Here's a look at a some old systems underneath the city's older neighbourhoods.
The Skin of a Lion
Named after the book by Ondaatje, this sewer was first explored by fellow contemporary explorers Kowalski and Mortimer a few years ago. The name was chosen from the cover of one of the editions of 'In the Skin of a Lion' that uses an archived photo of the sewer's outfall into the Don River:
Today this stretch is completely submerged in the water of the Don and sewage is redirected to Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant. The sewer follows the path of the former Rosedale Creek in a lovely yellow brick pipe just a few metres beneath the surface and travels under landmarks like the Rosedale Subway and the site of Simcoe's summer home.
This nice litter sewer overflows into Humble Howard during extreme storms. During dry weather, this pipe is a pleasant stroll through everything that goes down the drain.
The sewer runs under an (almost) entire block of abandoned houses. There's a clue to where this sewer is located.
The Garrison Creek began its descent into the earth in the late 1800's as city planning began to spread outward from the downtown centre. Our first trip to this expansive system was to a relief system designed to collect overflow waste water during heavy storms. The Garrison sewer was built long before large commercial and residential development was built within its watershed and the pipe was, thus, not built to accomodate such growth. The relief sewer collects sewage and stormwater primarily in the mid-to-southern reaches of the creek path and rougly follows the main sewer in a straighter parallel south to the Western Beaches Storage Tunnel where the sewage is treated and pumped.
Lower Garrison We recently found a new stretch of the Garrison system in the southern reaches. In the vicinity of Queen street, the main sewer trails off the path of the former creek and is diverted to an interceptor sewer where the contents are sent to the treatment plant. At this juncture the old tunnel is now used as an overflow tunnel. The unfortunate thing is that the pipe, during heavy rainfall, sends untreated sewage directly to the lake. We saw this first hand as we headed further downstream.
Feels like home.
The pipe changes shape twice due to a particular piece of infrastructure above the surface. Try to guess what this would be.
Not exactly for the faint of heart. Here we're quickly approaching the former shoreline where surface development has no effect on the original land grade.