronto’s system of parks expand as the city grows and evolves:

  • Expand existing parks by acquiring and securing adjacent lands particularly in high-growth areas

  • Find opportunities to acquire and create new legacy parks over time to strengthen Toronto’s identity as a global, liveable city.


From City of Toronto 2017 Staff Presentation November 14, 2017

  1. The downtown core, between Bathurst Street in the west, Parliament in the east, Queens Quay in the south and Bloor Street in the north, is more deficient in parkland than any other city neighbourhood.

  2. The population in the downtown core is now approximately 300,000 people.

  3. Many new residential high-rise buildings are under construction and more are in the planning stages.

  4. People from all over Toronto and beyond are flocking to the Toronto Island Park, Ward’s Beach and the Clothing Optional Beach, near Hanlan’s Point, which and all are crowded.

  5. This is a serious quality of life issue: the lack of clean air and green space are environmental and health issues.

  6. The 215 acres of the Island Airport lands should be converted to a park and joined or merged with the Toronto Island Park to create 800 acres of public park open to all citizens.

  7. No rezoning would be required – the Official Plan for the Airport lands restricts its uses to park and natural area, once the Airport closes.




Current Design Team, Vision for the Toronto Islands:

Tom Bessai, Maria Denegri


Original Design Team:

Tom Bessai, Graham Bolton, Jennifer Buckland, Andrew Butler, Maria Denegri, Samantha Schneider, Chris Wallace










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