1889 Hering & Gray: Plan of the City of Toronto, Proposed Intercepting Sewers and Outfall

Photo: Garrison Creek Sewer - underpass beneath rail corridor immediately north-west of Fort York, by Michael Cook
Garrison Creek Sewer - Underpass beneath the rail
corridor immediately north-west of Fort York
Image courtesy Michael Cook
Increasing development and industrial use over the years unfortunately led to severe deterioration of Garrison Creek’s purity. By the early 1880s, calls were made for the polluted Creek and its ravine to be buried. Its transformation into a sewer was one of the first large-scale municipal infrastructural projects in Toronto, attendant with scandals and allegations — reminiscent of certain contemporary shenanigans — regarding its management, construction and financial beneficiaries.

The following detailed map was created by the City Engineer’s Office and used by the former City of Toronto Public Works Department to illustrate: the layout of proposed intercepting sewers and outfalls (shown in red, with arrows to indicate flow); existing drainage areas and sewage outlets (in blue); and the relationship of this sewer network to Lake Ontario and nearby lakes and rivers.

By the time this map was drawn, Garrison Creek was covered up to roughly Bloor Street. A detailed (and literal) exploration of the Garrison Creek’s colourful interment may be found via Michael Cook’s Vanishing Point project: Burying the Garrison Creek: A History. As it turned out, it would take over two decades to properly implement the City’s plan to build the proposed interceptor lines.

Click the map to view a full size version.

Map: 1889 Hering & Gray: Proposed Intercepting Sewers and Outfall - Toronto

1889 Plan of the City of Toronto, Proposed Intercepting Sewers and Outfall
Hering, Rudolph G. & Gray, Samuel M., Consulting Engineers, February 1889
City Engineers Office Toronto, March 6, 1889
Printed by Copp Clark Co. Ltd.

Image courtesy City of Toronto Archives: Fonds 200, Series 725, File 13 - MT98 (CRC172)

Supplementary Map: 1956 Garrison Creek Sewer System
In this 1956 plan of 'Existing Conditions' accompanying a report on the Garrison Creek Sewer System, the curves of the original ravine sewer form a contrast to the straight lines and angles of the rest of the system to which it connects (for orientation, the waterfront is depicted to the left).

The original sewer section running south of Wellington (delineated as an arc of blue on this map) was the handiwork of Alan J. Browne — who was also commissioned to cover over Taddle Creek. Browne’s yellow-bricked opus mostly continues to exist in good condition to this day, serving the system as an overflow channel after the 1910 installation of the High-Level Interceptor line.

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Plan to Accompany Report on Garrison Creek Sewer System: Existing Conditions
[Sgd] John W. Argo, Gore & Storrie Limited Consulting Engineers, Toronto. October 5th, 1956
City of Toronto Works Department Sewer Section

Image courtesy City of Toronto Archives: Fonds 2, Series 60, Item 877

For a broader history of the Creek, see here.

Next map: 1923 City Parks Dept: Plan [of] Clarence Square
Back to: East of Garrison Creek