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Taylor Creek Park Management Plan

Northern Light

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The City of Toronto recently finalized a Management Plan for Taylor Creek Park, which is one of the large ravine/valley parks in the City that runs through East York.
The plan may be of interest to some as an illustration of some of the restoration ideas that may be undertaken in the years to come as well as some of the other infrastructure needs and priorities.

As with most Masterplans, a lot of this is high concept, not detailed design. It's not binding on the City but does inform decisions on Ravine Strategy and related investments.

First the link to the plan:


The entire thing from fluffy intros and background to references is 119 pages, so needless to say I will only post a very few select highlights and you should go to the source document for greater detail if interested.

First an image of the park in question:

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The Park is full of CSOs or Combine Sewer overflows that currently dump untreated sewage in the creek during intense rain/snowmelt events. This is unfortunately the norm for most watercourses in Toronto with the exception of the Rouge.

As part of addressing this problem and the attendant pollution, the pipe now being built along the Lower Don and Waterfront areas will be extended along Taylor Creek to the Warden Avenue trunk sewer. The map below reflects that, which is important to note as many of the restoration projects will be tied to this work. The straight green line at the eastern extent of the work is parallel to the Warden Trunk Sewer.

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The trail map shown below features 2 new trail segments, one in the hydro corridor on the south side of the valley that is roughly 1/2 way up the slope, which would run between the existing access at Lumsden/Barrington and Stan Wadlow Park. Note that this is the historic ROW of the Canadian Northern Railway, which is occupied by Line 2 (Bloor Subway) between roughly Victoria Park Station and Kennedy Station (underground from just east of Warden)

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The one additional dot reflects a new N-S connection into the valley from an old, poorly maintained staircase at the foot of Chisholm Ave.

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Unfortunately, due to the way we used to treat ravines, most of the ravines in Toronto have one or more significant landfills in them, this park is no exception:

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A High level look at the types of restoration and their locations, that are being contemplated:

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The restoration projects are mostly grouped into areas of geographic proximity with the idea that those that require professional crews/construction can be undertaken in one mobilized effort where practical.

Below is the concept for the west end of the park near the DVP. This is again very high level, lots of design work still required and further changes are likely:

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There are six of these clusters, it would take to many posts to show all the images, but I will share a couple more. Additional details are in the linked Plan, but I'm also happy to answer any questions I can.

In respect of the one above, key projects include a new wetland, and consolidation of the paved trail to one side of the creek from two, to create a restoration opportunity with limit people access.

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The area below is immediately to the east of the one above.

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One key idea noted above is the removal of the existing weirs or in-creek vehicle crossings (which currently have parallel wooden pedestrian bridges.)

The notion here is to consolidate all crossing on new vehicle-grade metal bridges, then remove the superfluous bridge and restore the surplus lands that are now largely mowed, typically about 1 acre at most sites (there are 3 such crossings of Taylor Creek.

Additional work includes removing some informal trails that create erosion, and looking at removing invasive species from natural seep area to create a proper wetland.

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The image below covers the area below Stan Wadlow Park. This area will be the most disrupted by the Toronto Water Project as one of those giant tanks you can see looking down from the Bloor Viaduct will be going in here. There will be a very large excavation area and a great deal of vegetation will be removed.

However, outside of some small restoration sites, much of what's here is lawn, invasive species and an abandoned washroom.

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The final site I'll post is the Goulding Estate area, east of Dawes Road:

The signature project here is to replace perpetually flooding bike path with an elevated boardwalk (that you can cycle on, it will likely be vehicle grade as well, but that is TBD). This will allow an existing wetland to connect to the creek:

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Thanks for sharing! It's an interesting PDF to peruse.

You're welcome.

I do wish connectivity to and through the Dentonia Park Golf Course had been within scope of this report

You may be pleased to know that Parks, Forestry and Recreation has been directed to pursue such a link, albeit while retaining golf which may make for an odd path route!

There is money in the budget at least as far as the planning portion, but I believe the cycling unit will be able to find a money if a path route is approved.

Optimistically, we're looking at maybe 2024......maybe.......more likely a year or two later.
 
I was trying to think where to put this next post, rather than give it its own thread, this one seems apt.

I was walking the Taylor Creek Valley yesterday, and had the camera with..........I thought some here might want to see what a creek under reconstruction looks like. Most of us will have seen the Portlands photos, this is a similar idea, at a smaller scale, except here, the channel is already flooded and work is going on while water still flows.

Before the pics, some background, as with all creeks in Toronto, erosion effects the creek banks, this can be a safety issue (the ground giving out from under you) may undermine bike paths, but most critically to Toronto Water, can jeopardize sewer
infrastructure which flows into, beside, and sometimes under said waterways.

The section or 'reach' of the creek we're looking at here is just east of Dawes Road, it's identified as site 6 in the Masterplan above.

What occurred here is that the gabion baskets (wire mesh filled with rocks) had failed in many places, slumping, or even washing down stream. Because of this, a section of bike path and a section of sewer were at risk of being undermined.

Work began here in spring '23, with the hope of finishing by fall, however, that timeline has slipped as work continues.

Without further delay; Taylor Creek Site 6 reconstruction - photos taken Dec 8th, 2023:


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Above and below, you can see the new terraced Armour Stone in the northern bank of the creek, this is not an amphitheater, look, though I reserve the right to use it like that. This is meant to provide bank stability as waterflow rises, and it is also meant to provide a gentle grade that allows wildlife to access the creek more easily; though that is a secondary benefit. The manner of placement (angle and use of soil) is designed to make the stone harder for the water flow to dislodge.

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Below is a sewer outfall from the south bank of the creek.

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The 'road' above is normally the bike path, along the northern bank of the creek. Current plans will see it reconstructed, more or less in-situ. The longer term plan is replace a portion of this trail with a viaduct/metal board walk, slightly elevated over the ground, such as to allow water to pass underneath. Unfortunately, this has not yet been designed, so repaving is the interim plan.

For a 'before' shot, best I could do online was a streetview shot of the Dawes Road bridge from 2009:

Screenshot 2023-12-09 at 10-30-18 Toronto · Toronto ON.png
 

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I played the Dentonia Park disc golf par 3 yesterday for the first time with my six year old son and we had a blast.
It was the first time I have ever set foot on that course, after years of lamenting it as a missing link between two sections of bikeable Taylor Creek paths.
The elevation variations in that little pitch-and-putt surprised me - it was a lovely outing and we plan to do it again soon. I might even try golfing it next summer.

It is also encouraging to hear that there is an intention to incorporate a path connection to bridge the gap from Vic Park to Pharmacy.
 
Elsewhere in Taylor Creek, there is now another large works underway, in addition to the section between Dawes and Vic Park.

The paved trail on the south bank is out of order for a short stretch
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The "Trail Detour" is not exactly as advertised - the dashed line on the east side is over muddy grass and not a trail per se, as the roadway illustrated by the solid line is isolated by fences for use exclusively by the heavy equipment and trucks of the work crew. The climb up the muddy grass hill (or ride down for eastbound cyclists) and doubling back makes it not suitable as an effective bypass. I passed through today and conversation with crew members today suggested that one should anticipate this project to last about six months.
 
The "Trail Detour" is not exactly as advertised - the dashed line on the east side is over muddy grass and not a trail per se, as the roadway illustrated by the solid line is isolated by fences for use exclusively by the heavy equipment and trucks of the work crew. The climb up the muddy grass hill (or ride down for eastbound cyclists) and doubling back makes it not suitable as an effective bypass. I passed through today and conversation with crew members today suggested that one should anticipate this project to last about six months.

Perhaps, on the bolded; that was roughly the timeline for the project east of Dawes, which is now in month 10 and will not fully wrap before May at the earliest.

Now, the one east of Dawes is being done in-house by a small crew; this one is contracted out, not sure of the crew size.
 

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There are other unrepaired sections further east and north on Taylor Creek: for example along the Gatineau hydro corridor, where the path has collapsed into the creek bed and which has lingered unresolved for many years.

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As someone pointed out when I mistakenly posted this to an East Don thread yesterday, there a gravel bypass has been built to circumvent this blockage. The path however does not stand up well to rain and snow.
 
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here is a bridge repair project over Taylor Creek in the small section north of St. Clair between Birchmount and Warden, which has been stalled for a couple of years but seems to have been recently rejuvenated. The washout happened believe a few years ago, before I became familiar with the area, and which has thankfully now become the subject of what is clearly a serious repair, as indicated by photos I took today.

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The bridge leads to a path up to St. Clair Avenue East, midway between Warden and Birchmount

A few hundred feet further west is another partial washout of the path
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@TwinHuey getting some Front Page recognition for his photo of the creek work near Dawes:


To go with that; let me add a pic taken from the Dawes Road bridge, yesterday, February 26th, 2024:

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