August 11, 2013 interview with Jim Tovey, Ward 1 Councillor in Mississauga, regarding Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project

Update (Dec. 9, 2014): There has been discussion in the past for the soil that is being removed from the Hanlan Project to be used for Inspiration Lakeview as part of the process of extending the shoreline southward into Lake Ontario. In that regard, things have changed a bit, as I understand.

Here’s my current understanding: The Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project Environmental Assessment has not yet been completed and the construction for the Hanlan Project is now well underway meaning the timing between the two projects didn’t match up.

That said, Jim Tovey has noted (Dec. 30, 2014) that over the upcoming decade, plenty of landfill from ongoing projects in Peel Region will be available for the purpose of extending the shoreline into Lake Ontario as part of the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project.

[End of update]


I live in Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey), a community along the shore of Lake Ontario located next to Mississauga.

In recent years I’ve been following with interest the work of the Lakeview Residents Association and Lakeview Inspiration.

[The last-noted link in the previous sentence may be a little slow to load but it’s well worth the few seconds that it takes to access the site.]

A key player in Inspiration Lakeview and the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Environmental Assessment project is Jim Tovey, Councillor for Ward 1 in Mississauga.

This blog post is a record of my interview [items in square brackets are notes that I’ve added] with him on August 11, 2013.

Communications and community engagement

Jim Tovey, Councillor for Ward 1, City of Mississauga. Outside Second Cup near No Frills in Port Credit, August 16, 2013. Jaan Pill photo

In our August 11, 2013 interview, I mentioned to Tovey that the quality of communications – and the quality of community engagement – that I’ve encountered with regard to Inspiration Lakeview and the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Environmental Assessment project has been a strong source of inspiration for me.

“Yeah, thank you,” said Tovey.  “You know, and our community here – I’m sure you’re familiar with it: We’ve had 120 years of military, utility, and industrial pollution.”

Our interview (this is an edited version) continues as follows:

Jaan Pill: Yes, that’s exactly the case.

Doors Open Mississauga takes place on September 28, 2013 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Jim Tovey: Now, we’ve got this tremendous opportunity to reverse that and actually try and create a model – a new model for the world, and – which is very exciting, and also, you know, to celebrate this incredibly rich heritage that we have down here, that literally was almost lost.

Jaan Pill: Absolutely. You also spoke earlier about Doors Open Mississauga on September 28, 2013 at the Small Arms Building at Dixie Road and Lakeshore Road East in Mississauga. Can you tell me more about that? [As a link in the next sentence notes, the building was under threat of demolition in the fall of 2008.]

Image from Small Arms website (see link immediately above this photo). For videos highlighting Second World War small arms, see links at the end of this blog post.

Jim Tovey: Our eventual goal with the Small Arms Building is to turn it into a centre for arts, culture, heritage, and science.

So this year at the Doors Open we’re going to actually highlight all of those different areas, which will be the first time actually that we’ve highlighted all of the areas.

We’ve got a really great local Mississauga singer – Heather Brissenden – and she’s going to come with her piano player and do Hits of the Blitz, and that should be fun.

And we’ve got 25 [or more] local artists that will be having an art exhibit in the main hall.

We’ve got World War Two re-enactors and some of the women who worked at the factory during World War Two.

The Lorne Scots are coming. They’ve got machine gun batteries. They’re going to have machine gun battery races.

Long Branch Aerodrome

And Gerald Haddon’s coming again, which is fabulous. We’ve got him booked for the next three years – and he’s J.A.D. McCurdy’s grandson.

Jaan Pill: He’s an excellent speaker.

Jim Tovey: He’s a wonderful guy – just a wonderful man. And, of course, I’m sure you’re aware, his grandfather was the manager of the Curtis School of Aviation there, at the Long Branch Aerodrome in 1915, 16, and 17.

PANORAMA AIR CREW 1917. Photo by Bob Lansdale (March 2013) of the original photo at the Long Branch Legion, 3850 Lake Shore Blvd. West, Etobicoke. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT. Click again to enlarge it further. Use ‘Back’ button on your browser to return to the page you are now reading.

J.A.D. McCurdy

Jaan Pill: Exactly. That’s a most interesting aspect of Canadian history.

[Further details about the Long Branch Aerodrome can be found here.]

J.A.D. McCurdy. Photo: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 79

[The first airplane flight in Canada, and in the British Empire, took place on February 23, 1909 when Honorary Colonel Gerald Haddon’s grandfather,    J.A.D. McCurdy, flew an airplane from the frozen surface of a lake in Nova Scotia.]

Jim Tovey: Oh no kidding! And it’s kind of funny. I had a meeting with the president and board of directors of the GTAA  [Greater Toronto Airports Authority] – you know, Pearson Airport. They were stunned. They didn’t know that the first airport in Canada was in Lakeview.

So now they are very supportive, of course, which is great.

Sherman M4 tank

Sherman M4 tank. Supplied image published in Sept. 27, 2012 Mississauga News article regarding Doors Open Mississauga (see link to the right of this photo)

Jim Tovey: And we’ve got a Sherman M4 tank, which is operational, which is great. [A September 27, 2012 Mississauga News article highlights the tank and the Small Arms Open Door event held in 2012.]

[Click here to access a 2.5-minute video about the inside of a Sherman M4 tank.]

Jim Tovey: And what else simply have we got? I think for this year we have a 40 mm cannon coming.

[To contextualize the discussion of Canada’s contribution to the Allied cause during the Second World War, you may wish to refer to the Military History Category at the Preserved Stories website. It may be added that a Canadian, Sir William Stephenson, played a key role in Allied wartime intelligence operations.]

September 28, 2013 Doors Open event will also highlight Lakeview environmental science projects

Jim Tovey: Plus displays of all of the environmental science projects we’re working on.

Stone hooking trade

Jim Tovey: Like the whole scene – I don’t know if you’re familiar with: Are you familiar with the stone hooking trade at all?

Jaan Pill: Yes I am, yeah.

Stone hooking tool. The image is from a Museums of Mississauga website page for January 2013. The site is accessible at the stone hooking link (see above).

Jim Tovey: Yeah so, you know, stone hooking was an incredible industry for Port Credit in the late 1800s. But what happened because of that, they completely denuded the fish habitat across the waterfront in Mississauga and at the mouth of the Credit River, so there is hardly any fish habitat.

Lakeview Waterfront Plan_high_31.07.2013-low. Source: Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Now we’re negotiating with OPG [Ontario Power Generation] to lease the coal pier from them. If we can do that, then the public will be able to walk from Marie Curtis Park right on the water’s edge, right over to the Adamson Estate. And if you take the shoreline and pull it out like a string, that’s seven and a half kilometres of total public access. I mean that completes my dream, totally.

So we’ll be highlighting that project as well, and how we’re going to be re-introducing fish habitat, migrating bird habitat, and restoring wetlands.

Sand beach

And I guess we’re having a couple more meetings in [the Toronto side], too, so the project – I’m not sure if you’ve seen the most recent iteration of the project, but basically, it’s pulled back pretty well to the Mississauga border, where the border actually starts, so we can retain that sand beach.

Because even the people on our side said, well, it’s one of the few sand beaches, you know. We’ll need to try to protect that, and we’ll actually – in the new iteration, we’ll actually be bringing in sand, and increasing the area of the sand beach on the west side, just before it starts into the small cobble. I think that’ll be good.

Jaan Pill. That’s great. And I very much like the fact that the project has excellent communications with the public.

Jim Tovey: Ah, thank you.

Jaan Pill: And also, that the input from the community is actually taken into account, in a very serious way. I find that tremendously inspiring

Jim Tovey: Yeah, that’s how we like to operate. We try to make sure that everybody’s ideas are respected and accommodated – as best as they can be, right?

Hanlan Feedermain

The beauty of the lakefill project, from my standpoint, is that we knew about the Hanlan Feedermain way before I was elected, and we realized that, when they put this pipe in the ground – Do you know of the Hanlan Feedermain project?

Jaan Pill: No.

Jim Tovey: It’s the Hanlan Feedermain. [It’s named after Edward (Ned) Hanlan who was declared the world’s rowing champion from 1880 to 1884. Additional details about Ned Hanlan can be found here.] We have a big water plant – We actually have the largest water plant in North America – that’s in my ward. We supply I think 70 percent of the water to Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, and a percentage of York Region’s needs.

Jaan Pill: I didn’t know that.

Port Credit Yacht Club. Jaan Pill photo

Jim Tovey: Yeah, it’s a huge water plant. If you take Lakefront Promenade, and you go down towards the Port Credit Yacht Club, you’ll see this massive building on the north side of Lakefront Promenade. You’ll see this massive building being built.

Jaan Pill: I’ll check it out.

Jim Tovey: Yeah, you should check it out. That’s called the Hanlan Feedermain. It’s an eight-foot water pipe, that we’re going to be digging from – literally from my back yard; I back on to it – all the way to the Hanlan Reservoir, which is 15 kilometres away, and that water pipe’s going to supply additional water to York Region, Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon for the next 100 years.

Jaan Pill: Incredible.

Lakeview Water Treatment Plant Expansion Phase 2. Jaan Pill photo

Jim Tovey: I found out that they were going to spend about $50 million to take the leftover dirt and drive it out of town and put it in a landfill site. So when I was elected, I made sure I got on the board of the TRCA [Toronto and Region Conservation Authority] and the CRC [Credit River Conservation].

I’m the only councillor that’s on both conservation authorities and I believe in the work they do. That’s one reason [I’m on both boards], but the other reason was I thought, you know, we’ve got the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority, which has the best lake fill experts in Canada, and then we’ve got the Credit Valley Conservation Authority, that has some of the best marine biologists in the country.

And I thought: Wow, if we can get those two groups together, and see what we could actually do with that fill, locally:

How many trucks could we take off the road? And what sort of a benefit could we provide to the community – by using it in a more creative way to reinstitute habitat and to help restore our environment?

So we did that.

I brought that idea to the Regional Council, because I’m also a regional councillor, and they all went: “Sure, let’s have a look at it.”

And then at the end of the day they came back and said: “Okay, we think we can use all the fill, and it may be a revenue-neutral project.”

Jaan Pill: I didn’t know that.

Jim Tovey: We’ll divert about 200,000 diesel trucks [truck loads] from long haul trips.

Jaan Pill: I didn’t know it all came down to you. That’s amazing.

Jim Tovey: Yes, myself and our community, I am really proud of that, and again, you know, it’s been an absolute thrill to work with both those teams, from both conservation authorities, because (a) they’re really nice people, and (b) they’re so knowledgeable. So it’s been a great learning experience for me to work with them.

And so now, we’re sort of at the point where we’ve got the – the EA [Environmental Assessment] is almost finished.

We had a little bit of a glitch, and we’ve already had two meetings with Minister of the Environment on it, and the Ministry, on the initial concepts seemed to like the proposal.

So what we need to try and do is – we’re trying to fast track the EA, because the Hanlan Feedermain, they’re going to start digging that in about December 2013, so that means we’re going to start stockpiling clean fill.

Entrance to G. E. Booth (Lakeview) Wastewater Treatment Plant. Jaan Pill photo

W. E. Booth (Lakeview) Wastewater Treatment Plant (middle of photo). View looking south toward Lake Ontario. Jaan Pill photo

So we’re hoping to stockpile fill at the G.E. Booth wastewater plant and then if everything goes well with getting the EA applied for – we should be able to get our EA approvals by late 2014, and then we can start building it.

Jaan Pill: That will be great.

Jim Tovey: It’s a big project. It should take about seven years.

Summer a good time to get things accomplished

Jaan Pill: I imagine things will get pretty busy in September for you.

Jim Tovey: I had a meeting with the City Clerk shortly after being elected, and, you know, I brought my executive assistant with me. She’s one of my dearest friends and very qualified. She lives at Dixie and Lakeshore right across from the Small Arms Building. She’s been working with me on projects for probably about seven years, and I said: “Do you have a job description for my EA [executive assistant] and administrative assistant?

And they said: “Oh, yeah.”

And then I said: “Do you have a job description for me?” [Laughs]

That’s funny. And they said: “No, there’s no job description for a councillor.  You can work as much as you want or as little as you want.”

I said: “Okay. That works.”

So I just like to work a lot and I find I get more done in the summer than I do any other time.

Jaan Pill: Yeah, that’s a good way to approach it.

Jim Tovey: You know, it’s easier to get meetings with senior policy advisors from the Province and Federal Government, and all of our commissioners and senior staff. They’re around all summer, and there are no Council meetings, or Committee meetings, and I find there’s less distractions in getting things accomplished. Also our local Federal and Provincial representatives have been extremely helpful in arranging conversations for us.

Jaan Pill: Yeah, that’s beautiful.

[End of interview]

Links related to Small Arms 

Archival Small Arms photo. The image is from a September 27, 2012 Mississauga News article about Doors Open Mississauga (see link positioned to the right of the Sherman M4 tank photo earlier in this blog post).

A vintage American military training film on small arms operations can be found here.

A second small arms training film can be accessed here.

A 1953 U.S. military training film describing types of small arms can be accessed here.

An audio recording in which Paul R. Scott describes working at Small Arms from 1940 to 1945 can be found here.



No. 4 MkI (T) similar to rifles made at Small Arms. Image is from Small Arms website (see link earlier in this blog post).


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