Latest Updates

Toronto Island Park reopening

Toronto Island Park has reopened as of Monday, July 31 - read the news release 

  • Toronto Island Park, including Centre Island, Centreville Theme Park, Ward's Island and Hanlan's Point, is now reopen to the public as of Monday, July 31.
  • Regular summer ferry service to Toronto Island Park has also resumed.
  • Online ferry ticket sales are once again available.
  • City of Toronto recreation programs resumed on Monday, July 31. 
  • Event permits for Toronto Island Park are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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Following one of the wettest months of April on record, the Toronto area experienced record-breaking water levels in Lake Ontario and watershed levels throughout the city. Various authorities including, Environment Canada, TRCA, and the International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes are reporting that conditions on Lake Ontario appear to be stabilizing and water levels have begun to slowly subside. 

 

Ongoing safety precaution: the Scarborough Bluffs area remains heavily saturated with water, causing significant erosion and many landslides. The risk to public safety is significant. Access to the shoreline is strictly restricted. Members of the public are urged to obey all signage and notices and to avoid areas and access points that are restricted. Please review the TRCA's public notice and use caution.

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Updated: August 4, 2017, 2 p.m.

ExpandToronto Island Park - current situation

July 27: Toronto Island Park, including Centre Island, Centreville Theme Park, Ward's Island and Hanlan's Point, will reopen to the public on Monday, July 31. 

All beaches on the island will be open with lifeguards on duty, however, portions of some beaches will be in a reduced state. Signs will clearly indicate areas that are closed to the public. Olympic Island remains closed to the public due to high water levels.  

Some portions of the park will remain closed to the public - all visitors must adhere to safety signage on the islands. 

The City continues to work closely with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to monitor water levels. 

Flood mitigation efforts

Over 45,000 sandbags and 1,000 metre bags have been placed on Toronto Island Park and 27 pumps, including nine industrial pumps, were used 24 hours a day, to remove surface pooling. Pumps continue to be used throughout the residential community as needed. Landscaping elements such as armour rock, gravel and earth-moving techniques were also employed.

The City and agencies continue to work with residents to prevent or reduce flooding impacts where feasible and offer assistance as needed. 

ExpandShoreline and waterfront areas across the city

Residents are reminded to exercise caution along all waterfront areas. Elevated lake levels combined with wave activity can make those areas slippery and unstable. The public should exercise caution in these areas. Keep children and pets away from the slippery and unstable banks. Residents should be aware of their surroundings and not enter areas experiencing erosion or with other cautionary signage.

The Scarborough Bluffs in particular are saturated with water and the area is unstable. There has been significant erosion in the area and numerous landslides. The risk to public safety in this area is significant. Access to the shoreline is restricted. Members of the public are urged to obey all signage and notices and to avoid areas and access points that are restricted. Read Toronto and Region Conservation Authority's safety notice.

Entry into restricted areas is trespassing, with potential fines of up to $10,000; other charges may also apply. If members of the public see anyone entering restricted areas they are asked to immediately contact the Toronto Police Service. In an emergency, call 911. For non-emergencies, call 416-808-2222.

This "once-in-a-100-years" flooding event will leave its mark on the topography of the shoreline. It's too early to tell what extent the damage will be, but early indications point to reduced and changing shorelines. Staff will inspect the damage both on the mainland and at Toronto Island Park once the water recedes. Staff are reported to City Council on the state of the shoreline and waterfront infrastructure, and on the financial impacts of the flooding.

ExpandMainland beaches

All 11 Toronto beaches were impacted by flooding during the heavy rains and high lake water levels experienced from April to June 2017. Many continue to have sections that remain underwater and are operating under adapted conditions. beach visitors should use caution, avoided flooded or other restricted areas and follow instructions from staff at all times.

Toronto Police Service (TPS) are providing lifeguards at the mainland beaches, where possible and will continually increase lifeguard levels as beach conditions require.

Beach status updates will be posted daily.  

ExpandBusinesses on Toronto Island Park

The City of Toronto recognizes that the high lake levels and associated flooding have had a significant impact on both Island residents and businesses. City staff continue to work closely with affected operators and residents and are committed to lessening flooding impacts as much as possible.

Staff are reported to City Council on the financial impacts and damages associated with this unprecedented event and consideration may be extended to business operators on the Island. 

In general, many seasonal businesses are affected by weather events and other unforeseen conditions; having appropriate insurance in place for these unforeseen events is always recommended. All businesses operating within the City of Toronto are encouraged to learn more about business continuity planning.  

ExpandResponding to flooding/erosion emergencies

Residents can use the City's emergency preparedness guide to be prepared for severe weather events and other emergency situations. The guide is available online at http://ow.ly/S3Vw30c4SXp. More information about what to do during emergencies is available at http://www.toronto.ca/oem.

Residents should call 311 immediately to report flooding in their homes or on public property. Toronto Water crews are available 24/7 to respond to flooding calls. Erosion and other shoreline damage from rain or flooding should be reported to TRCA through their website at https://trca.ca/conservation/erosion-management/report-erosion-hazard/

ExpandOffice of Emergency Management

The Office of Emergency Management continues to actively monitor the flooding situation across the city and coordinate resources from amongst City divisions, agencies and other partners as needed. Once water levels throughout the city and Lake Ontario begin to subside, cleanup and restoration efforts will begin.

Expand Safety during severe flooding

There are several ways homeowners can protect themselves and their families in the event of a flood.

In the home:

  • Try to remain indoors.
  • Turn off your basement furnace, outside gas valve, and shut off the electricity
  • Move valuables in your basement to shelves or upper floors.
  • Cleaners, paint or chemicals should also be taken off the floor so that they do not further contaminate potential floodwater.
  • Do not enter a flooded basement as you may be exposed to sewage or come in contact with water and electricity.

On the road:

  • Avoid driving, especially in low-lying areas where flooding is known to occur.
  • Exercise caution when driving and avoid low lying roadways and underpasses.
  • Do not drive through deep water.
  • If your car gets caught in a flood path, get out of the car and sit on the hood if it is not possible to walk or swim away.
  • If traffic signals are out, treat the affected intersections as a four-way stop.
  • Residents can assist by cleaning catch basins in front of their house to help water run off the roads and reduce the risk of flooded streets.
  • Streams, creeks and rivers may have higher water levels during and in the days after heavy rainfall – avoid such areas whenever possible and use extreme caution.

ExpandPersonal preparedness

Being prepared for emergencies such as, severe snow storms, hurricanes or floods can significantly reduce damage inflicted on your property. With the associated risks of flooded basements and power failures, residents should be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation.

As part of emergency planning, all Toronto residents should have a three-day supply on hand for each family member of the following items:

  • Drinking water (keep water in containers and fill your bathtub)
  • Canned food and a manual can opener
  • Batteries for flashlights and radios
  • A first aid kit
  • Gasoline for your car
  • A transistor radio
  • Cash

Residents are reminded to:

  • Keep cell phone batteries charged.
  • Know the locations of all electrical panels, and water and gas shutoff valves in your home.
  • Keep flashlights where you can find them in the dark.
  • Consider using surge protectors to protect sensitive electronic equipment.

Visit the City's Office of Emergency Management for more information and advice about emergency preparedness, a Get Emergency Ready guide and more.

ExpandProtect your property

In the event of a flooded basement:

  • Residents should call 311 immediately to report basement flooding. Toronto Water crews are available 24/7 to respond to flooding calls.
  • Call Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000 to request a power shut-off to avoid shock or electrocution in the event that water has risen above outlets, near the electrical panel, etc.
  • Clear catch basins and eavestroughs around the home. City crews will continue to patrol areas that have been susceptible to flooding the past.
  • Consider moving valuables to shelves or upper floors if flooding is imminent. Cleaners, paint or chemicals should be removed from the floor to prevent contamination of floodwater that may enter the home.
  • During an extreme storm, reduce use of water in the home (avoid doing laundry or washing dishes) to prevent water from entering the sewer system, which can become overwhelmed during severe wet-weather events.
  • Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report property damage caused by flooding.
  • Be mindful of your health and safety when cleaning up a flooded basement – do not stand in flood water, call a professional for assistance.

Take precautions in advance to protect your properties from possible flooding:

  • Disconnect your downspouts from the sewer system and make sure they are draining properly, ideally 2 meters (6.5 feet) from your basement walls.
  • Be sure the grading around your home drains water away from all exterior walls. 
  • Check for and fix leaks in basement walls, floors, windows and foundations.
  • Clear eavestroughs and downspouts of leaves and other debris preventing proper drainage.
  • Repair or replace damaged weeping tile systems.
  • Rake leaves away from sewer catch basins and other outside drains.
  • Have a plumber or drain company inspect your home’s flood-proofing devices, including backwater valves, sump pumps, floor drains or caps, to ensure they are working properly.
  • Do not pour grease down drains or flush food or other objects down toilets as this will block sewer connections causing sewers to backup during rain storms.
  • For future reference, consider soft-surface landscaping that allows storm water to soak into the ground rather than run directly into the local sewer systems, such as increased sodded areas and porous pavement.
  • Ensure your flood insurance is up to date.

Learn more about basement flooding, including subsidies available for installing flooding prevention measures.

ExpandPower outages

Your patience is needed and appreciated during weather-related power outages. Toronto Hydro will work to restore power as quickly as possible.

 

During an outage:

  • Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes.
  • Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out.
  • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored.
  • When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro.
  • Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

 

How to report a power outage:

  • Call Toronto Hydro-Electric System’s Lights Out number at 416-542-8000. Add the number to your list of other emergency numbers.

 

After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:

  • Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights
  • Setting air conditioners to at least 25°C
  • Using fans as an alternative to air conditioners and closing curtains/blinds to keep out the sun and retain cooler air inside, and
  • Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers and swimming pool pumps.

ExpandFood safety (during and after a power outage)

During a power outage, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips can help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:

  • Keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours – if the door is kept closed.
  • Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C for more than two hours.
  • Keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours – if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
  • Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4°C or below – evaluate each item separately.
  • Partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food, but food will remain safe to eat.
  • If possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period.
  • Discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
  • If you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it out.
  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin.

 

For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/foodsafe/homefood.html

More information about power failures and food safety can be found in the following TPH fact sheet.

ExpandAvoid contact with floodwater

  • Contact with floodwater should be avoided due to potential risk of waterborne illness such as E. coli and cryptosporidium. These diseases are caused by contact or consumption of contaminated water; they are not airborne.
  • Vulnerable people including young children, older adults and individuals who are immunocompromised are at greater potential risk from waterborne illness. More information about these diseases can be found on the Toronto Public Health's website here .
  • Children and pets should be kept away from flooded areas until the areas are cleaned up.
  • Skin infections can develop if open wounds are exposed to flood waters. It is important to cover open wounds with a waterproof bandage and, if the wound had come into contact with floodwater, wash well with soap and warm, clean water.
  • Contact with floodwater should also be avoided due to potentially unsafe physical conditions. Water may be deeper or moving faster than it appears, or there may be unseen objects in the water that may cause injury.
  • If you are expected to come into contact with floodwater during clean-up of affected areas, you should wear rubber boots and rubber gloves.
  • If you have come into direct contact with floodwater, wash your hands and other body parts that may have come into contact with floodwater with soap and warm, clean water. Wash children's hands frequently, and always before eating.
  • Testing floodwaters is not a standard practice as testing will not provide additional information beyond the personal safety and health precaution advice provided. This includes avoiding contact with floodwaters, and wearing rubber boots and rubber gloves if contact is expected.
  • Designated beaches will be monitored through TPH's beach monitoring program between June and Labour Day. During this time we will be collecting water samples from all 11 Toronto beaches, if they are not damaged by floods and are good enough for use. We will be posting beaches that are not safe for use through signage, as well as on TPH web page (http://app.toronto.ca/tpha/beaches.html) and on the beaches hot line (416-392-7161).

ExpandHealth risks associated with mould

Mould can affect indoor air quality if water has entered people's homes and other buildings.

  • This is a concern due to mould growing on wet or damp household materials.
  • Exposure to mould by breathing mould spores can cause eye, nose and throat irritation; increased asthma attacks; runny nose, sinus congestions; and allergic reactions.
  • The elderly, pregnant women, infants and young children, people with allergies, chronic respiratory illness and/or chemical sensitivities and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to experience health effects from mould.
  • TPH has a fact sheet on mould in the home, including clean-up: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=f415d346c8391410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

ExpandHealth risks associated with standing water

Standing water should be removed (where possible) from private property to reduce mosquito breeding and risk of West Nile virus. 

  • TPH staff will conduct weekly monitoring of standing water on the islands to assess mosquito breeding  
  • Standing water includes rain and floodwater accumulating in garden objects (e.g., tires, flowerpots), gutters and drains, and other containers.
  • At present it is still early in mosquito season and we do not usually expect any infected mosquitos in Toronto until July or August. Surveillance for infected mosquitoes across Toronto will be begin in mid-June.  
  • Vulnerable people such as older adults and individuals who are immunocompromised are at greater risk from West Nile virus infection.
  • More information about West Nile virus and tips on reducing standing water can be found on TPH's website: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=cf72ebfc2bb31410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD