Ice damage in wild area.

Some spring thaws are rougher than others but this year’s was particularly brutal. Many young trees were planted after recent construction work in the wild area past the curve in the river. Many of these trees have been destroyed by huge chunks of ice and torrents of water.

These trees (along with many others) have lost much of their bark after the annual inundation.

Looking south from above the dam, water and ice has stripped the bark from these young trees.

Sadly, there’s nothing to be done except plant more wisely in the future.

On the plus side, two observations; there’s very little garbage in the wild area and the pond formed in 2013 has survived the construction mess and the latest floods.

The pond and the protruding sewer cover (white – upper centre).

On another topic, the white object sticking out above the newly planted grass in the background is a visible reminder of the sewer relining that took place over the last couple of years. Hans Havermann’s excellent blog has an article complete with extensive photos of this sewer pipe cover and the engineering (or lack of) that has led to its striking prominence, damage and repair this February.

Blocks of ice weighing several tonnes overflow the Humber’s banks almost every year. Anything that protrudes above ground level is at risk.







Another clean up day

Last Saturday, several bags of litter were picked, mainly from along the entrance to Raymore Park and we had so much fun we decided to do it again. This Saturday, we focussed on the river’s edge near the footbridge and after that, the bush that runs along the backs of the houses on Tilden. Once more we removed a veritable trove of plastic containers, paint cans, and even found a gun stock stashed in a metal pipe along with some empty clips (which has been reported to the police).

Part of the haul of garbage and recyclables that my neighbour José (L) and I collected today.

The more we do, the more we find that it’s a big job that can’t be done in just one or two sessions.

We’re making this a regular event for a few weeks – If anyone would like to join us, meet at the Raymore Park gates at 11:00 am next Saturday, rain or shine. All welcome. You never know what we might find.

Update: a police office came quickly and examined the gun stock. It turned out to be quite old and likely  tossed out by a hobbyist. He seemed happy to be out of the office on such a nice day!

Park clean-up

Friends of Raymore Park will be holding a 1-2 hour clean-up on the first Saturday of each month at 11:00 am. We have contacted Councillor Holyday’s office to ask for bags and locations to stash the collected garbage. Our first clean-up day will be on Saturday, April 6. Meet at the park gates on Raymore Drive for supplies such as gloves and collecting bags. Our main focus will be the Raymore Park area and possibly along the pathway between the footbridge and the stairs leading to Hickory Tree Road.

Come and meet your neighbours and get some exercise while keeping our park clean – it promises to be a beautiful day.

Date: Saturday April 6, 11:00 am.
Place: Raymore Park gates at Raymore Drive.

Bull Thistles

Bull thistles are the most common thistle in Raymore Park. They are found throughout the park’s wild areas and despite the prickles, their leaves are a source of food to deer and rabbits while insects and hummingbirds feed on their nectar. Apparently the roots when boiled taste like a Jerusalem artichoke and the leaves can be cooked and served spinach-style. Bull thistles are another eurasian invader but seem to have found a niche without being too invasive.

A bee sips nectar from a bull thistle in Raymore Park’s wild area. Click to enlarge.

Daytime rain brings a quick rise in the Humber.

There was heavy rain in Toronto last night but unlike the flood events of 1954 and 2013, the overnight rain was relatively local and not spread over the Humber watershed. This morning I took a leisurely stroll in the humid morning air and was surprised to see the relatively low level of the water.

At 8:30 this morning, a relatively low level.

By the afternoon, things had changed. More rain had fallen in the broader catchment area and the river’s quick rise was apparent – not as spectacular as 2013 but impressive nevertheless.

By 5:30 this afternoon, there was a lot more water and sediment.

On July 9th, 2013, this is how the Humber looked from the same vantage point when the water was beginning to subside from the previous day’s rain.

July 9, 2013, 5:45 am. The old footbridge foundation is completely submerged and may have even been shifted by the current.

Incidentally, workers repairs the bridge boards yesterday – many were rotten through. I don’t understand why they don’t replace the wood with metal ‘boards’ that would last much longer.

Bridge boards don’t last long as they’re not chemically treated. This is because preserved wood leaches toxins into the river in wet weather and would harm aquatic life.

Sewer work winding up (finally)

The staging area is no longer fenced off and various bits of equipment await removal.

The work to reline sewers buried along the Humber is almost over. The staging area north of the weir has been dismantled and will be restored to its natural state in the next few weeks. If all goes according to plan, the cycle / pedestrian path will be restored and widened to the standard width of 2.5 metres.

Between the retaining wall construction, the dog off-leash area and the sewer relining, Raymore Park has been in a state of construction since early 2016 so it will be nice to have peace and quiet once more. There’s still more work going on further south but that should be completed by the fall.