Posts Tagged ‘Keating channel’

Work on the Port Land redevelopment continues.  The area is changing fast enough that I thought another visit would be a good idea.

below: Cherry Lifeguard Station, calm and peaceful in the early morning.  On a weekday in September all is quiet here.

cherry lifeguard station, with dock in front, very calm and still water, reflections of the building in the water, early morning,

below: A new red lifeguard chair sits on a freshly raked beach.  In the distance, a tug pushes a barge out of the harbour and onto Lake Ontario.

red lifeguard station on cherry beach in the morning

below: A family of Canada geese rest on the embankment of the Keating Channel. The white concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway are reflected in the water.

white concrete supports of the elevated Gardiner Expressway are reflected in the water of the Keating Channel while a family of Canada Geese sit on the bank

below: Looking west along the Keating Channel. The Don River empties to the bottom right, just out of the picture. At the moment, the Keating Channel is the only route to Lake Ontario but this is about to change.

looking west along the Keating Channel, trees on the left, Gardiner Expressway on the right

below: The Cherry Street bridge, a lift bridge, was broken in the open position for about a month at the end of the summer.  It was fixed in time for Labour Day weekend so it is down now (can it go back up?  It will soon be demolished so maybe that doesn’t matter)

view from above, Cherry street bridge in open position, port lands, cement silos, Lake Ontario, construction

below:  From above, the Keating Channel is in the foreground and it is here that construction on a new Cherry Street bridge is just beginning.  This is west of the present bridge because Cherry Street is going to be straightened as it passes under the Gardiner.      There is another small channel behind the Keating Channel but it ends at the T&T store… for now.    Cherry Beach and Lake Ontario are in the background.

Port Lands from above, Keating Channel, beginning of construction of a new bridge at Cherry street,

below: Reflections of the T&T sign.  Soon this store will be gone.  The path of one of the new waterways for the Don River goes right through the middle of their property to join with the channel that is already there (picture above).

reflections of the green T and T supermarket sign in a car window

below: Villiers Street, looking west from the Don Roadway.   The new path of the Don River is going to make an island of this part of the Port Lands as it runs parallel to, and immediately west of, the Don Roadway.

railway crossing sign on Villiers Street in the PortLands, some remnants of train track still there bu no trains

below: Villiers Street is actually two streets running parallel, both of which have two-way traffic.  This is left over from the days when the railway ran down the middle of the street.

green road sign that says Traffic operates two way on both branches of Villiers street

below: Remaining fragments of railway track can be found all over the Port Lands. This is Villiers Street at the Don Roadway. The Gardiner Expressway is in the background.

street with remnants of railway tracks on it

below: Old gas pump on Villiers.

rusty old gas pump

below: The northwest corner of Commissioners and the Don Roadway. The green mound is the beginnings of the flood protection work there. Flood protection means work on the re-routing of the mouth of the Don River.

the north west corner of Don Roadway and Commissioners Street

below: Looking west on Commissioners Street from east of the Don Roadway (at the traffic lights).  This is one of several large hydro structures that run from the Portlands Energy Centre (a natural gas burning electrical plant).   Hydro infrastructure changes are part of the Port Lands redevelopment.

a very tall metal hydro pole and structure above the street, Commissioners Street, Port Lands

below: Work on the south side of Commissioners.

cranes, workers, construction site

Soon Commissioners Street will be closed between the Don Roadway and Cherry Street.  All of the buildings there will be demolished.  At the moment, most of them are empty.

below:  Old abandoned buildings on Commissioners

old buildings on Villiers Street, with CN Tower in the background

part of an empty and abandoned building, two storeys, old windows, the number 130 written in large white numbers

side of an old abandoned building, top part is rusted pale green metal, bottom is painted dark grey

below: United Rentals on Commissioners Street, now empty. Soon gone.

empty United Rentals building in the Port Lands

below: Chained and locked.

a rusty chain and a padlock keep a gate closed

old brick building

construction on flood control measures in the Port Lands

below: North side of Commissioners, east of the Don Roadway. You can see the Gardiner Expressway and the old Lever Brothers factory.

a plant grows up agains a chain link fence, pile of dirt and industrial buildings behind the fence

a red and white danger due to sign that someone has written radioactive signs on so sign says danger due to radioactive signs

below: South end of the Don Roadway.

very south end of Don Roadway, south of Commissioners street, dead end, dirt road, no trespassing construction site entry

below: Looking west towards downtown from the Don Roadway

view of Toronto skyline and CN tower from Don Roadway

fence with signs, danger due to sign, plus sign that says Port Lands Flood Protection

below:  Back in July the demolition of the GFL (Green For life) buildings was well underway.

the last part of GFL (Green For life) structure to be torn down in the Port Lands, cement truck, dirt road, vacant land

below: This is the GFL recycling transfer station during the demolition process.  At the same time, the shoreline was being reconfigured and “naturalized”.  The trees in the water in the foreground have since died but this is part of the plan – they are to become part of a new fish and wildlife habitat.

west end of portlands early on in the redevelopment process, partially demolished building, barge in water creating new land, reconfiguring the shoreline

below: Access to the northwestern part of the Port Lands has been very limited.  Cherry Street and the T&T parking lot are as far as you can go … if you obey all the signs.    (photo from July)

black and orange cones line the route of entry to cement making facility in the Port lands

below: September

CN Tower and Toronto skyline from Cherry street, T and T market parking lot

below: The sea gulls have the parking lot to themselves, between Lafarge and the lake at the west end of the Port Lands.  There are no plans (that I can find) to remove or relocate Lafarge.

lots of sea gulls sitting on a parking lot behind Lafarge cement silos in the Port Lands

below: If you stand looking at the view above, and then turn around, you get the image below. Polson Pier view of the Toronto skyline.

view of Toronto skyline across Toronto Harbour from Polson Pier

a path leads to a fence, construction site behind the fence, including a cement truck

torn and shredded black fabric caught on a barbed wire fence

below: Map of the area.  As you can see, I have only covered a small part of the Port Lands.  There is so much more to explore!

map of the Port lands area

a lot of masts from sailboats standing upright, a man walks on one of the boats as he gets it ready to go back in the water after the winter

Getting ready for spring. RCYC (Royal Canadian Yacht Club) is nearby.

There are a few changes happening down at the Port Lands.

a man in orange stands beside his bike on the side of a road, sity in the background

below: Aerial view of the present configuration of the Keating Channel, Don River, and part of the port lands beside a drawing of the planned changes.  Rerouting the Don River will create an island, Villiers Island.

two maps side by side, one is an aerial photo of the port lands and the other is a drawing of the new route of the Don River through the port lands and the planned changes to the area.

In the 1880s, the lower part of the Don south of the former Winchester St. bridge (just north of Gerrard St) was straightened and the mouth of the river was placed in a channel to create additional harbour space and industrial dock space for boats in what is known as the Port Lands.   This project was called the Don Improvement Project. The Don River now empties into the inner harbour through the Keating Channel.  Lakeshore Blvd passes over the very south end of the river and because of its height (very low), boats can not enter the Don River.   Boats may still enter the Keating Channel by going underneath a lift bridge at Cherry St.   The straightening of the Lower Don also allowed for construction of the railway line parallel to it.

 

below: The cars are parked on vacant land between Lakeshore Blvd and Lake Ontario/Keating Channel. Mounds of gravel have been dumped off the end of Essroc Quay and beside Keating Channel. You might also have noticed the nine green bins that have been laid across the water (very left side of the photo). They too are full of gravel. These are part of the beginning of the renovations of the port lands. The Keating Channel will remain, but the area south of it is slated to be changed. In the middle is the GFL (garbage collection) transfer station. The low reddish brown building was a recycling facility. It was the site of a fire a few months back and most of the south end sustained substantial damage.

view from higher, over Keating channel, Essroc quay and towards Centre Island, Port lands in Toronto, mounds of gravel in the water, parked cars, boats in the water, light industrical development, trees,

Access to the western portion of the port lands is via the Cherry Street bridge.

bridge with traffic lights in the background.

below:  Here it is being lifted to allow a boat to pass through the Keating Channel.   This bridge was built in 1968 and is at least the fourth bridge at this location.

lift bridge is up so a boat can pass under

below: In 1900 a wood swing bridge was built with just a single railway track that was operated by the Grand Trunk Railway.  There are still remnants of the tracks that serviced the industries located in the area.

vintage photo, black and white, 1910 of wood swing bridge in open position, some boats around, Keating Channel, Cherry Street, Toronto,

below: Two steel drawbridges were subsequently built here, one in 1912 and one in 1932. This is a circa 1915 photo of the lift bridge at Cherry Street.

photo from the Toronto Archives of the liftbridge at Cherry Street, open position, black and white photo taken about 1915, found on Wikipedia.

source: Originally from the Toronto Archives Fonds 1244, Item 1482 but found on Wikipedia

The plans for the redevelopment of this area show that the south end of Cherry Street will be moved to west of its present location – the jog in Cherry where it joins the Lakeshore for a short distance will be eliminated.

below: This is a close up shot of Essroc Quay at approximately the new location of the new Cherry Street bridge.  The Keating Channel is in the foreground.  This quay, and the water channel behind it, will be turned into wetlands and parkland.  Essroc is a landfilled pier and is publicly owned as is Cousins Quay (the one behind it with the GFL transfer station).

 a mobile crane on tractor wheels, green body, is helping dig a hole in the ground on a flat piece of land that has water on two sides. lots of orange and black construction cones around the piece of land

below: A new fence too.

behind a chain link fence, a line of green dumpster bins, laid end to end, stretch across a channel in Lake Ontario,

below: Looking across Essroc Quay to the Toronto skyline

view of Toronto skyline and CN Tower from the Port Lands, with construction for the new Cherry street realignment, and flood plain protection plan in the foreground.

There are many reasons for rerouting the Don River.   The Port Lands are no longer used by many industries, land use has changed.  As the city grows and changes, this area has become prime real estate but it is also a flood plain.  Before any development can occur, flood control measures need to be taken.    The Cherry Street Stormwater and Lakefilling project will stabilize the local shoreline, protect land from flooding, and create a new landmass to begin the re-naturalization of the Don River’s mouth.   The river would be re-routed through the middle of the Lower Don Lands between the Keating Channel and the Ship Channel. The area being filled will become part of ‘Promontory Park’, a new major green space across the harbour from Toronto’s skyline.

The project will also allow for a realignment of Cherry Street so that it no longer merges with Lakeshore for a short distance.  At the moment, the Cherry street and Lakeshore Blvd intersection is problematic, especially for pedestrians. Once upon a time there wasn’t much reason for people to walk there I guess. Now, if you are on the wrong side (the west side) of Cherry street, you get stranded at Lakeshore.

two people standing on a sidewalk as they try to figure out how to cross the street, two large billboards behind them, train tracks (elevated) behind that.

The Keating Channel isn’t exactly beautiful.  Lakeshore Blvd and the Gardiner Expressway run along the north shore of the channel.  There has been discussion & debate about the fate of these roads but so far nothing has changed.  Will they demolish this section of the elevated Gardiner?  Or won’t they? (Probably not).

raised expressway road on concrete pillars, runs above another road and beside a channel of water, CH tower and downtown Toronto in the distance

below: The very south end of the Don River at the moment.   Not much to get excited about is it?  It looks like there is work being done under the bridge?  (something’s happening there but I don’t know what).   Hopefully it will look better in a few years.

bridge over the Don River, grey, flotsam in the river,

The Ship Channel is south of the proposed changes described above.

ships docked

below: Piles of salt on the south side of Ship Channel. These arrive by ship.  The old Hearn Generating Station is in the background.

piles of salt on a dock, power generating station in the background.

small boats lined up along a dock, tugboat,

And south of it all, Cherry Beach.

woman sitting on a bench under large trees by a beach, two dogs running towards the beach, some people standing by Lake Ontario

two sikh men in turbans stand on beach, early spring, wearing jackets and long pants.

More info on the Cherry Street Stormwater and Lakefilling project