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5 lost rivers that run under Toronto

Mar 15, 2016

toronto lost river

The Don, Humber, and Rouge get all the glory, but Toronto is much more than a three-river town. Before John Graves Simcoe, when the land that would occupy the city was thick with trees and thickets, its soft soil was traversed by numerous streams and creeks that over centuries etched out deep ravines and sculpted rolling dales.

As early city builders would find, it's actually quite difficult to completely erase a river, and many of the waterways that once penetrated downtown Toronto still exist, re-routed into culverts or sewers and (mostly) from view. Here are five buried rivers that used to flow through Toronto.

GARRISON CREEK

Of all the rivers present in early Toronto, Garrison Creek was the biggest and hardest to cross. Its winding course and ocasionally deep ravine proved a significant obstacle to the expanding city and substantial bridges were built at Dundas and Harbord streets, both of which have been buried but still stand.

toronto garrison creek

Garrison Creek started north of St. Clair and headed directly south via Bloor and Christie under a half-buried bridge at Harbord - the stone wall on the north side of the street at Bickford Park is the bridge's parapet. It continued south, causing the weird dips and warped intersection on Crawford Street.

From there, Garrison Creek headed through Trinity Bellwoods Park, where there's another buried bridge under Crawford Street (the dog park is in part of the old ravine,) and out the southeast corner parallel to Niagara Street, where the river bank caused its distinctive arc. Garrison Creek drained into the Toronto Bay near Bathurst and Fort York Blvd.

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Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856
media@trca.on.ca

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