Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Air Quality Study:
Presentation and Community Engagement Workshop

On the evening of January 22, 2024, the “Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Air Quality Study Presentation and Community Engagement Workshop” took place at the Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre. This event was a significant milestone for the “Campus-community Partnership for Reducing Air Pollution in the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood,” a research project that began in 2019.


This collaborative research, involving the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association (BQNA), Billy Bishop Airport, the City of Toronto, and academic experts, had a clear dual mandate: to comprehensively assess the air pollution levels in the neighbourhood and to disseminate this knowledge for informed urban planning, transportation, and airport operation policies.

After extensive research efforts spanning several years, the workshop successfully gathered approximately 70 stakeholders from diverse sectors such as academia, industry, government, and community organizations. Of these, 50 attendees joined in person at the venue, while others connected online, facilitating a comprehensive dialogue on the local air quality issues.

At 6:30 p.m., Joan Prowse, Chair of the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association (BQNA) and Study Co-Chair, called the meeting to order. Her welcoming words set the tone for an evening of meaningful engagement and collective problem-solving.

Professors Marianne Hatzopoulou and Greg Evans, researchers from the University of Toronto, provided crucial background on the study, emphasizing the importance of air quality in urban environments. Concurrently, Professor Jeffrey R. Brook from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health hosted an online session, broadening the workshop’s inclusivity with virtual participants.

Ph.D. candidate Emily Farrar and Dr. Junshi Xu took the stage to present their in-depth analysis, addressing critical research questions about ultrafine particles (UFP) at Bathurst Quay, contributing factors to elevated UFP levels, and the impact of various pollution sources.


The workshop then transitioned to a collaborative discussion phase, with input from project partners such as Jay Paleja of the City of Toronto Waterfront Secretariat, Shane Bonthron from Toronto Public Health, Dr. Denis Corr of Ports Toronto (Billy Bishop Airport), and Joan Prowse of BQNA. Their diverse perspectives provided a multi-dimensional view of the air quality challenges faced in the neighbourhood.

The subsequent workshop phase was particularly interactive. Facilitated by leaders and notetakers at each table, discussions focused on actionable steps for improving air quality, with the conversation spanning government policy, community initiatives, and airport contributions.


The second workshop session was even more dynamic. Each table, led by a facilitator and notetaker, explored potential solutions and actions. The questions were targeted: What can governments, the community, and the airport do to improve air quality? As the evening progressed, the room transformed into a gallery of ideas. Participants walked around, viewing other tables’ concepts and marking the ones they found most compelling with dots. The most resonating ideas centered around stringent regulations, idling reduction enforcement, and setting health standards coupled with UFP research.

As the workshop neared its conclusion, elected officials offered their perspectives, signaling a commitment to collaborative efforts to address air quality concerns.

Dr. Greg Evans delivered the closing remarks, reflecting on the collective endeavours and expressing gratitude to the engaged residents, students, and especially Dr. Cheol-Heon Jeong from SOCAAR for his invaluable contribution to the study.

With the workshop ending at 9:00 p.m., attendees departed, emboldened with the knowledge that their participation signified the onset of a concerted effort towards realizing a healthier, more sustainable neighbourhood.