Current Problems
Taylor Massey Project

Taylor Massey Creek is a significantly degraded watercourse suffering from numerous and long-standing urban abuses. While the next section describes the current, positive framework for remediation, existing major problems can be summarized as follows:

  • Historically clean headwaters flowing from north of the 401 were diverted to Highland Creek during the construction of the highway. As a result, the 16 hectares of the 401 that form the current headwaters of Taylor Massey Creek deliver huge volumes of litter, cigarette buts, dripped automobile fluids, bits of rubber from tires, and flashes of winter salt to a reduced base flow;

  • Much of the greenspace potential of the Creek was lost, especially north of Eglinton, with the location of area developments too close to the Creek. In fact, between Ellesmere and Lawrence, the Creek runs through private property, with no chance of public trail along the banks, and with almost half its length, from Manhattan to Lawrence, piped underground. To compensate for this "Lost Reach", FODE is championing the use of the Warden Hydro Corridor as part of the Taylor Massey Trail.

  • Many of the developments near the Creek have no stormwater ponds. As a result, run-off is not treated for quality, and the volume of run-off entering the Creek creates high peak flows that cause erosion and ruin downstream spawning areas;

  • Several lengths of the creek were "hardened", in an era of poorly-understood watershed management, into concrete channels to help the water rush "away" rather than be retained as both valuable wetland habitats and as an areas to retain storm-flows; and,

  • Over-all water quality in Taylor Massey is extremely poor. In 1992, Forty Steps to a New Don , published by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, stated: ".it is estimated that up to 80 percent of the pollution in the Lower Don River comes from Taylor/Massey Creek under certain flow conditions." More recently, a January 2004 report from Lake Ontario Keeper on sewage pollution in Ontario's Waterways indicted that the most contaminated discharge from any pipe leading to Lake Ontario, "was found in Toronto's Warden Woods, where e-coli levels were 2,000 times higher than the provincial water quality objectives."

Against this litany of injuries and insults, the hope for watershed improvement has gathered much momentum of late.

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FODE is a membership-based non-profit organization working to protect and enhance the Don River and to encourage the establishment of healthy and sustainable communities within the central and eastern portions of the Don watershed, Toronto, Ontario. © 2004