Some time ago, I posted an article or two on the Glen Davis Ravine and the struggle the residents are having to stop the City from taking part of the “protected” land and allowing a developer to build a condo upon it. That skirmish is still ongoing and it’s presently at the OMB.
I mention all this only because part of the background research I did for that article was to pour over old maps of Toronto and environs. Like many before me, I’ve become fascinated with the little rivers, ponds and marshes we’ve managed to bury away or fill in as if they were some sort of black family secret.
At the bottom of the Glen Davis Ravine, once, prior to 1953 the Tomlin’s Creek babbled happily towards the SW, along what is now Love Crescent and Corely Avenue, in behind the Norway School across Woodbine Avenue, through the lowlands of the Norway Cemetery and finally into local Charles Coxwell Small’s pond – local farmer. Small’s Pond was also fed by Small’s Creek from the north – which can still be seen flowing in a ravine north of Gerrard St. E. just east of Wembley Ave. Small’s Pond was fairly large, by pond standards, and somewhat “V” shaped with the bottom pointing towards the west end the old Woodbine Race Track.
This map is HUGE and may take a moment to load.
I found much of the hydraulic information from a longish document from the City regarding the Coatsworth Cut, which is an ongoing project to redirect huge amounts of sewage and storm water in this area.
“The construction of Coatsworth Cut — named after the City Commissioner who initiated the project — was designed to improve the circulation of water in and out of Ashbridges Bay and to improve its “malodorous” qualities. Subsequently, the Cut was made permanent with the construction of stone jetties in 1893 and 1894. Today, the Cut continues to link the remaining fragment of Ashbridges Bay with Lake Ontario.” – from the Landscape Site Design Project Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant Works and Emergency Services, City of Toronto October, 2003.
The only reason I bothered to post this article today is that as the rain pours down, I’m watching dirty water flow off the roads and into the sewers. I see puddling all along low-lying side streets and overflowing sewers on Love Crescent. Despite all the eforts and machinations of the Coatsworth Cut, despite the work on sewers and storm water basins – despite everyone’s efforts to hide the little creeks and rivers that we’ve buried, they continue to rise from the dead to remind us that they’re alive, roiling slowly, but with resolve, just beneath the pavement that we so confidently tread along every day. Maybe, just maybe we ought not be so quick to bury the water, but rather, learn to live with it and enjoy the benefits it brings.
– Article courtesy of Ed Horner