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.
The new leash free zone has taken some of the pressure off the wild area. The evidence for this is the fact that the old path is quite overgrown.
The old path is visible as a mild depression in the undergrowth.
There is a path there somewhere.
The lack of dogs and humans is also helpful to new plantings that are part of the rehabilitation of the former staging area. The bags at the base of some of the trees are containers which allow water to be released slowly (I always wondered). The brand name is Tree Gator.
New plantings of trees and grass. Our plentiful rainfall this summer is helping. Let’s hope winter ice is kind.
In the meantime, work continues on re-lining the sewage pipes that run along the Humber. The project has blown past its announced completion date of July 2017.
This equipment fire across the river on July 9th may not have helped the project timeline.
Sewer pipe linings awaiting placement.
Work proceeds in full swing on the sewer relining project. Instead of replacing the sewers, new linings are being pushed and pulled to line the insides of the original pipe. Apparently this will allow a few more years before the old pipes need to be replaced. This means another 18 months of heavy slogging along the Humber valley.
Workers access the main sewer in preparation for re-lining.
City of Toronto map showing the path of the sewer and its main access points.
The footbridge connecting Lions Park with Hickory Tree Road is almost complete and will make a difference to the many people on foot who move between Weston and Etobicoke. The new version is wider, all metal (except for railings and trim) and has viewing decks that will be useful during soccer games on the artificial turf below.
One of the decks of the new footbridge during construction.
The new bridge shouldn’t require salt (the old wooden one was regularly salted in winter) and it will have bicycle troughs for walking bicycles up and down.
The leash free zone further down Raymore Park is taking shape. The surface has been laid and fencing is under way. The two areas for different sized dogs are becoming evident. This project should be ready by summer.
Panoramic view of the new area looking north. Click to zoom.
Finally, although the Humber River retaining wall was completed late last year, the staging area used to construct the project has been restored and now this blank canvas awaits re-planting, hopefully this spring.
Autumn is the time when leaves fall from the trees. It may seem like a gradual process but often, leaf loss can be sudden; especially after an overnight frost or during gale force winds.
As summer winds down, deciduous trees produce cells at the base of each leaf stem called the abscission layer. This layer weakens the attachment of the leaf to its tree while blocking nutrients from nourishing the leaf causing its chlorophyll to degrade. Since chlorophyll is green, other colours such as red or yellow can then become more prominent.
Frost can accelerate the process by further weakening the abscission layer so that leaves are very loosely attached and will fall at a slight breeze. Early frosts are the enemy of glorious fall colours as they can send leaves to the ground before colours can develop.
This video was taken in Raymore Park on the morning of November 12, 2013 and illustrates how quickly leaves can fall from trees when conditions are right. There had been an overnight temperature of -4°C the night before, severely weakening abscission layers and even the gentlest breeze was enough to send large numbers of leaves to the ground.
The finished product – at this end anyway.
The finished appearance of the retaining wall is now evident at its southern end with a green vegetative planting just starting to sprout on the slope at the top of the wall. Regardless, there’s still a long way to go. It also looks as if the homeowner with riparian rights has now wisely decided to take advantage of the opportunity and so construction has begun further upstream. The original intent was to construct the wall along the full length and that now seems to be the plan.
A nice cross-section is visible from the northern end of the wall. (click to enlarge)
Astonishingly, even after all this effort, the work looks as if it’s only about 40% done and so there is a long, long way to go before this project can be signed off. The wall construction was originally scheduled for completion this past spring with brick removal from the access area and subsequent landscaping to take place this fall. Obviously, that ain’t gonna happen. My estimate at the current rate of construction is that they’ll be lucky to have the project completed and everything restored by the end of 2017. This seems to have been quite a miscalculation by the planners. The project was to cost a maximum of $250,000.
I’ll bet that marker was skated past months ago.
On Tuesday, August 23rd, Northwest Folks Productions will be filming the movie, “Different Folks” in Raymore Park between 7am and 9pm. Scenes will take place ‘on the Raymore Drive area part of the trail, and on the bridge’. The movie, a comedy, will star 16 year-old American actress Bailee Madison and is being filmed under the auspices of Pinewood Toronto Studios. I don’t know if the production company is aware of all the construction going on around the park as it’s quite noisy around here these days. Hopefully they’ll be able to coordinate between various work crews to achieve some peace and quiet when needed.
UPDATE: Technical problems caused cancellation of the shoot for today; Kat Hidalgo from Northwest Folks Productions tells me they may be in the park tomorrow (24th August).
Much has been going on in Raymore Park over the summer although progress on the retaining wall seems to be slow. The dog leash enclosures are partly complete but not without controversy.
- The retaining wall is looking quite magnificent and it looks as if it will do the job for centuries. It looks as if the wall will be curtailed, ending before its planned end-point. This is apparently because riparian rights for the end property extend to the river and the owner feels that remediation will cause further erosion.
The wall in a completed section.
A view of the total wall so far.
2. The off leash areas.
Two areas are being built, one for smaller dogs and one for larger breeds. One section has been built (topsoil removed, drainage completed and topped with limestone chippings).
Sadly, a sanctuary for birds and small animals has been removed to create the area. It was basically a couple of trees surrounded by dense shrubs that were impenetrable to all but small animals. It was a bit of an island or small thicket in the park but it has been removed in what seems like callous disregard for wildlife. Surely there was room to place the leash free zones without destruction of a natural resource like this? It speaks to a lack of care for the environment and a distinct lack of planning. Let’s hope there are no more unpleasant surprises from Toronto Parks who don’t own but manage Raymore Park.
The shrub island (to the right of the old baseball diamond) from Google Earth.
This thicket is no more, sacrificed for the dog enclosure.
The island site shortly after its destruction.
One of the dog enclosures; further north than anticipated.
More temporary fencing and drainage pipes for the next area.