Luka Opacic with a 17 pound Toronto harbour carp
Posted on July 6, 2012 by

Fishing is Back on the Harbourfront

I know this is a few weeks old now, but it’s still very important to follow-up on this issue and so I’m compelled to post. I also feel bad for not making time to complete this while I was on vacation. If you’ve read about the recent ban on fishing along the Harbourfront here in Toronto then you’ll be happy to know that the city folded and the signs have been removed! Some friends and active members of our forums all met up near to Toronto Island ferry docks to fish and celebrate the lifting of the ban. The Toronto Sun was even on hand when Luka Opacic landed this nice 17 pound carp!

We had really hoped to make this a multi-species event, but the pike never showed and though we did see some other species, none hooked up. Even with only one fish landed the trip was a true success and celebration of the wonderful fishing opportunities to be had in our great city. Lots of people stopped to ask us what we were fishing for, what kind of bait we were using, and of course if we were planning on eating our catch. The fish along the Harbourfront are safe to eat according to the Ministry of Natural Resources, but we’re all avid catch-and-release fishermen.

The TRCA event at the Gladstone Hotel held the night before was fantastic. The crowd was pumped because of the recent ban and you could tell many anglers were very upset, but I didn’t see any torches or pitchforks. Instead the conversation was focused and intelligent. Councillor Paula Fletcher was on hand and promised (to the best of her abilities) that she would get the signs removed- and later that night she did!

Some of the statistics thrown around at the event were absolutely mind-boggling when you begin to understand just how enormous the recreational fishing industry is. For example, more people in Canada fish than play golf and hockey combined! Or that anglers spend as much as the national beer sales! The biggest surprise for me was when professional angler David Chong mentioned Fishing Fury and our coverage of the event, and more specifically the outraged thread that was created on our forums that even caught the eyes of City Hall, the MNR, the TPA, and HarbourFront Centre.

I would like to thank Councillor Paula Fletcher, Councillor Adam Vaughan, the TRCA, David Chong, Wil Wegman, Chris Robinson, Satyendra Bhavsar, the Gladstone Hotel, the Toronto Sun, David Clark, David Kearney, and all the members of our forums that helped by writing and calling.

I’d say that we can all raise a pint to a mission accomplished, but I wouldn’t call this over just yet.

No fishing - TorontoSun
Posted on June 12, 2012 by

Toronto Fishing Ban Becoming Reality

This is a follow-up to our earlier post about the unfair treatment of anglers and illegal enforcement of the TPA bylaws along the Toronto Harbourfront. Unfortunately the update is a lot of bad news for anglers. The City of Toronto has officially banned fishing in all public parks west of Unwin Ave. to near Sunnyside Park, key parts of the harbourfront area for anglers. Coincidentally these no fishing signs were installed on June 5th, the day before the “Gone Fishing” motion could be brought before city council. Perhaps the Toronto Parks have never heard the phrase “look before you leap”, because it would seem they’ve leaped right in to a swarm of angry anglers.

“City parks have always been open for fishing,” said avid angler David Kearney, 42. “The fishing community has respected the sign and stopped fishing. We were told we could fish Ontario Place up until when it goes under construction. But it’s so filled with garbage, you can’t fish there.”

If you live in Toronto, have fished in Toronto, know someone who fishes in Toronto, or believe that all Torontonians should be allowed to fish the public waters of Toronto especially those in our public parks. Then I ask that you sign this petition as a show of your support.

On June 5th 2012 the City of Toronto posted ‘No Fishing’ signs along all of its waterfronts, lots of them! The reason and rational for this ban is as of yet unknown.

Just the thought of banning fishing in Toronto is outrageous, and yet the infinite wisdom of City officials has led them to do just that. there is strength in numbers, we need to let City Hall know that we will not stand for such a blatant and unwarranted infringement of our rights! If we can get enough signatures maybe we can show City Hall that we are serous, and that we are not going away! If you disagree with the no fishing ban please sign up and share this petition with your friends.

Please also visit and ‘Like’ our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SayNoToTheTorontoFishingBan

Please, sign the “Say No to the City of Toronto Fishing Ban” Petition now!

If you wish to go even further please consider writing to some of the following (we ask that you please write responsibly):

Oh and don’t forget June is Parks & Recreations month here in Toronto! However, Toronto Parks failure to organize even a single fishing event may only be a sign of things to come.

Shore Fishermen Lose a Downtown Spot - [TORONTOIST - BRENDAN ROSS]
Posted on April 2, 2012 by

Toronto Fishermen Furious Over Fishing By-Law Enforcement

Here in Toronto we have some of best urban shore fishing I’ve ever experienced in a metropolis. It should really come as no surprise to most of our readers as this blog was born from the shore fishing opportunities Clive and I discovered on the Toronto Islands eight years ago! In that time we’ve posted dozens of shore fishing reports from around Toronto, and have been interviewed and featured in The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Sun. We even shot an episode of Big City Fishing with Jamie Pistili, a show entirely focused on urban fishing.

Recently however, the shore fishing here in Toronto has taken a very sour turn. Many fisherman have been told to stop fishing and leave the area by security guards and even the harbour police. Coincidentally all of these fisherman were told that shore fishing was illegal under the Toronto Port Authority by-law #24 and there was no shore fishing allowed along the harbourfront from the east beaches to the mouth of the Humber river.

Here is the by-law as written by the TPA in their Practices and Procedures.

24. No person shall fish from shoreline unless in an authorized area designated by posted signs.

So under this law all shore owned by the TPA is a no fishing zone unless a sign specifically stating fishing is allowed in the area is posted. Now have a look at this TPA jurisdiction map so you can see just how much area is covered under this by-law. Not to mention it also covers the Toronto Islands, which the city of Toronto has praised as an excellent urban fishing opportunity (pdf), and Ontario Place where Dave Mercer held a kids fishing day last year.

After much outrage in our forums and on several other large Ontario fishing boards, and no doubt man angry and frustrated anglers making phone calls to the Toronto Port Authority. The TPA responded by engaging us on our own turf and explaining the situation. You can read the full response by Mike Riehl of the TPA on our forums, these are just the most relevant bits.

The vast majority of the waterfront property in the harbour are owned by the City of Toronto, Harbourfront Centre, Ontario Place or by private companies and NOT the Toronto Port Authority.

Fishing is commonplace amongst the Toronto Islands which fall under the jurisdiction of the city’s Park and Recreation Department.
Chapter 608 of the Toronto Municipal Code deals with Parks. Section 38 addresses Fishing.

Harbourfront Centre and Ontario Place are separate identities from the city and province and have their own rules. Both do NOT allow fishing on their property and that signage is posted.

Harbourfront Centre’s jurisdiction covers from York St slip to Portland St slip except for HT0 Park East (where the beach and umbrellas are…at this time I am not sure if the City’s Park and Rec Dept has posted no fishing signs there).

So what the map doesn’t show is that the TPA really only owns about 20% of the shoreline along the city, the Toronto Islands are covered under Toronto Parks and Recreation (see section 603-38), and the rest is controlled by the Harbourfront Centre or other private companies. Ultimately this means that areas where fisherman were being hassled and mistreated did not have signs posted stating it was a no fishing zone, were not under TPA jurisdiction, and furthermore the security guards and police did not have authority to enforce the TPA’s by-law there. So as it turns out the TPA is not the actual source of the fishing problem we are facing, but the misguided use of their by-law by unauthorized security personnel, namely the Harbourfront Centre.

On March 27th the Toronto Port Authority released a statement saying that they “will initiate a dialog with several key waterfront stakeholders, including the City of Toronto, Harbourfront Centre, Ontario Place, Waterfront Toronto and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources regarding the recent confusion surrounding the rights of individuals to enjoy the pleasure of fishing in Toronto-area waters.”

Mark McQueen, Chairman of the TPA Board of Directors, said that “the TPA fully supports public use of Toronto’s waters for a variety of safe activities. Whether it be fishing, sailing, power boating, or rowing, among other pursuits, we encourage the enjoyment of the tremendous public asset that is Lake Ontario. Fishing has never been banned, and once appropriate sites are chosen by landlords and marked for public use, we are happy to host a fishing derby this summer to encourage Torontonians to come down to the waterfront and try their hand at landing a Northern Pike, among other sport fish.”

Considering none of this was actually the TPA’s fault since they were basically being used as the scapegoat on an illegal fishing ban, they have clearly taken the high road. My hat is off to Mark McQueen and Mike Riehl of the TPA for all their efforts. I think the idea of a Toronto fishing derby is a fantastic idea and will gladly help in any way that I can. I’m also working on a collaborative google map of legal fishing spots along the lakeshore.

Stay tuned as we’ll try to provide some more timely updates on the situation. That said if you wish to join the ongoing conversation please consider joining our forums.