The Taylor Massey Project

Home Page

What's New

General Information:
Project Goals & Objectives
About the Creek
Current Problems
Toward Remediation
The Need for the Taylor Massey Trail
Our WorkPlan: 2004-2024
The Reach Portal
Submissions to local agencies
Calendar of Events


Submissions to local agencies
The Taylor Massey Project

2003: Wet Weather Flow and Green Infrastructure   See June, 2010

Comments to the City of Toronto’s Wet Weather Flow Master Plan public consultation process on the need to ensure that WWF budgetary expenditures for “green infrastructure” are not sacrificed as a result of possible cost over-runs for pipes and concrete resulted in a Council motion directing staff to develop guidelines to guarantee green infrastructure expenditures. Green infrastructure is defined in WWF as including channel form naturalization, the elimination of fish barriers, stream-edge plantings, and the protection and/or creation of wetlands and stormwater or habitat ponds. In addition, the TMP considers the restoration of base flow from above the 401, the creation of the Taylor Massey Trail, and the acquisition by local agencies of the Warden Hydro Corridor - and its conversion into a local “greenbelt” - as elements of a meaningful set of green infrastructure investments that should be included in expenditures associated with Wet Weather Flow.

2003: Acquisition of the Warden Hydro Corridor - TRCA

A suggestion to the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority, through its Don Watershed Regeneration Council, resulted in a motion being passed by the Authority to seek ownership of the section of the Warden Hydro Corridor that contains Taylor Massey Creek. This would include all of the the Corridor between the 401 and Ellesmere Avenue, as well as a short section extending about 70 metres south of Ellesmere.

2003: Acquisition of the Warden Hydro Corridor – City of Toronto

A similar suggestion has been made to the City of Toronto for the acquisition of the rest of the Warden Hydro Corridor, running from 70 metres below Ellesmere south to the east-west Gatineau Hydro Corridor just north of Eglinton Avenue. As the City is involved in major discussions with the Province concerning 44 local hydro corridors, including the Warden Corridor, this file is moving very slowly. Nonetheless, in October, 2004, one member of City staff involved in the discussions joined the TMP for our bus and hiking tour of the northern half of the Creek, and the TMP will continue to court the City’s support to make the Warden Hydro Corridor a key natural resource for the residents of the area.

Update of February, 2006: The TMP is pleased to thank the City for pursuing the long-term use of the Warden Hydro Corridor as greenspace and potentially aquiring it from the province. Staff in Urban Planning and Development Services are developing a vision of the corridor as greenspace, and Councillor Michael Thompson is seeking to both obtain a traffic light on Lawrence Avenue near the corridor and the use of the corridor on the north side of Lawrence as a local trail head and community meeting space. More as it becomes available.

2004: Wet Weather Flow Foundation Documents   See June, 2010

In mid-2004, the TMP made a presentation on the Project to the Task Force to Bring Back the Don, a City of Toronto advisory body. Responding to concerns about the preparation and availability of foundation documents required for the delivery of the Wet Weather Flow Master Plan in Taylor Massey Creek, the Task Force moved a motion seeking an update from the Director of Water and Water Water on the status of both the Taylor Massey Sub-watershed Study and the Taylor Massey WWF Implementation Plan. The minutes of the Task Force have now made their way through Council, and the TMP has received correspondence from the Director of Water and Waste Water that the Department now has the request and will develop a response for the Task Force.

March 2005: Don Valley Corridor Master Transportation Plan

Over the last several years, the City of Toronto has proposed several plans to deal with increased and still-to-grow transportation on and around the Don Valley Parkway. Some of the initial proposals included the infamous Leslie Street extension, a Redway Road extension, and a two-lane electronic toll expansion of the DVP itself. Each of the proposals raised significant environmental and social impacts, and none was cast within a larger framework that would increase public transit in a meaningful manner. Following extensive public comment on the last proposal, which included a strong role played by Friends of the Don East, the City’s Planning Department began developing an integrated Master Plan in December of 2002. Information the Master Plan is viewable on the City’s website at

As most of both the hard construction and immediate social impacts of the Master Plan are outside of the Taylor Massey watershed, the TMP provided a submission to the April 7 Joint Meeting of the Works Committee and the Transpiration & Planning Committee that asked the members to consider the impact of increased air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation corridor upon the large air-shed. In particular, we asked the members to consider a motion “that the City identify the acquisition of the Warden Hydro Corridor…as a priority” and “turn the Corridor into an extensive and heavily planted greenspace, partly to off-set increased air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from increased transportation in the Don Valley Corridor and partly as an much-needed addition to natural heritage and passive recreational areas in this part of the City”. Click here to see the full text of our submission of March 31.

June and July, 2005: Taylor-Massey Creek Water Quality Testing

Following years of lobbying by many local organizations who wish to see the early and full implementation of the local Remedial Action Plan, which should include the City’s 25-year $1B Wet Weather Flow Master Plan, as well as in response to recent concerns raised by Ward 31 Councillor Janet Davis, City staff provided a major report to the Works Committee of Council on June 8. This report included responses to some of the Councillor’s questions on local spills, as well as other water quality issues, and announced a plan to conduct an extensive outfall water quality monitoring program in Taylor Massey Creek during the summer of 2005.

As an active participant in and advocate for improved water quality in the Creek, the TMP’s offer to identify outfalls of particular concern to us, based on the expertise of local Reach Co-ordinators, was graciously accepted by the City. Please click here to see our submission of July 26, identifying about 30 outfalls of concern.

Fall, 2005: Protecting Warden Woods

As part of our review of the proposed re-deveopment of the area near St Clair and Warden avenues, The TMP became concerned that a potential 6,000-12,000 new local residents might present an unacceptable impact upon Warden Woods. As a result, we both launched a volunteer-lead Warden Woods Ecosystem Inventory, which will report in the first six months of 2006, and developed a major report and set of recommendations that was submitted to a meeting of the Planning and Transportation Commitee of the City held on October 6, 2005, and which provided a series of suggestions to protect the long-term health and vitality of Warden Woods. Councillor Gerry Altobello, although not a member of the Committee, supported the submission and suggested a motion, accepted by the Committee, directing Forestry to report back on a plan to address the long-term health of Warden Woods. Click here to see a PDf of The TMP’s submission, including a wonderful aerial photo.

June 6, 2006: Taylor Creek Watermain Replacement

The TMP commends the City for the sensitivity of a plan to replace a failing watermain in Taylor Creek Park, from Dawes Road west to the second bridge, and for the net ecological gain of enhanced creek-side plantings and other benefits. Read the submission

August 24, 2006: Possible Cycling Paths in the upper portions of Taylor Massey Creek

For over four years, the TMP has been lobbying for the creation the Taylor Massey Trail as a part of its strategic vision for the regeneration of the watershed. This letter, submitted to the City after a cycling tour held in June, thanks Councillor Thompson for his leadership on improvements to the east-west linkages under the Gatineau Hydro Line, and offers suggestions for two north-south cycling trails, an eastern one along Taylor Massey Creek and Ellington Avenue and a western one under the Warden Hydro Corridor. Click here to see the letter.

September 4, 2006

In response to a letter from the Don Watershed Regeneration Council to the City's Wet Weather Flow Implementation Advisory Committee calling for Taylor Massey Creek to become a "pilot project to demonstrate the value of an integrated, ecosystem approach to stormwater management and a comprehensive package of improvements on a subwatershed basis”, The TMP has made one over-arching recommendation to the City, as follows:

We believe that the best way that a comprehensive watershed management approach for Taylor Massey Creek can be developed and implemented is if the City appoints a Taylor Massey Creek Watershed Management Coordinator. We believe that only a City coordinator, reporting directly to senior management, can ensure that all internal departments and external agencies co-operate fully to restore the watershed, be accessible to Toronto’s residents, and be accountable to the City for maintaining and enhancing ecological integrity, engaging the community, adhering to budgets, and meeting time-lines.

See our full submission.

February 21, 2007: Annual Update to the City of Toronto

The TMP sent a letter to City of Toronto Mayor David Miller and Taylor Massey Councillors Kelly, Thompson, Heaps, and Davis, providing both a brief update on our efforts in 2006 and the Board’s strategic initiatives for watershed health in 2007. The strategic initiatives include protecting Warden Woods, securing the Warden Hydro Corridor as Greenspace, and shifting the City toward Watershed management. Click here to see the Letter.

August 23, 2007: Letter to MOE and City on Water Quality

Lab results of water samples taken by Grainne Ryder, chair of the TMP’s Water Quality Committee, show that human sewage in Taylor Massey Creek still exceeds provincial water quality objectives, with readings as high as 20,000 counts of E. coli per 100 millilitres, or 200 times the provincial standard, as follows:

Table 1: Comparison of Taylor Massey Creek Outfall E. coli Testing

Outfall Number Most Recent Samples Taken by Toronto Water Counts/100 mL*

Ryder/Maxxam Analytics Inc. July 23, 2007 Counts/100 mL *

Factor July 07 Sample Exceeds PWQO*
TC24 56,0000 Aug 05 >20,000 >200 times
TC22 24,000 Aug 06 3600 36 times
TC6 11,000 July 06 2500 25 times
TC6 Spillway n/a 1100 11 times
DVP n/a 1200 12 times

* Provincial Water Quality Objective: 100 counts/100 mL

As a result, letters are sent to Ontario Minister of the Environment Broten and City of Toronto Mayor Miller. The letters request an explanation as to what will be done to eradicate dangerously high levels of E. coli contamination and ensure that water quality throughout the Taylor Massey Creek meets provincial water quality objectives. The letter to Mayor Miller also asks for updates on the City’s storm outfall monitoring program and the Wet Weather Flow Master Plan.

Links to the report and the two letters follow:
Lab report on samples collected July 23, 2007 (pdf)
August 23 letter to Minister Broten (pdf)
August 23 letter to Mayor Miller (pdf)

October 17, 2007: Letter to City on Proposed Wetland

In response to a proposal to create a new wetland in Taylor Creek Park, just west of Victoria Park Road, the TMP has supported the concept only in principle, primarily over issues relating to both the fiscal and the water budgets, and calls for a public meeting or site-visit with detailed drawings and a budget. The TMP also suggested that a Taylor Massey Summit be held in 2008, lead by the four Taylor Massey Councillors, to help develop a vision for the Creek and priorities for its regeneration. Click here to see the letter.

October 23, 2007: Second Letter of Water Quality

Further to an MOE response (September 10, 2007) to our original letter (August 23, 2007, as above) on high levels of E. coli in Taylor Massey Creek, the TMP has submitted six specific questions to both MOE and the City, based on a vision that the existing high levels of E. coli in Taylor Massey Creek are unacceptable and must be addressed through aggressive standards, monitoring, enforcement, public accountability, and remediation. Click here to see the letter.

November 16, 2007: Second Letter on Proposed Wetland

Further to our letter of October 17 and a visit with City staff to the site of a proposed wetland near the Goulding Estate, the TMP finds the initiative has suffered from inadequate public consultation, a lack of information, and the absence of an ecosystem approach to regenerating the Creek, and offers three constructive recommendations to address these short-comings for this and similar future initiatives. Click here to see the letter.

December 7, 2007: Letter to MOE requesting expanded WQI reports in the Don

The release of Environment Canada’s new Water Quality Index shows the Don River as the dirtiest in Ontario. As the sampling was conducted at Pottery Road, however, it does not show separate WQIs for the West Don, the East Don, and Taylor Massey Creek. The TMP has therefore requested that the Provincial Water Quality Monitoring Network arrange for the calculation of WQIs for each of the three main tributaries to the Don, at a minimum of one location on each tributary upstream of Pottery Road. Click here to read our letter.

December 31, 2007: Letter to federal Minister of the Environment on Canada’s new Water Quality Index

In a letter to Minister John Baird, the TMP welcomes the development of the new Water Quality Index as launched in the 2007 report on Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators, and offers two suggestions for its improvement: that there be more rivers included and that the more heavily polluted rivers have multiple sampling locations. Click to see the submission.

February 13, 2008: Letter to the City of Toronto on the proposal for increased environmental reporting and disclosure.

“The Taylor Massey Project supports Toronto Public Health’s proposal for improved environmental reporting and disclosure in Toronto.

While we think that the proposal should be supported by an increase in the number of air quality monitoring stations in Toronto, we believe the measures suggested represent both a responsible approach to protecting public health and the environment as well as a set of reasonable conditions for industrial/commercial/institutional activity.

In addition, we believe that the proposal focuses too narrowly on air emissions and that it should be expanded to include reporting and public disclosure of government agency data on surface water quality.” Read more.

March 29, 2008: The TMP releases Protecting Warden Woods, sending copies to the City, TRCA, partner organizations, and local media. Following extensive volunteer effort, fantastic support from Park, Forestry and Recreation, and an excellent study by a consultant commissioned by the City, the TMP report includes a drawing of the main Ecological Zones of the park and focuses on solutions to protect and enhance warden Woods for future generations. The solutions include three over-arching recommendations, three key sub-recommendations, and 16 additional suggestions. Read Protecting Warden Woods.

April 17, 2008: In response to a request for comments on the development of a new Don Fisheries Management Plan, the TMP provides a 3-page letter that suggests that the five Zones in the plan need to augmented with a new one for Taylor Massey Creek and that inventories habitat and water quality problems. The letter concludes that “…fish cannot live in degraded habitat and/or polluted water. To allow fish to thrive in Taylor Massey Creek, it must be monitored, managed, and regenerated.” Click here for a copy of the letter.

June 16, 2008: In response to a request for comments on the development of a new Don Watershed Plan, the TMP provides a major set of comments that touches on poor preparation, lack of vision, lack of consistency, and poor public consultation process management from the coordinating agency, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Click here for a copy of the submission.

July 25, 2008: For well over a year, the TMP had been concerned that the development of a new Don River watershed plan would focus exclusively on a small number of regeneration concept sites to capture the public imagination rather than a broader commitment to regenerate the whole watershed. During this time, we developed our own framework which articulates that, key concept sites notwithstanding, the best way to regenerate the watershed is to reclaim each reach, thereby restoring each sub-watershed.

On July 25, we made a power-point presentation to the board of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Adding Value to the new Don Watershed Plan suggested that efforts to capture the public imagination must be balanced with pragmatic efforts to re-claim each an every reach of the Don as a means to restoring each sub-watershed. Our presentation resulted in a TRCA motion that the Authority seek “reach-by-reach funding from senior levels of government to support watershed plan implementation.”

We thank the Authority for this motion, and are working hard on Reach-by-Reach: A Regeneration Plan for Taylor Massey Creek, which received the benefit of some great input from TRCA technical staff in early September.

We are now proceeding to a second draft for public release. To our knowledge, this is the first time a non-for-profit community organization has ever led the development of a detailed regeneration plan for a major sub-watershed in Ontario. Click here to see the July 25 PPT.

November 26, 2008: The TMP releases a draft version of its regeneration plan for Taylor Massey Creek, Reach by Reach. See May 31, 2009, below.

January 6, 2009
: The TMP makes a presentation to the City of Toronto’s Works and Infrastructure Committee, appraising them of Reach by Reach and seeking dialogue with the City. A motion to appoint a single contact between the TMP and the City, due to the complex nature of the dealings with multiple departments, is ruled out of order as it was already City policy. Verbal and three subsequent written requests to identify a single contact go unanswered.

April 3, 2009: The TMP releases recommendations for a Warden Woods concept site and the creation of the Friends of Warden Woods, with significant support from four partners – LEAF, RiverSides, Lost Rivers, and the Clairlea Regent Park Neighbourhood Association, at a meeting on the new Don plan. Click here to see the document.

May 31, 2009: The TMP releases its vision for the regeneration plan for Taylor Massey Creek.

Reach by Reach provides both strategic recommendations to four levels of government and details on regenerating the Taylor Massey sub-watershed, to the fullest extent possible, suggesting that $4,275,000 be spent on the top five priorities over 5 years.

Reach by Reach is offered as a companion document to the new Don Watershed Plan, being developed by staff at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and its advisory committee, the Don Watershed Regeneration Council.

Click here to access Reach by Reach.

September 24, 2009: Prior to the approval of the new Don Plan by the board of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the TMP submits some final concerns and recommendations. Concerns include the lack of follow-through on TRCA motions regarding reach by reach regeneration and a clear lack of co-operation between the City of Toronto, the TRCA, and the public. TMP recommendations urged the TRCA to complement the Don Plan with a renewed commitment to reach by reach regeneration, significantly improved ways of sharing information between the Authority, the City, and the residents of Toronto, and improved measures to ensure sound decision-making, transparency, and accountability. Click here to see our comments.

April 11, 2010: The TMP asks the City of Toronto to include the lower third of the Creek into the proposed expansion of the Greenbelt into Toronto. Click here to see the letter.

June 18, 2010: Wet Weather Flow – Following a third round of consultations on Wet Weather Flow, the TMP makes two sets of written comments.

In the first, dated May 20, the TMP noted the transition from what we call WWF 1, which included naturalization features, to WWF 2, due to the break in the Coxwell Sewer and the need to address sanitary sewer capacity 2031. While part of that was due to poor planning, it is also due to the shift toward urban intensification. The letter concludes with a familiar TEP refrain, urging the City to:

  • shift to a system of watershed management for surface water, ground water, and sewers, including pollution prevention, and property standard enforcement;
  • ensure a unified implementation program that embraces stream restoration; and,
  • seek a confluence between WWF and the TRCA’s new Don Watershed Plan.

See these comments here.

A more formal set of comments was provided on June 18, 2010. The letter can be seen here, and included the following:

“We write to express both our support for and our dismay over several aspects of this project.

“Fundamentally, we support the imperative of repairing the Coxwell Sewer, eliminating Combined Sewer Overflows, and meeting the sanitary sewage needs of the City to 2031.

“The current project, however, has abandoned several core commitments in the original Wet Weather Flow Master Plan (WWFMP), including:

  • The City’s commitment to a watershed management framework;
  • The naturalization features in the original plan;
  • Enforcement and outreach regarding property standards and
    pollution prevention; &
  • Meaningful public engagement, supported by an annual budget of $6 Million.”

June 23, 2010: Three Strategic Priorities for Taylor Massey Creek– With the City poised to spend a billion dollars on sewers, with few plans to restore degraded streams and valleylands or to create needed trails connecting the communities of the Creek, the TMP put together a four-page reminder of key strategic objectives for our watercourses. This submission presents some sad if almost reminders about the broken democratic process in the City, along with a list of past agency promises to address specific problems. See the full submission here.