The City of Toronto, with support from the Government of Canada, is protecting against basement flooding in the Fairbank-Silverthorn community. The project involves three important infrastructure improvements:

  • installation of new local storm sewers
  • construction of a large storm trunk sewer (main tunnel), and
  • installation of inlet control devices (ICDs) to manage stormwater flow to catch basins.

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The project is part of the Council-approved 2021 Basement Flooding Protection Program and is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.

When construction is complete, the new infrastructure will help to reduce sewer backups and basement flooding for more than 4,645 homes and provide flood protection to a 140-hectare area.

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Construction will be carried out in two phases.

Phase 1 (October 2021 to 2025)

In October 2021 construction of the new storm trunk sewer and a portion of the new local storm sewers began and is anticipated to take four years to complete.

Storm Trunk Sewer

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

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 eight 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 facilitate tunnel construction. The majority of tunneling activity will be carried out through a large shaft in Fairbank Memorial Park.

Construction 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. 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.

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.

See the Project Maps for details.

Local Storm Sewers

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 Maps for details.

Phase 2 (fall 2022 to 2026)

In the second phase of construction the City will construct approximately 17 km of new storm sewers and install additional inlet control devices (ICDs). 330 ICDs will be installed to restrict storm water from entering combined sewers, reducing combined sewer overflow and the risk of basement flooding.

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

Pre-Construction Work

The following work was completed prior to construction starting.

  • 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.

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.

Project Funding

The Government of Canada has committed $73.2 million in funding for this project through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, a Canada-wide program to support large-scale infrastructure projects and help communities better manage the risks of disasters triggered by natural hazards. The City of Toronto is providing the remaining estimated funding of $250 million.

Throughout the project 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.

Construction Notices

Newsletters

Public Information Events

  • July 29, 2021: The City shared information about the upcoming construction and provided an opportunity for the public to ask questions. View the event presentation.

You may experience dust, noise and other inconveniences during construction. We appreciate your patience during this construction and will make efforts to reduce the impacts. 

The route for the storm trunk sewer was selected to reduce impacts as much as possible, however, there are areas where construction activities will be carried out in close proximity to businesses and residential properties.

Pre-Construction Inspections

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.

Sprinkler Systems, Heated Driveways & Private Landscaping

Remove items located within City property limits (boulevard) to avoid damage. This includes items such as landscaping (plants and pavers), decorative objects, sprinkler systems or heated driveways. For more information, please contact the Field Ambassador.

Road Closures & Traffic Impacts

In order to complete the work in a safe manner, there will be road and sidewalk restrictions within the work zone. Access for emergency vehicles will be maintained at all times.

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 nine months.

We will provide detailed information about road closures and traffic impacts, prior to the start of construction. Traffic signage will be clearly posted.

Road users should expect delays and increased traffic on nearby main and side streets. Motorists are also reminded that bicycles and cars will be sharing lanes.

Driveway Access

The contractor will notify you of any temporary restrictions to your driveway access. If your property has two entrances, one entrance will be kept open at all times.

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.

Parking

Please be patient with neighbours who may need to temporarily park on your street.

Parking in the active work zone is not permitted as space is needed for construction equipment and materials. If your parked vehicle affects construction work, it will be relocated at no charge. Please call 416-808-2222 for its location.

If parking enforcement is called to a street, officers must issue a yellow parking violation notice (ticket) to vehicles in violation of parking bylaws. If you receive a yellow notice during this construction work, do the following within 15 days of the notice date:

  1. Dispute the parking violation notice online or in person following the process listed on the back of the parking violation notice. You may use the construction notice as part of the explanation of why the violation should be cancelled.*
  2. Contact the Site Inspector or Field Ambassador and give them the yellow parking violation notice number.

*Violation notices cannot be cancelled if vehicles are parked in illegal parking spots (i.e. in front of a fire hydrant or in no parking zones).

Accessible Accommodation

Any temporary access disruptions will be communicated as soon as possible. If you experience a disruption, have a specific access need or related accommodation request please contact the Field Ambassador.

Garbage & Recycling

Please follow your normal routine. If required, the  contractor will move bins to an appropriate location and return them. Please ensure that your bins are labelled with your address.

Telephone & Internet Service

This work may affect phone and internet cables for individual properties that aren’t buried deep below the sidewalk. The contractor will coordinate with utility companies to minimize disruption. If your service has been disrupted, please contact the Field Ambassador and notify your phone or internet service provider.

Site 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.

If you have construction questions or an issue on site, ask to be directed to the Site Inspector. If the Site Inspector is unavailable, please contact the Field Ambassador.

Trees

Due to the nature of this project, the City will have to remove 27 street trees from the City’s boulevard throughout the project area, 39 trees from Fairbank Memorial Park, 19 trees from Bert Robinson Park, and 162 trees from
Keelesdale Park.

If the planned work affects a tree near your property, you will receive a notice in advance.

For removed street trees and trees removed from a park, there is a 3:1 ratio of replanting. The City will replant trees in the boulevard and within parks where there is adequate space.

Restoration

The construction work area will be restored with sod, concrete and/or asphalt where required to its initial condition. Interlocking bricks, flagstone on a granular base, or other similar features that are removed from public and private
property during construction will be replaced.

Lawn seeding and/or laying of sod will be done as needed during ideal growing seasons only – in the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October).

Fairbank Storm Sewer System Map

Fairbank storm sewer system map
Fairbank storm sewer system map

Larger Fairbank Storm Sewer System Map

Fairbank Memorial Park – What’s Open

Fairbank Memorial Park - What's Open

Bert Robinson Park – What’s Open

Bert Robinson Park Map - What's Open

New Local Storm Sewers

To 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. It will be a new tunnel 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.

It is also designed to 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.

Existing Storage Tank at Charles Caccia Park

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.

Existing Storm Sewer Tank at 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.

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.

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.

While we aim to provide fully accessible content, there is no text alternative available for some of the content on this page. If you require alternative formats or need assistance understanding our maps, drawings, or any other content, please contact the Field Ambassador at fairbanksewer@toronto.ca or call 416-338-5497.