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The Pickering Lands encompass approximately 18,600 acres of land in Pickering, Markham and Uxbridge (56 kilometres northeast of downtown Toronto). The lands were acquired by the Government of Canada in 1972 for a future airport. Transport Canada is responsible for the day-to-day management and long-term planning of the federally owned Pickering Lands.
Transport Canada released a Needs Assessment Study in 2011 that concluded an additional airport in the region will be needed between 2027 and 2037, when capacity at existing airports in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area is predicted to be reached. At the time, the Government of Canada committed to developing a plan for the Pickering Lands.
On June 11, 2013, the Government of Canada announced:
- the western portion of the Pickering Lands (approximately 5,000 acres) will be transferred to Parks Canada to form part of the future Rouge National Urban Park;
- the south-east quadrant of the existing lands (approximately 8,700 acres) will be retained as the site for a future airport; and
- the remaining Transport Canada lands will be used for some economic development.
Transport Canada is following a prescribed regulatory process to update the Pickering airport site designation and the Pickering Airport Site Zoning Regulations to reflect a smaller airport site. This process will include engaging citizens and interested parties through formal public consultation. Transport Canada will also work with the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to amend the existing provincial Minister’s Zoning Orders to reflect the provincial protections that will continue to be needed for the smaller airport site.
Transport Canada is working with Parks Canada to formally transfer the lands for the Rouge National Urban Park.
In parallel, Transport Canada is actively seeking input on the future use and management of the remaining Pickering Lands with the public, provincial, regional and municipal officials, as well as with business interests and with others in the region. Public information sessions were held in June 2013 and online feedback was solicited at this time. This input is helping to shape development and management plans for the future of the Pickering Lands.
For more information, including a map of the lands, please visit our Pickering Lands website.