Fact Sheet

Pickering Lands

  • In 1972, the Government of Canada acquired approximately 18,600 acres of land, located 56 kilometers northeast of downtown Toronto, for a future airport. Since that time, these lands, typically referred to as the Pickering Lands, have been managed by Transport Canada.
  • The Government of Canada is taking a balanced approach to the management of the Pickering Lands, ensuring environmental, community and economic demands are being met.  As part of this approach, Transport Canada has transferred a significant portion of the lands to Parks Canada for Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP). 
  • On April 1, 2017, Transport Canada formally transferred 21 km2 of the northwest portion the Pickering Lands to Parks Canada to extend the RNUP. This is in addition to the 19.1 km2 acres of the western portion Transport Canada transferred to Parks Canada in April 2015.
  • Transport Canada has retained a smaller portion (approximately 35.2 km2) for potential future development.
  • As a result of the transfers, Transport Canada is in the process of updating the Pickering airport site designation and the Pickering Airport Site Zoning Regulations to reflect a smaller potential airport site.
  • These regulations aim to protect the smaller site for potential future aviation needs by ensuring land use and development adjacent to and in the vicinity of the airport site does not interfere with safe aircraft operations.
  • It is important to note that no decisions have been made to develop an airport on the Pickering Lands. Any decision on the development of the Pickering Lands will be based on a sound business case and updated data on aviation demand and capacity.
  • A needs assessment study based on 2010 data predicted that an airport would be needed between 2027 and 2037. That data needs to be updated.
  • Transport Canada has initiated an aviation sector analysis to obtain updated aviation demand and capacity data. The work is expected to be completed in 2018.
  • In 2015, Transport Canada also mandated an Independent Advisor to carry out targeted stakeholder consultations on the economic development of the Pickering Lands. 
  • The 2016 report of the Independent Advisor, along with the aviation sector analysis, will help inform future decisions on the economic development of the Pickering Lands.

To learn more or view a map of the lands, please visit our Pickering Lands website.

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