Huge Ice Dam Blocks Humber River, Endangers Footbridge.

Looking upriver from Raymore footbridge.

It begins just south of Lawrence Avenue, a gigantic barrage of ice piling up and blocking the Humber. Water has been forced to go around the ice and flood Lions Park.
The recent thaw has compounded the blocking of the Humber that occurred in January. Large chunks of ice floated downstream as the river rose last week and they have plugged the channel forcing it to flood its banks. This latest pile of ice begins by the Lions Arena and continues south all the way to the dam and fish ladder in Raymore Park.

Looking downriver

Halfway between the two lies the footbridge connecting Weston to Etobicoke. Normally, the abutments of the old bridge destroyed in the Hurricane Hazel disaster are visible; now they are buried without trace under tonnes of ice. On Saturday, ice was brushing the underside of the bridge and today, the bridge foundations are underwater and in danger of being washed away.

This comparison gives an idea of the depth of the ice blocking the river:

Looking downriver from Lions Park

Here is the almost same view in summer:

Summer view looking downriver.

Looking upriver; notice the normal clearance of the bridge and one of the now buried abutments.

Is the bridge in danger? My guess is that if there is another thaw soon, there will be added pressure on the foundations, not from ice but from water undermining them.

Unfortunately, Thursday’s forecast is for periods of rain and a high of 6°C.

6 thoughts on “Huge Ice Dam Blocks Humber River, Endangers Footbridge.”

  1. i remember years ago, the paved pathway in cruickshank next to the weeping willows was filled with chunks of ice the size of mattresses & larger. some of them were stacked high, big chunks balanced on smaller ones almost as if they were placed that way by someone. it was a very odd sight. also, i remember once seeing a parking lot near old mill filled with ice. if you notice on those weeping willows in cruickshank that i mentioned, the upstream facing sides have damage to their bark, probably due to ice impacting the trees.

    i wonder if that bridge will survive what the river brings this year. if that jam stays that way and we go through a period of cold weather where the river freezes and produces a foot thick ice layer again, the next time the weather warms up and it rains hard, all hell will break loose.

    we need a humber river webcam. humber river ice breakup is a spectacular event.

  2. I was walking along the Old Mill bridge in January 2005 late in the evening. Breaking the quiet was a sharp series if cracking — cryocrepitations, I think some say — and suddenly the already-ice-filled river burst its banks, spilling out of the bed and across into the floodplain. Even as a young, fit, part-time jogger, I would have been hard pressed to outrun the rush of water. As I stood on the bridge watching the force of moving water rend the ice apart I saw trees being torn up, popping like pixie sticks, getting ground downstream. So, yes, the foundations could well be in jeopardy.

  3. any new news on this situation? we’re supposed to get some rain and temperatures will be quite warm tomorrow.

  4. Not much change, the river is still plugged with ice but the level has dropped with the lower amount of water flowing through. According to the forecast there will be rain overnight tonight and this will probably trigger an event sometime tomorrow. The ground is still frozen so the rain will empty directly into the river. Will post a new item if something spectacular is happening.

Comments are closed.