An access chamber deep inside the North Toronto Storm Trunk Sewer, which drains the area of Glen Park, Lytton Park, and Lawrence Manor.

North Toronto Storm Trunk Sewer

Water/Sewershed:
Burke Brook
Mud Creek
Glen Park / Lytton Park / Caribou Park / Lawrence Manor storm sewers

Construction Details:
RCP throughout, except for one section of concrete duct. The north pipe at the outfall, a separate system, is corrugated metal.

Also Known As:
"You Betcha!" (the storm trunk sewer) and "Old Ironsides" (the north storm pipe)

Further Reading:
lostrivers.ca - "Burke Brook"
lostrivers.ca - "Mud Creek"

The North Toronto Storm Trunk Sewer is another Metro project installed during the 1960s and 1970s. Like many of the others, it helped to improve sewerage along the route of the planned Spadina Expressway, but like the North York Storm Trunk Sewer further west, its main purpose was to allow partial sewer separation in boroughs served by smaller sewage treatment plants, and to open up additional land for residential development. Metro had assumed responsibility for sanitary sewage treatment throughout what is now the amalgamated City of Toronto but was then thirteen separate municipalities and smaller villages, many of which were then releasing partially-treated or untreated sewage into area river systems. Metro chose to pursue a strategy of consolidating and modernizing sewage treatment at just a few larger plants along the Lake Ontario shore. While sewer separation, the construction of new north-south sanitary trunk sewers, and the consolidation of treatment operations successfully allowed a number of small and ineffective plants along the Humber River and Black Creek to close, the North Toronto Sewage Treatment Plant remains in operation today just downstream of the Forks of the Don.

The North Toronto Storm Trunk Sewer runs southeast from the vicinity of Lawrence and Bathurst, although the catchment area of its smaller pipes probably extends further to the west. It now serves to feed the remaining reaches of Burke Brooke, which now flows east from the storm sewer's outfall along the borders of Mount Hope Cemetery and Sunnybrook Hospital to the West Don River. However, much of the land drained by the sewer actually lies inside the former watershed of Mud Creek, and the buried portion of Burke Brook is itself contained in an entirely separate pipe that joins the North Toronto storm trunk immediately inside the gates of the outfall.

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Michael Cook is available to speak to your organization about infrastructure history, lost creeks, current conditions, and opportunities for change in our management of and communication about urban watersheds, and to work with teams proposing or implementing such change. Get in touch.