Toronto's Sewers and Drains

Toronto is a city at once obsessed and oblivious to the water that lies all around and beneath it. From the endless saga surrounding waterfront redevelopment and the future of our lakefront highway to the periodic health panics and ever-intensifying infrastructure that has mediated our relationship with Lake Ontario, water has loomed large, yet it has been all-but-excluded from the environment of our daily urban experiences.

Feature Articles

Combined Sewers

Earlscourt and Junction Sewers
Trunk sewer built c. 1914 to provide sewerage to newly annexed western suburbs
East Toronto Combined Sewer
Arched concrete sewer with brick floor runs beneath Kingston Road before being intercepted
Garrison Creek Sewer
Exploring Toronto's most lamented lost creek
High Park Trunk Sewer
Small arch brick sewer built 1914 to drain new development above High Park
Midway Combined Sewer
Balloon-shaped brick pipe flows down from the Danforth and into the MTI.
Rosedale Creek Sewer
A small yellow-brick sewer that runs beneath Yorkville and the Annex
York Central and Eastern Trunk Sewer
1920s concrete arch sewer drains the old Borough of York east of the Black Creek

Overflow and Relief Sewers

Bluffer's Park Overflow Sewer
Pipe leads to small arched conduit leads to CSO dropshaft
East Toronto and Midway Overflow Sewer
Overflow and storm sewer network connected to the Midway and East Toronto sewers
Garrison Creek Relief Sewer
Arched sewer built c.1912 to relieve the original Garrison Creek Sewer south of Dundas St.
Garrison Creek Sewer (overflow)
The overflow portion of the Garrison Creek Sewer
Parkside Drive Relief Sewer
Built c. 1910 to provide relief for the High Park Storage Tanks

Storm Sewers

Belt Line Sewer
A complicated network providing drainage and overflow for Forest Hill
Culvert for Bayview Extension
Triple-barrelled cut-and-cover concrete drain for Yellow Creek fragment
Dufferin Creek Storm Sewer
1970s concrete storm sewer drains fuel terminals and industrial park E. of York University
Duncan Woods Creek Storm Sewer
c. 1970 concrete storm sewer drains Hillcrest, Seneca Heights, Highway 404
Garrison Creek West Branch Storm Trunk Relief Sewer
1960s deep concrete storm sewer relieves west side of Garrison watershed
Garrison East Branch Storm Trunk Sewer
1970s era deep storm sewer shadows Bathurst Street beneath the Annex
Glendale Avenue Storm Sewer
1960s concrete storm sewer built as relief for Earlscourt and Emerson
Highway 410 Culvert
A culvert under the 410-403-401 Interchange that seems longer than it actually is
Highway 427 (South) Storm Sewers
Storm trunk sewer draining Highway 427 south of 401
Highway 427-409 Storm Sewers and Detention Ponds
Stormwater management system added to the 427/409 interchange
Lavender Creek Culvert
20th c. concrete and corrugated metal drain
Morningside and Malvern Storm Trunk Sewers
1970s large-diameter RCP trunk storm sewer network in outer Scarborough
North Toronto Storm Trunk Sewer
Another Metro-built trunk storm sewer from the 1960s
North York Storm Trunk Sewer
Large conduit built 1960s by Metro to relieve sewers near the Spadina Expressway
Spadina Storm Trunk Sewer
One of the largest drains in Toronto, built by Metro for the Spadina Expressway
Wilket Creek Storm Trunk Sewer
Massive storm conduit built in the 1960s-70s to bury a major North York creek
Wilson Brook Storm Sewer
Concrete and corrugated metal in a drain whose installation was indefensibly misguided.
Wilson Heights Storm Trunk Sewer
Northernmost of the Spadina Expressway storm sewers built by Metro
Yellow Creek Drain
Drains the sewer-fed fragment of Yellow Creek from David A. Balfour Park to the Don River
York University Storm Sewer
Small concrete storm sewer drains the 1960s portion of the York University campus
Have a suggestion, question or comment about this article, or anything else on the website? Send an e-mail to the author at, or use this contact form.

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.