Gil Penalosa to Replace Island Airport with 215-acre Park.
Press release – Toronto, October 14, 2022.
Torontonians Will Be Able to Connect Directly to Green Space on the Islands.
Mayoral candidate Gil Penalosa, joined by representatives of Parks not Planes, today announced his plan to replace the Island Airport with a new 215-acre park. The new green space would be accessible on foot through the existing tunnel.
“We will reduce emissions and increase access to nature with a green space one third the size of Central Park,” said Penalosa. “Torontonians are tired of waiting in long lines for a ferry to get to the islands and it's time we gave everyone a free, direct connection from the waterfront.”
Penalosa’s plan echoes trends from around the world that have seen cities, including Chicago and Berlin, transform urban airports into signature parks.
“We’re thrilled to have Gil’s support for transforming the Island Airport lands into a spectacular–and desperately needed–park,” said Brian Iler of Parks Not Planes. “By contrast, John Tory refuses any leadership.”
The City of Toronto’s existing airport lease will end in 2033 and the upcoming term of Council will make crucial decisions on what comes next. The province of Ontario already wants to change Ontario Place from a park to an entertainment centre and spa, which Penalosa strongly disagrees with. Gil will work with the federal government to protect the Island Airport lands from the same fate and develop a shared vision of their green future.
“Parks are essential for physical and mental health, they protect the environment and encourage economic competitiveness,” said Penalosa. “The Greater Toronto Area has the fastest growing urban population in industrialized nations. We will grow to 7.5 million from 5 million over the next 25 years and will need more green spaces. I will ensure that we give this property back to Torontonians.” Gil has worked in over 350 cities around the world advising mayors, decision makers and city builders on how to make their cities greener, more vibrant and livable.
To learn more about Gil Penalosa’s Toronto for Everyone mayoral campaign, focused on more affordable housing, safer streets and better public services that actually work for you, please visit www.gilformayor.ca.