Some of the eponymous steps, with the Yellow Creek overflow window in the background.

21 Golden Steps

Yellow Creek Drain

Yellow Creek

Construction Details:
Poured in place concrete box conduit; twin flume carries it down incline into the Park Drive Reservation.

Further Reading:

Named colloquially for its three short flights of concrete stairs, this sewer serves to drain the fragment of Yellow Creek that now emerges from the outfall of the Belt Line Sewer south of Mount Pleasant Cemetery and flows through the ravine in David A. Balfour Park before entering the inlet of 21 Golden Steps. Its early 20th century rectangular concrete conduit would have been installed to permit the 'improvement' of the ravine southeast of Mt. Pleasant Avenue and the construction of a road providing access to the Don Valley.

A surface waterway was restored to this "Park Drive Reservation" in the 1960s with the construction of the Spadina Storm Trunk Sewer, and a grilled window and concrete structure allows overflow between that 'Yellow Creek fragment' (actually composed of waters from the Castle Frank Brook watershed) and this Yellow Creek drain.

The outfall of 21 Golden Steps is position at/below the modern depth of the Lower Don River, and so the last few hundred metres of the drain are largely submerged. Walking along the banks of the river, inside the Bayview Extension and its ramps, the concrete retaining walls of the outfall are visible, although as an extension of the river, the submerged spillway more closely resembles a boat ramp than a drain outlet.


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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.