Environmental Investigations + Studies

The Ontario government is committed to meeting or exceeding the applicable legislation and regulations in all the environmental and ecological work completed on site.

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Key objectives include:

  • Create up-to-date understanding of the environmental conditions, wildlife and ecosystems on site, and to follow best practices that protect future users of the site and environment
What is the condition of soil and groundwater on the site?

Ontario Place was constructed using urban fill, a soil matrix that contains other materials such as brick, cement, and coal.  This was common practice at the time, but we now know that it is often impacted with low levels of contamination.  

To better understand the conditions on site, the province is undertaking soil and groundwater investigations.  This involves drilling narrow boreholes at various locations across the site.  Soil is sampled at different depths and wells are installed to allow groundwater to be sampled.  These samples determine the presence or absence of contamination.   

We will use a risk-management approach to ensure the site is safe for development. Risk management measures may include things like specific types of construction or “capping” the site under a layer of clean soil or a hard material such as concrete. The province is voluntarily applying best practices to address any contamination on site, and is working with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks (MECP) to meet statutory requirements (for example ‘record of site condition’) where applicable.

What is a record of site condition?

A record of site condition (RSC) is a process managed by MECP to document that a specific property has no soil or groundwater contamination exceeding the established criteria for the site and can be considered safe for the proposed property use.  

What is a risk assessment?

Risk assessment scientifically examines the risk posed to humans, plants, wildlife and the natural environment from exposure to a contaminant. The purpose of a risk assessment is to develop property specific standards that will protect the uses that are being proposed to take place on the property. 

What are risk management measures?

Risk management measures are actions that can be taken at a site to reduce the risk of exposure to a contaminant.  Examples include isolating the contamination by sealing it under pavement or clean soil, preventing the use of groundwater for drinking water, and using specialized construction techniques.

What is being done to protect the site’s ecology?

It is important to understand the ecosystem and its components before starting construction at Ontario Place.  To establish a baseline understanding of the site, the province completed a series of ecological investigations throughout 2022. These include environmental analysis, Species at Risk analysis, building and structure assessments, arborist reports, aquatic surveys, and wildlife survey work.  All this information will identify current conditions and help mitigate any potential impact of the redevelopment.  

Current status

A Natural Heritage Impact Study (NHIS) is currently underway encompassing the East Island, West Island, and Mainland areas at Ontario Place.  

Project documents

Relevant documents will be added as they become available.