The City of Pickering is committed to preserving the unique character of its waterfront, and most recently has announced its efforts to pursue opportunities to buy the bay and return the treasured asset back into public ownership.

Sale of the Bay

In October 2023, Pickering Harbour Company, the owner of the bay, listed its property for sale.

  • The first listing, at a cost of $60 million (600 Liverpool Rd.), consisted of 34 acres in Lake Ontario and 133 acres in Frenchman's Bay — zoned as residential.
  • The second listing, at a cost of $20 million (591 Liverpool Rd.), consisted of a boat storage/maintenance and marine services business on just less than six acres of commercial property overlooking the lake.

City’s bid to buy the Bay

The City undertook a competitive market analysis, led by KPMG, to appraise the fair market value of the land. This was an important step to fulfil the City’s commitment to fiscal prudence and verify whether the land was fairly priced by the seller.  

Upon completion of this analysis, the City of Pickering made two informal proposals to purchase Frenchman’s Bay and related land holdings. The City first proposed to buy the Bay and all lands owned by Pickering Harbour Company for $30 million. When that proposal was rejected, the City then proposed to buy only the Bay and a portion of the eastern spit lands. Pickering Harbour Company rejected that proposal as well.

Read the News Release

History of Ownership

While bodies of water are commonly under Crown ownership, Frenchman’s Bay is subject to a Charter issued by the Crown in 1853, 14 years before Canadian Confederation. The act formally incorporated the Pickering Harbour Company, and Pickering Harbour Company has owned the Bay since that time. The Pickering Harbour Company was created by the Crown before Canada came into existence as a nation, and before its constitution came into existence. For this reason, development of the Bay may not be subject to the same legal and planning regulations as development elsewhere in the City.

What is the City doing to ensure the Bay remains a protected, enjoyable space for all?

The City maintains that it is important that Frenchman’s Bay and the surrounding lands be in public ownership in order to safeguard from aggressive and overly ambitious development proposals; maintain public access and recreational use; and enhance environmental stewardship of the Bay and surrounding lands. Despite the most recent setback, the City will continue to seek opportunities to return this treasured asset back into public ownership.

The City is committed to preserving the unique character of its waterfront, and has successfully rejected development applications in the past. Moving forward, staff and Council will hold any other waterfront development applications to the same rigorous standards.

March 2020:
Pickering Victorious with LPAT Dismissal of Waterfront Development Application
Read the News Release