Project Summary

Project completed as of September 2018.

  • Largest Great Lakes Challenge Year One investment by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

  • The Great Lakes Challenge helped fund the following components of the Park Restoration: 

    1. pebble beach renewal (and removal of hazardous boulders);

    2. improved access to the beach and deep water swimming areas; and,

    3. installation of a pedestrian bridge over the deep water swimming area.

  • Water-quality information posted in Swim Guide and Great Lakes Guide.


Breakwater Park sets an example for other Great Lakes cities around the province. The improvements include water monitoring, stormwater infrastructure but most importantly water access points that promote, rather than discourage, residents physically enjoying all that our Lake has to offer.

The Breakwater Park redevelopment is part of the Kingston Waterfront Master Plan (KWMP). This multi-year, multi-project plan was the result of exhaustive grassroots advocacy. During the planning process, KWMP garnered unanimous support from city staff, councillors and the public and earned the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects’ (CSLA) 2017 National Award of Excellence.

In June of 2017, Kingston City Council voted unanimously to name the renovated PUC Dock after Lake Ontario Waterkeeper/SDF Canada board member and Kingston native Gord Downie in honour of his work to connect people to water. The Gord Edgar Downie Pier is the first urban natural swimming pier of its kind in Canada.

Thanks to the generous support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, this project was completed earlier than anticipated. The Gord Edgar Downie Pier was officially unveiled during the re-opening ceremonies of Breakwater Park on July 26, 2018 with hundreds of people in attendance. 

Read the full press release: Swim Drink Fish and the City of Kingston unveil the Gord Edgar Downie Pier.

View the Gord Edgar Downie Pier gallery.