The City of Toronto has completed the waterproofing and structural rehabilitation work on the Rosehill Reservoir at David Balfour Park. The necessary upgrades help to ensure the structural integrity of the reservoir, extend its service life and bring the infrastructure to a state of good repair.

The City also implemented a park enhancement plan in tandem with the reservoir’s rehabilitation work. The City has installed new public features and amenities in David A. Balfour Park, including:

  • Re-designed park entrance on Rosehill Avenue
  • Expanded gardens, including a community flower garden cared for by local community volunteers
  • More than 250 newly planted trees and shrubs
  • New, accessible multi-use trails
  • New washrooms
  • Two new seasonal water fountains with dog bowls
  • New lighting on all paths for improved accessibility and safety
  • Additional benches and picnic tables
  • New artwork throughout, such as larger water valves and repositioned and enhanced heritage water feature (the water molecule)
  • New historical plaques
  • New community lending library

Contact 311

If you have a question about park maintenance or clean up, please contact 311:

  • You can create a service request and receive a Service Request Number that you can track on concerns such as: animal bylaw enforcement, noise, illegal dumping, waste bin, tree/grass/weed maintenance
  • You can contact 311 by email (, phone (Dial 311 if you are within the City of Toronto) or call 416-392-2489 or use the City of Toronto 311 App.

They will then reach out to the appropriate staff in the Parks, Forestry and Recreation division.

Map of Work Area

Starting in 2015, the project team met with local stakeholders, permit holders, schools, and other groups that use the green roof of the reservoir regularly. Notices were distributed to area residents and signs have been posted on site.

Public Meeting – March 26, 2019

Members of the public were invited a public meeting to learn about the preliminary design for David A Balfour Park, and key elements and features that were proposed. Following a presentation, residents asked questions to the project team. City of Toronto staff and consultants were present to answer questions and receive feedback from the public.

Public Drop-In Event – March 19, 2018

Members of the public were invited to drop in to learn about the rehabilitation of the reservoir, the details of the construction process, and efforts to mitigate impacts on the community. City of Toronto staff were present to answer any questions and receive feedback from the public.

Public Meeting – September 13, 2017

Thank you to all who attended the Rosehill Reservoir Rehabilitation Public Meeting on September 13, 2017 at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church. If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can view the presentation slides.

Rosehill Vision Committee Meeting – May 31, 2017

On May 31, 2017 the Rosehill Vision Committee (comprised of neighbourhood residents) held a community meeting to discuss their proposed plans for the green roof of the reservoir and Little Park. The Committee kindly invited City staff to attend the meeting and give a brief presentation that outlines the revised project schedule. View the presentation slides.

Summerhill Residents Association Meeting – October 13, 2016

On October 13, 2016 the project team was invited to give a presentation to the Summerhill Residents Association on the preliminary state of the project. You can view the presentation slides below. Please note that the timelines in this presentation are outdated. The most updated timelines are included in the May 31, 2017 Rosehill Vision Committee Meeting Presentation.

Rehabilitate an Aging Reservoir

The Rosehill Reservoir stores and provides drinking water for approximately 675,000 residents located in downtown Toronto. It is vital in managing water distribution in the City as well as ensuring a constant supply of water is available during emergencies such as fires, water main breaks and power outages.

The reservoir was originally built in 1873, making it the oldest and largest of the ten ground level reservoirs located in the City. The last rehabilitation took place in 1966 and the current rehabilitation activities are expected to last for another 50 years. This work will extend the reservoir’s service life, bring it into a state of good repair and meet improved provincial guidelines for safe drinking water.

Work to rehabilitate the reservoir includes:

  • Replacing the waterproofing membrane on top of and one metre down the side walls of the reservoir. This require the removal of park features, trees and soil from the top of the reservoir and partly down its slopes.
  • Reinforcing, patching the reservoir’s interior structures, such as its walls, columns and joints.
  • Replacing and upgrading the mechanical and electrical systems that operate the reservoir within the water supply and distribution network.
  • Cleaning, upgrading, replacing related infrastructure around the reservoir, such as the watermains, storm sewer system, footing drain systems, as well as the Access and Valve House located on the south side of the park.

Improvements to David A Balfour Park

In addition to the rehabilitation activities, the City’s contractor will also be installing new park features as part of a park enhancement plan. The project team has been working with the Rosehill Vision Committee to develop a landscape enhancement plan. Some highlights of new park features include:

  • A new public washroom
  • Re-design of park entrance on Rosehill Avenue
  • Widening stairs at Jackes Avenue entrance and near the Valve House
  • A new water feature at the relocated historical Molecule
  • Additional benches and picnic tables
  • Improved lighting
  • Pavers and pathway materials

The Rosehill Garden will be reinstated in its original location on top of the reservoir.

The landscape plan will be developed and shared with the community once the design concept has been finalized. The contractor will install the park elements once the rehabilitation work is complete.

Improvements to the playground is not part of the rehabilitation contract or park enhancement plan.

The Construction Schedule

The rehabilitation work began in April 2018 and is expected to be completed by Spring 2021. The reservoir has two cells/basins and the construction schedule carries out work on one cell/basin while the other cell/basin continues to operate. The construction schedule is separated into three phases:

  1. Phase 1 is from April 2018 to January 2019
  2. Phase 2A is from February 2019 to July 31, 2019 and Phase 2B is from August 2019 to December 31, 2019
  3. Phase 3 is from January 2020 to Spring 2021

Summary of Construction Phases

During Phase 1, structural rehabilitation and waterproofing work over the West Cell/Basin will be completed. This work will require the closure of the west side of the park, and will continue until the park features in the enhancement plan are installed.

Phase 2A will advance the work along the lower perimeter pathway south of the washroom around the playground towards Little Park/Summerhill Entrance. Within Phase 2A, a three-week temporary closure starting late February, around the playground and outer perimeter path is required to remove and install tree protection zones. If this three-week closure will affect access to the Garden, a Construction Notice will be issued in advance.

Phase 2B includes a full park closure as per the original March 2018 Construction Notice. At this time, rehabilitation and waterproofing work over the East Cell/Basin will begin. Phase 3 will complete the rehabilitation work and park features installation prior to the end of the project in Spring 2021. Construction updates will be provided prior to these milestones.

Construction Work Hours

Work will take place Monday to Fridays starting at 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays starting at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Soil removal, removing existing waterproofing membrane and the process to install a new membrane (and replacing soil) is weather dependent and unfortunately the rain and wet weather has impacted the schedule in Phase 1. Work on Saturdays is required to recoup this time and meet the completion date. See the City’s Noise By-Law for more information and previous Construction Notice for Phase 1 Saturday Work.

Park Access during Construction

The City previously committed to providing access through the park and around construction. However, due to concerns raised regarding the safety of the temporary pathways, access from Rosehill/Avoca avenues was closed off. Please read this construction notice for more information.

During Phase 2A, access to the remaining open park spaces at the Garden and around the playground will be provided via Little Park/Summerhill Entrance. If the three-week closure affects access to the Garden, a Construction Notice will be issued in advance

During Phases 2B and 3, the park will be fully closed and no access around the construction will be provided.

Access from the trails in the ravine will continue to be open during Phase 2A, however, the trails are steep, rough terrain and not maintained by the City. Signs will be posted in the ravine to prevent access to the park during Phase 2B and 3, as well as during the temporary three-week closure near the playground in late February. The alternate route around construction are the local roads via Yonge Street. Please make a request with 311 regarding Parks Maintenance by calling 311 within City of Toronto or email

Impacts to Park Trees

The City is making every effort to minimize the number of trees that will be removed or impacted. The project team is working closely with arborists, landscape architects, City of Toronto Forestry staff and the Rosehill Vision Committee’s dedicated arborist to determine tree protection zones (TPZ), impacts, transplants and removals. The City has directed the contractor to carry out a Tree Root Exploration process to expose the tree roots (which does not damage the trees) for arborists to determine its conditions in review of the rehabilitation activities and park design. Trees located on top of the reservoir and partially down the slope will be removed and not replanted.

A replanting plan is being developed as part of the park enhancement design. This plan will address trees that were removed during construction. Memorial trees will also be included in this plan. The City Forestry staff have reached out to family members of dedicated trees and benches to work together and determine where those impacted trees can be replaced. Some records have family contact information that is out of date, such as phone numbers no longer in service. Please contact to ensure your family’s memorial tree or bench is included in the replanting plan.

In addition the park trees, the Rosehill Garden Volunteers have worked closely with the project team to transplant a number of plants from the original garden to the expanded Avoca Beds prior to Phase 2 work. These plants will be reinstated back to their location in the Garden near the south-east corner of the park after rehabilitation work is complete.

Traffic Impacts

Extensive trucking logistics are required as part of the rehabilitation activities due to:

  • Constrained opportunities on-site
  • Large volume of soil to remove (and replace)
  • Load bearing capacity of the reservoir structure
  • Large and heavy equipment and mechanical elements to replace and install

Trucking at Main Access Point

The main access point or hub of rehabilitation and truck activities is located at the north-east corner of the park at Rosehill Avenue and Avoca Avenue, as it is off of the reservoir structure, and has sufficient space to transfer removed soil into trucks and make deliveries for the north-end of the reservoir. All exterior and interior work activities, such as soil removal and delivering equipment and supplies, will use this access point, with the exception of work at the Valve House and Summerhill Entrance/Little Park.

Trucking at Summerhill Avenue

Trucks will also be required to access the Valve and Access House located at the south end of the park via Summerhill Avenue, as these are the entry ways to much of the reservoir’s mechanical and electrical systems. Jackes Avenue will be a third access point to allow watermain connection activities to be carried out.

The City has worked with the contractor to minimize the number of trucks at Jackes and Summerhill Avenue by redirecting trucks that would remove soil at the south end of the park, to the Main Access Point at the north end of the park.

Idling Trucks

The City’s Idling Policy restricts idling to 1 (one) minute within a 1 (one) hour period. If you see idling on local streets beyond this restriction, please send an email to,,, and include the following information:

  • License plate number
  • Location where the infraction is taking place
  • Approximately how long the vehicle was idling
  • Time of day – to establish a pattern (i.e., every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. etc.)

On-Street Parking Impacts on Summerhill Avenue

Trucks required to make deliveries at the Valve House located near Little Park/Summerhill Entrance require a large turning radius. Staff have worked with residents and the City’s Permit Parking staff to use about four car spaces on the south curb at the foot of Little Park for these deliveries. The benefit of this arrangement meant that park plantings and features in Little Park were not impacted or removed. Please see the Phase 1 Notice for more details. Another notice will be issued to continue this arrangement in Phase 2A.

Dogs Off-Leash

Dogs are required to be on-leash (Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 608- section 34) as there is no dog off-leash area (DOLA) in this park. Signs have been posted on construction hoarding asking dog owners to keep their dogs on-leash. Please email or phone 311 to request by-law enforcement for dogs off leash.