The City of Toronto, with support from the Government of Canada, is moving forward with a major investment to help protect against basement flooding in the Fairbank-Silverthorn community. In October 2021, the City will begin construction of a new three-km-long storm trunk sewer that will collect, store and convey stormwater (rainwater and melted snow) from the Fairbank-Silverthorn area to Black Creek. The City will also construct more than 17 km of new local storm sewers that will connect to the new storm trunk sewer. Once complete, the new sewer system will reduce the impacts of heavy rainfall and sewer backups for more than 4,645 homes and provide flood protection to a 140-hectare area. This work is part of the City of Toronto’s Basement Flooding Protection Program to help reduce the risk of future basement flooding.

Under the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF), the federal government is providing up to $73.2 million in funding for the Fairbank Silverthorn Storm System project. The City of Toronto will contribute the remainder of project costs.


Fairbank Sewer System Construction Notice – September 2021


Construction Notice in Portuguese language – October 2021



Mobilization at Fairbank Memorial Park – October 2021

Fencing and hoarding the compound at the north end of the park, happening simultaneously. Schedule of the shaft later to minimize disruption to the community.

Public Information Event

The City held a virtual Public Information Event on July 29, 2021 to share information about the upcoming construction and provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions. You can view the presentation from the event:

July 2021 Fairbank Sewer construction information

Pre-Construction Notice and Project Newsletter #1

A Pre-Construction Notice and Project Newsletter were mailed to addresses in the project area to provide information about the project and the upcoming construction.

Fairbank Storm Trunk Sewer System Newsletter 1 June 2021

Pre-Construction Notice July 2021

The Fairbank Silverthorn Storm Trunk Sewer System project involves three key infrastructure improvements:

  • Installation of new local storm sewers
  • Construction of a large storm trunk sewer (main tunnel)
  • Installation of inlet control devices (ICDs) to manage stormwater flow to catch basins

This project is part of the Council-approved 2021 Basement Flooding Protection Program and partially funded by the Government of Canada through Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. When all construction is completed, the new infrastructure will help to reduce sewer backups and basement flooding.

New Local Storm Sewers

To help relieve pressure on the existing combined sewer system, more than 17 km of new local sewers will be added to improve drainage on local streets and help reduce basement flooding. These local storm sewers will connect to the new storm trunk sewer.

New Storm Trunk Sewer

During heavy rainstorms, excessive stormwater will be carried from the new local storm sewers to the new large storm trunk sewer. This new tunnel will be 4.5 meters in diameter and 2.4 km long, and will range in depth from 15 to 40 meters below ground. The new storm sewer tunnel will pass below Fairbank Memorial Park, Kitchener Avenue, Bert Robinson Park, Dunvaven Drive, Nashville Avenue, Bicknell Avenue and Westbury Crescent and end at Black Creek near Keelesdale Park.

The new storm trunk sewer will have the capacity to convey up to 9,500 litres of stormwater per second to Black Creek. This new trunk sewer is designed to also serve as temporary storage during heavy rainfall and will slow down the release of storm water to Black Creek. As part of its construction, a new stormwater outfall will be constructed at Keelesdale Park to replace the existing outfall.

An underground storage tank located in Charles Caccia Park is currently in service and stores combined sewer flows during large storms from the area around the park.  This 6,000 cubic meter storage tank helps to relieve the combined sewer system during rainfall. Using pumps, the tank is drained when the downstream sewer system is able to safely accept the flows (after a large rainstorm is over) and carry the flow to the wastewater plant for treatment.

The tank provides storm protection to the immediate neighborhood surrounding the tank, however, the construction of the new Fairbank Silverthorn storm trunk sewer will provide enhanced protection to the entire area.

Inlet Control Devices

Inlet control devices (ICD) restrict rain water from entering the combined sewer system through catch basins, reducing combined sewer overflow and the risk of basement flooding. As a result, inlet control devices may increase temporary surface ponding on streets.

Between May and September 2020, 55 inlet control devices were installed  to review their performance before proceeding with installation for the larger area. Starting in 2022, an additional 330 ICDs will be installed to restrict storm water from entering combined sewers.

Phase 1 Construction

Construction will be carried out in two phases.

Phase 1 will begin in October 2021 and is anticipated to take four years to complete. This phase will include construction of the new storm trunk sewer and a portion of the new local storm sewers.

To construct the new storm trunk sewer, a tunnel boring machine will be used to tunnel below
ground to a depth of 40 metres. A tunnel boring machine uses rotating disc-shaped cutting wheels that bore through soil and install pipe segments to create the tunnel walls. It typically excavates 8 to 10 metres per day.

Between October 2021 and Spring 2022, several shafts will be constructed to lower and retrieve the tunnel boring machine and to facilitate tunnel construction. The majority of tunneling activity will be carried out through a large shaft in Fairbank Memorial Park. For more information about construction activity in Fairbank Memorial Park, see the Common Questions tab below.

Photo of a large open circular shaft is surrounded by construction equipment
Example of a large vertical shaft during construction

The new local storm sewers will be constructed by micro-tunneling method along Silverthorn Avenue, Gilbert Avenue, Croham Road, Harvie Avenue and Chudleigh Road. Shallower and smaller shafts will be constructed for micro-tunneling at various locations. See the Project Map for details.

Additional details about construction and construction updates will be provided to residents in the project area by mail and posted on the project web page.

Phase 2 Construction

Phase 2 is anticipated to begin in Fall 2022 and is expected to continue to 2026. In this second phase or construction the City will construct approximately 17 km of new storm sewers and install additional inlet control devices (ICDs). More information will be provided prior to commencement of this work.

When construction is completed, the contractor will restore local roads and all tunnel shaft locations, including parks.

Fairbank storm sewer system map
Fairbank storm sewer system map

Larger Fairbank Storm Sewer System Map

2010:  Investigation of chronic basement flooding (Study Area 3 Environmental Assessment completed)

2013-2017:  Sewer upgrades and storage tank constructed at Charles Caccia Park

2018:  Preliminary engineering design completed

2019:  Detailed design commenced

2020:  55 inlet control devices (ICDs) installed in stormwater catch basins connected to combined sewers in the Keele Street and Beechborough Avenue area.  The rest of 250+ ICD catchbasins control device will be installed in the coming months

Construction Activity in Fairbank Memorial Park

Construction activity in Fairbank Memorial Park is planned from 2021 to 2025. A large space within the park is required to construct a shaft where the contractor will carry out tunneling work with the tunnel boring machine (TBM). This work involves excavating the ground and importing precast concrete to construct the storm trunk sewer. Noise control measures including a solid barrier will be placed around the work area to control noise levels.

As a result of this work, a portion of Fairbank Memorial Park will be closed to the public and temporary access for construction vehicles will be created at Dufferin Street and Rowan Avenue. Public access to the community centre and parking lot south of the centre will be maintained throughout construction, and the play area and the baseball field will remain open.

Project Coordination with Eglinton Crosstown LRT Construction

Eglinton Cross Town LRT and Fairbank Storm Sewer system are serving different functions. The storm sewer is transferring water from individual streets to an outfall at Black Creek, while the transit system remains along the Eglinton corridor. It would be very challenging to drain the area to Eglinton Avenue, and the sewers would be deeper and more expensive. It would also increase the length of the disruption along Eglinton Avenue, as the timing of work on these projects is different timing and work is being carried out at different depths underground.

Existing Storm Sewer Tank as Keelesdale Park

The existing tank at Keelesdale park is for the combined sewer system, a mixture of surface runoff (rainwater) and foul water (sewage). The new storm trunk sewer system will collect and convey only surface storm water, diverting if from the combined system and reducing discharge from the combined system into Black Creek.

To construct the shaft at the south end of Keelesdale Park, heavy equipment will be required. Construction access to the park will be via Hyde Avenue. Area residents will receive update notices prior to the start of work in the park.

Pre-Construction Inspection of Private Property

OZA Inspections Ltd. (on behalf of EBC Bessac Canada, under contract to the City of Toronto) will survey all properties within 100 metres of construction areas before work starts. The inspection will look at the interior and exterior of all properties to verify existing conditions. Although participation is voluntary, the City encourages all property owners to participate. Without the survey, it will be difficult to confirm any future claims of damage caused by construction.

Affected properties will receive a separate notice from OZA Inspections Ltd. to set up an appointment for the inspection. All inspection staff will wear photo identification and carry photo equipment for this work.

Monitoring for settlement and vibration will be carried out during construction. As part of the engineering design, assessments have been performed to evaluate the potential for settlement and vibration resulting from tunneling work and ensure that there is minimal potential impact.

Road Closures and Traffic Impacts

The project team has made efforts to minimize road closures, but due to the size of the infrastructure and shafts required for construction, partial and full road closures will be required in some locations. The closures are anticipated to be in place for a minimum of 9 months. Future construction update notices will provide detailed information about road closures and traffic impacts, prior to the start of construction. Traffic signage will be clearly posted and maintained to the City of Toronto standards.

Construction Vehicle Traffic

The volume of construction vehicle traffic will vary from location to location and day to day, with peaks for specific deliveries and during activities such as pouring concrete. At Fairbank Memorial Park, up to 75 trucks per day are anticipated while the main storm trunk sewer tunnel is being advanced. For all other locations, we estimate around 10 construction vehicles per day.

Construction Impacts and Project Benefits

This project will benefit the Fairbank-Silverthorn area as a whole by improving stormwater drainage and reducing basement flooding. The City recognizes that there are particular properties where basement flooding has not been a problem, and that some properties in the project area may experience more disruption than others due to their location. The route for the storm trunk sewer has been selected to reduce impacts as much as possible, however, there are areas where construction activities will be carried out in close proximity to businesses, houses and residential properties. The City will work closely with the contractor and residents throughout the project to minimize disruptions resulting from construction.

Visible Changes after Construction

The new storm trunk sewer will be constructed 40-50 metres below the surface of the road, and all of the new local storm sewer infrastructure is buried. When the project is complete there will be a few more maintenance holes on the surface but no other infrastructure will be visible. The primary noticeable difference will be during large storm events, when more water will be successfully captured and conveyed to Black Creek, protecting homes, streets and parks from flooding.

Shaft Safety

The City has appointed a specialist designer and a specialist contractor, following a rigorous qualification process where the contractors demonstrated they have completed this type of work in the past. Throughout the project there will be a team monitoring all construction activity, and this team will have the capacity to respond to any unexpected events, should they occur.

Storm Trunk Sewer Details

The main storm trunk sewer tunnel will have an internal diameter of 4.5 metres, which is about 14 feet 9 inches. The local storm sewer tunnels will have an internal diameter of 1.8m, about 5 feet 9 inches.

Construction Updates and Project Communications

There will be periodic construction update notices mailed directly to the community in addition to project website updates and direct communication with local groups such as Business Improvement Areas, community groups, resident associations, and area schools. Individuals can subscribe to the project mailing list to receive updates by email.

Fairbank Memorial Park - What's Open

Fairbank Memorial Park – What’s Open


Bert Robinson Park Map - What's Open

Bert Robinson Park – What’s Open


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