Monitoring Lake Ontario Levels

This afternoon, Chief Pegg from the City's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) provided a short update on their work on monitoring Lake Ontario levels and preparation for the 2020 flood season.

The Office of Emergency Management is working with City divisions including Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Toronto Fire, Police and Paramedics, Toronto Water, and Strategic Communications, along with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and my office, on this file. 

Formal Lake Ontario water level triggers have been established, and plans are in place for if the levels rise above 75.5 metres. If this occurs, emergency teams will immediately work to assess impacts and implement flood mitigation plans. 

Lake Ontario levels continue to rise and were measured at 75.39 metres earlier today. Authorities are forecasting lower levels than we experienced in 2017 and 2019 based on observed conditions.

Chief Pegg confirmed that the City is continuing to work on flood mitigation projects, including on Toronto Islands and Bluffer's Park. This work will continue along side the Emergency Operation Centre's ongoing work on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has assigned a response team to focus on the 2020 flood season and coordinate the City’s response with our partners. Emergency response plans are being updated to work under current directives to mitigate COVID-19, and to address needs along the city-side waterfront as well as Toronto Islands.

  • All TRCA flood mitigation projects for Toronto's Waterfront and Toronto Islands continue to be categorized as "essential" business under the Province of Ontario's recently updated direction. These works are continuing with appropriate public health-recommended separation protocols for workers.

  • On Toronto Islands, the TRCA has completed installation of new flood mitigation beach curbs east and west of Ward’s dock.

  • Urgent raising of roads to maintain emergency access in two priority locations is underway: a 300m stretch of Lake Shore Boulevard near Gibraltar Point, and a 200m stretch on Cibola Avenue near the Fire Hall. Preparatory work is complete, and asphalting of the new surfaces is about to begin.

  • At Toronto Island Water Treatment Plant, implementation of two berms, a sump pit, and metre bags is underway to protect this vital public infrastructure.

  • Engineering assessment work on the sea wall at Algonquin Island continues, and will determine either a berm or raised wall solution. In the meantime, additional sandbagging will provide protection.

  • Twelve aquadams and more industrial pumps have been ordered for installation before extreme lake levels are reached to mitigate flooding in low-lying areas of Toronto Islands Park.

  • Technical mapping of flood impacts for different lake level elevations for the whole of Toronto’s waterfront has been produced by TRCA to inform Emergency Management planning. This information will be posted on a public portal on TRCA’s website in the coming days.