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. It is a commercial port on the Great Lakes as well as a recreational harbour. Waterfront uses include shipping, residential, recreational and cultural.
Toronto Harbour is both a commercial port and a recreation area. Commercial activities are confined mainly to the harbour's eastern side, while the western side was developed into Harbourfront, a conversion from industrial land to recreational and cultural uses. Harbourfront has parks, hotels, an amphitheatre, and many other facilities. The Toronto Islands are also mostly recreational, although they do also contain a small community and an airport.
Toronto also has a second harbour, called the Outer Harbour (Toronto Harbour is sometimes called the Inner Harbour), but it never developed into a commercially viable project. It was created in the 1950s by the Toronto Harbour Commission through the construction of a new breakwater called the Outer Harbour East Headland. At that time, it was expected that there would be a great upswing in the number of ships calling at Toronto once the Saint Lawrence Seaway opened. However, the need for an extra harbour never materialized, and private boats are the only traffic usually found there now.
Today, the tonnage of cargo passing through the port is made up mostly of sugar to the Redpath Sugar Refinery and aggregate materials.
Rochester Ferry service:
- In 2007, the port handled 1.6 million tonnes of traffic, a 0.3% share of national port traffic, 16th out of 19 Canada Port Authority ports by traffic.
- In 2006, Transport Canada ranked Toronto 39th out of 313 ports in all of Canada in total tonnage shipped.
- Statistics Canada ranks the port 15th in shipping activity in Ontario.
In June 2004, the company Canadian American Transportation Systems (CATS) began regular passenger/vehicle ferry service between Pier 52 and Rochester, New York using the vessel Spirit of Ontario I. The service used a marketing name called "The Breeze". While Rochester had a custom-built ferry terminal, the Toronto terminal was a temporary facility, near the end of Cherry Street for security and customs screening facilities while a permanent marine passenger terminal was still under consideration for construction. CATS discontinued the service after only 11 weeks; among the problems cited was the absence of a permanent marine passenger terminal in Toronto and literally no Canadian interest in the service.
The Toronto Economic Development Corp (TEDCO) was not properly consulted by the American interests who combined with the Mayor saw little political favour in seeing the project through from the City of Toronto's point of view. The vessel was sold in a bankruptcy sale in February 2005 to Rochester Ferry Company LLC, a subsidiary of the City of Rochester. In April 2005, Rochester Ferry Company LLC announced that the Rochester-Toronto ferry service using Spirit of Ontario I would return, operated by Bay Ferries Great Lakes Limited and using the marketing name "The Cat". The Toronto Port Authority officially opened the International Marine Passenger Terminal on June 27, 2005, three days before ferry service resumed. Even with impressive passenger numbers by the winter of 2006 the ferry service lost funding from the City of Rochester and announced that it would no longer be in business. The terminal building was later used for filming the CBC crime drama The Border.