Half of structures on Toronto Island threatened by continued flooding

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 20, 2017

More than half the buildings on the Toronto Islands are being threatened by rising water levels in Lake Ontario that have already closed the popular summer destination to the general public.

Tory says industrial pumps are now removing 500,000 litres of water per hour from the islands, and thousands of sandbags have been set up along the shoreline.

Toronto Mayor John Tory says 261 buildings, or about 52 per cent of the structures on the islands, are at risk of damage from flooding while about 40 per cent of the Toronto Island Park is already under water.

Tory added that the closure of the islands to non-residents is meant to be a safety precaution.

"[Residents] are a pretty sturdy bunch but they nonetheless feel that all the plans have been made to make sure they stay safe, and that if it gets worse, they will continue to be safe", Tory told reporters.

The city says permits for events on the island have been cancelled until June 30, and ferry service is restricted to residents and staff only.

"We can't have people walking around even in places that appear to be dry", Tory said. Lake Ontario water levels rise to record heights Lake Ontario and its watershed areas, including the St. Lawrence River on the US side of the lake, were inundated by the recent rains and officials say the water levels are expected to continue to rise, even without any additional wet weather, over the next few weeks.

Multiple residents said it had been decades since they'd seen the water level of Lake Ontario rise as high as it's been for the last month. The new record was first broken over the weekend.

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