Toronto’s lower Don Lake fill not a 1st for the city

PDF 611

Star October 9, 1926


Viaduct Embankment Will Commence to Crawl Westward From Logan Ave. in One Month

Modern Mound-Builders Plan a Snake-Mound Three Miles Long – Trestles Begun

Toronto’s waterfront viaduct will commence to take actual form in one month.

Progress to date has been confined to purchasing land, destroying buildings, constructing the Spadlna bridge and a temporary bridge near Bay street, building a few subway walls, filling in water lots and erecting trestle-work. In addition, of course, there is the work now going on back of the new Union Station. But none of these things spells “viaduct” to the public, because the public thinks of a viaduct as an embankment carrying railway tracks—a “mud wall” as W. F. Maclean used to call it in the days of the Toronto World. And as yet no embankment has appeared. But it will begin to show itself in a month.

The New Embankment

It will commence at Logan avenue, north of Queen street, and will crawl slowly southwest and west. It. will be built by dumping sand and grave! from a high wooden trestle. Part of the trestle is already built—from Logan avenue nearly down to Queen st., and again between the Don and Eastern avenue. This trestle will carry tracks, the tracks will carry trains, and the trains will carry the earth of which the viaduct is to be constructed. Subways are to pierce the embankment at many points. Their walls will be built in advance of dumping operations. Such walls have already been erected at the Don and at Eastern avenue. They are in course of erection at Queen street.

One problem of the railways has been to secure “mud” for the mud wall. Where water lots are being filled in, the necessary sand is being pumped across the bay, from near the Island shores. But for the “hump or embankment on which the viaduct tracks are to run, the material must be secured from another source—and. a lot of it. The railway “snake,” which is to have its head at Logan avenue, and the tip of its tall near Bathurst street, will be nearly three miles long, and will have an appetite for “fill” rivalling the best traditions of its species. It will consume millions of cubic yards of sand and gravel.

This material is to come chiefly from Scarboro township. It is known to-day that the land purchases made there by the C.N.R. last spring, and thought at the time to he for a different purpose, were really for a huge “borrow pit”. A borrow pit is really a pit from which material is “ borrowed” but never paid back. It is like a loan from a friend. On the 300 acres which the C.N.R. has secured in Scarboro monster shovels will soon be busy gouging out soil and dumping it on cars for transfer to Toronto’s waterfront to be picked up and carried off and made into an embankment three miles long.

The opposite thing took place when the provincial Hydro built the Chippewa canal. There it was a case of getting rid of earth, instead of needing it , and the Hydro acquired farms, not to dig up , but to cover with rock and soil from the “big ditch”.

The earth from Scarboro will be rust out on the wooden trestles which are to be the “skeleton” of the Toronto embankment, and the trestles—will he embedded in it and remain there. For the most part the material will be allowed to form its natural slope. In a few places a retaining wall will be built. When the modern mound- builders have completed their work it will be given time to settle and permanent tracks -will then be laid on it.

Many Properties Acquired

In preparation for the viaduct many: waterfront properties have already been acquired, and approximately $1,000,000 has been paid for these — in some cases the whole amount; in others a deposit- Between Logan avenue and the Don (C.N.R. territory, as distinct from the Toronto Terminal one hundred and ten properties have been bought, including one hundred and fifty buildings, chiefly homes. Final arrangements have yet to be made with regard to the Toronto Iron Works and the Richardson estate. Between the Don and Cherry street there has been an amicable arrangement with all parties concerned, as this Is mostly railway, crown and city property. One of the matters to be Ironed out is the dedication of crown property for viaduct purposes. but it is not anticipated that there will he any difficulty, as parliament passed Lies viaduct agreement with such an arrangement in view. The old bed of the Don river is one of the properties still vested in the crown.

The checks being paid for the properties acquired are from the Termite Terminals Company so far as the more central portion of the work is concerned, and from the Canadian National Railway in the east end. Then bills are sent to the city for its share of the cost—thirty per cent.


Mayor Insists on Conferences With Outside Municipalities


Investigation into Harbor Affairs Need to Restore Confidence

Reeve Thomas Allan of Scarboro Township had a conference with ………………………………….

township council were absentees, nothing was accomplished.

Mayor Foster endeavored to induce the Reeve to give some indication of the line of action the people of Scarboro might take in order to ensure the continuance of the radial line. Mr. Allan replied he had come to obtain first-hand information of the city’s proposals. He was somewhat perturbed over the suggestion that the line be abandoned and had already made tentative arrangements for a substitute transport service in the event of the city carrying out its threat.

Mayor Foster said the service would not be discontinued without due and adequate notice being given. The Board, however, desired to know whether or not the township would purchase and operate the radial line, or failing that, would they be prepared to assume’ liability for the deficits? Reeve Allan replied, the matter had not been considered by the township council, therefore he was unable to give any promise one way or the other.

After further discussion it was decided the Reeve should call special meeting of his council to deal with the matter, and that they should confer with the T.T.C. so that they might be prepared to meet the Board of Control in conference on Monday next.

During the discussion yesterday it was suggested all municipalities interested in the York radial situation should attend the conference between the Lake Shore municipalities and the T.T.C. this evening. Mayor Foster frowned on this, contending It would be better for all parties if separate conferences were held. Renewed efforts are being made to prevent the investigation into Harbor affairs being held, on the ground that it will cost the taxpayers a lot of money and no results are likely to be attained. Certain members of the Council and outside influences are at work with the object of getting a motion introduced at the next meeting of the City Council council calling for a reconsideration of the matter.

Discussing the turn of events, Mayor Foster yesterday said the people had demanded an investigation, after they had heard the charges and counter-charges of wrong-doing and irregularities that had been made. In response to that demand and at the specific request of the Harbor Board the Council had asked for an Investigation. The Dominion Government had acceded to the city’s request, and Judge Denton had been appointed to conduct the probe. That would not have been done unless there was cause. Sir Thomas White had been appointed to assist the judge at the probe. The city had voted $500 towards Having done that much, It would be absurd to think of calling a halt now.

Jubilee of Confederation

Premier Mackenzie King has written Mayor Foster approving the suggestion that their Majesties the King and Queen be invited to visit Canada to take part in the diamond jubilee of Confederation. The text of the Premier’s letter follows: “I thank you for your letter of October 6, intimating that it would be in accord with the wishes of yourself and the members of the City Council of Toronto were an invitation sent to their Majesties King George and Queen Mary to honor the Dominion with their presence on the occasion of the celebration of Canada’s diamond jubilee. “On behalf of the Government thank you for your letter and assure you that it will be a pleasure to me to see that its representations are given every consideration.”

One Comment

Got something to say? Feel free, I want to hear from you! Leave a Comment

  1. junctionist says:

    Filling in the lake for more land is something that has been done many times at this point throughout the waterfront. Toronto’s downtown shoreline was originally at Front Street and subsequently extended with fill up to Queens Quay. The Portlands were once marshland that was filled and turned into industrial land. The Leslie Street spit is made up of construction debris dumped in the lake. Fill was added at the CNE grounds to create Lake Shore Boulevard. Humber Bay Park was built on fill. Fill has also been added at the foot of the Scarborough Bluffs to prevent erosion.

    There was a suggestion to use the earth extracted from the construction of the Crosstown LRT line to create islands in Lake Ontario. Unfortunately, that idea didn’t move forward. It would have been an interesting development.

Comments are now closed for this article.