Last Saturday, Melanie and myself ventured into Toronto to meet Jeremy. Our destination, a recently discovered but very old and most likely abandoned CSO tank system underneath High Park. Discovered by the Angels of the Underground last spring, this drain was named Humble Howard after John George Howard, the original owner of the land on which High Park was designated. Donating his land to the City of Toronto with very simple caveats attached in 1873, High Park became quite the landmark for Toronto citizens.
Entering through a manhole marked 1910, the drain system found beneath High Park is remarkably close to the surface. Upstream from the entry point is a large diversion weir, pushing a considerable amount of flow at high velocity down into a smaller pipe, presumably taking it over to the Mid-Toronto Interceptor. The smell was certainly quite fresh, given the time of day was perfect for washing dishes. We left this area for further exploration at a later date.
Down stream from the entry point, there is a metre high drop to a level that wraps around a portion of one of the tanks. Inside the tanks was a rather high level of sediment, with small sprouts growing from the top! With no light down here at all, these poor little plants didn't have much of a chance to grow much bigger.
Outside of the tanks, there is a North end connection to another drain, cheekily given the moniker High There. This connection is mostly abandoned and very full of sediment. South of the tanks is a gorgeous brick outlet, almost 3 metres high. Again, this tunnel is mostly dry, with hardly a trickle in the middle. A short jaunt down this tunnel and you find an overflow tunnel that leads to the South connection to High There. We will explore High There on some future date, when illness and energy is not a factor.
Following the brick tunnel for 1.5 km South leads to a boarded up outlet, and a very deep pit leading out to another famed Toronto drain, and eventually the West Beach Storage Tunnels.
The amazing thing about this drain is the number of connections to other systems in the area, and the number of different features and areas that are photo-worthy. Watching a community of drainers research and explore this system was certainly an uplifting and humbling experience.