2021/04/02 – Stoney Creek Drains I

Good morning from the Hammer. I’ll be kicking off the Easter long weekend by tracing some drains in west Stoney Creek. The QEW is a major barrier, so there will be some switching as I’m able to reach the upper and lower reaches. Let’s go.

The lower end of Drain 1 is a swampy pond beside Edgelake Park. It is buried in the final stretch to the lake under a house. Looks more like a stormwater management pond than a watercourse, and it’s quite dense with growth.

Eastwards, we go over to the lower reaches of Drain 2. I got a better idea of what is going on now. These may very well be storm ponds or just lakeshore wetlands. The drains are mostly channelized. Nice view of Drain 2’s outlet to the lake, and its multiple branches under the QEW.

The shoreline is wonderful, but I’ll save it for another day. Across the QEW to get to the upper reaches.

There won’t be much to see of Drain 1, so straight to 2. The easterly branch has no input and culvert is quite big, perhaps oversized for heavy rains. The westerly branch is more interesting. Traverses over an industrial lot and southwest towards the rail line.

On the other side of the tracks, finally, some draining action. Drain 2 is a concrete channel, so easier to follow between the industrial/commercial lots.

The culvert continues until Barton. South of that, I’m now tracing a lost river it seems.

If it weren’t for tracing lost rivers in Toronto, I’d have no idea what I was doing. But I know the telltale signs to look for. Here are some linear parks that must have the upper reaches of Drain 2 buried below. It stops short of Queenston. That’s it for now, we head east again.

This muddy woodlot at Ferris Park may be a headwater area for the easterly branch of Drain 2. Flows start to concentrate at the north end, and go into this storm inlet.

It’s hard to find anything else. There’s many roadside ditches in the industrial area north of Barton, and various wetland pockets. Then finally, a glimpse of a big storm drain popping out from under the rail tracks west of Millen Road. Can’t pursue further or I’ll get trapped.

Okay, now onto the next drains, down to the highway again to choke on exhaust. I’m not sure of official numbering, but there seems to be a minor culvert or two under the QEW for local drainage. Then Drain 3 is completely fenced on private property, so I can’t follow that.

Made it to Drain 4 (north of the QEW). Another concrete channel that can be followed, at least until the tracks again. Pretty good baseflow through here.

From solid baseflow to nothing at all. Obviously the water is coming from somewhere else, or this is a different drain altogether.

Back to a lost river scenario, but it’s hard to discern what’s what. That’s it for Drain 4.

Now for Drain 5, the most easterly one for today. You could travel this all the way to the mountain I’m sure, but this is the edge of the urban boundary. I’m here to explore urban metroscapes, not sight-see from rural roads.

Drain 5 crosses to the east side of Fruitland Road. Only a couple glimpses after that as it ducks behind some houses and a couple industrial lots.

Back over the QEW to find the bottom reaches of the last few drains. Drain 5 shows itself briefly before going into a culvert on a fenced off harbour community.

Brief view of Drain 4’s lower reach, with its outlet to the lake in a public strip. As for Drain 3, it’s locked away. What’s extra blasphemous is that it includes a whole new shoreline area that was recently redeveloped, and is fenced off. The lack of priority for public realm is sickening.

As I come full circle, there’s some new public shoreline west of Millen Road, so at least I don’t have to cap this off on a sour note. That’s all for today’s walk.

Date: April 2, 2021
Length: 23.4 km
Type: Riverine

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