Work continues unabated at the site and the size and scope of the job is becoming apparent. More and more blocks are piling up in the staging area and the components for a temporary bridge that will straddle the river have arrived. The bridge will be placed across the river and support the crane that will build the retaining wall. Each block is labelled with its weight which is vital knowledge for the crane operator. The bridge will be re-positioned along the banks as required.
The project was originally scheduled for completion for the end of March but clearly there is still a massive task ahead.
Interestingly, the second photo was taken on February 29th and in the top right of the image can be seen the very small amount of ice pushed ashore during the thaw. This is the smallest amount of ice I have seen in years and quickly melted.
Blocks are piled up awaiting placement.
Each block is labelled with its weight. Notice the small amount of ice freshly deposited as a result of the thaw.
Girders that will be used to make a bridge to straddle the river.
The bridge girders and limestone blocks in the background.
What looks like the beginnings of an abutment on which the bridge will rest.
Flood waters are peaking and the Humber is sending billions of litres along with much flotsam and jetsam to Lake Ontario. Today’s photographs don’t do the event justice so here is a short movie together with some views of the raging torrent.
Let’s start with some wildlife – these ducks (in the centre of the image) are conserving energy by resting in a quiet eddy away from the maelstrom.
Ducks find refuge in calm waters.
The amount of lumber going downriver is quite remarkable.
Huge amounts of lumber are being transported – a log is just about to go over the weir.
Standing close to the weir is quite the sensory experience with the thundering of the water (now much closer to bystanders) punctuated by the thumping of logs and ice blocks.
It’s a very intense experience to stand close to the water.
The twin carbuncles bear witness as chunks of ice and other debris are carried over the weir.
In a few days, water levels will be back to normal but for now, the power of nature is a reminder of how puny we are.
A steely-grey cloud deck, fast moving clouds being pushed along by a raw east wind can only mean one thing; snow is coming. This time we’re getting off lightly with just a couple of centimetres while temperatures will rise above the zero mark for the next few days.
Above the weir, a large natural ice surface has magically appeared that (with some smoothing from a handy Zamboni or some strategic flooding) could be a fantastic outdoor rink. These two photographs were taken from the same spot.
Looking upriver towards Weston.
Looking downriver over the weir.
Since the icy conditions have taken over and glazed the pathways, very few people are using the park as the entrance (closed to traffic for the winter) from Raymore Drive is on a steep slope. Only the die-hards with footwear designed for ice are braving these treacherous conditions. Even the extreme weather cyclists have admitted defeat. Not a square centimetre of spandex in sight!
I must admit it’s nice to have the place to yourself and no doubt wildlife prefers it too.
There’s something sad yet majestic about a dead tree. To look at the living organism that once was evokes sadness. Trees along this stretch of the Humber are constantly being damaged by ice stripping away their bark. I liked the way light from the snow is reflecting onto the branches.
These trees are stark reminders of the power of ice along low-lying stretches of the Humber.
River ice comes in a huge number of forms.
This large pile-up of ice is crowned by a beautiful clear chunk which caught my eye.
Looking south towards the apartments at Scarlett and Eglinton.
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The cold continues and the Humber River ice is thickening. At this part of the river, water never freezes with a smooth surface – it’s just lumps of ice that have floated downstream and frozen together at this point. As winter progresses, the thickening process continues, snow and sometimes rain will be added. During a thaw, water flow increases and the ice forms a dam. Eventually, the ice breaks up and floats ashore in huge thick chunks (which I have never managed to witness).The trees along the bank bear the scars of previous years’ breakups.