Aiming to Reopen Trail in July – Date to be Determined

The City is in the final stages of work to reopen the improved section of Lower Don Trail between Pottery Road and the Riverdale Parks Bridge.

flooded tunnel

Record rainfall has caused intermittent flooding, slowing progress. Here, contractors inspect the completed Belleville trail underpass structure.



Bala Track removed

Tracks Removed:  The rail bed on top of the Underpass, before laying the new track ballast and rails.


train tracks over underpass

Tracks Replaced: City contractors have replaced the rail line above the Belleville underpass and largely completed the earthworks around the new structure.


In recent weeks, here’s what’s been completed:

  • The rail line above the new Belleville trail underpass has been replaced, which is a Metrolinx requirement for potential future use of the rail corridor
  • Earthwork around the new underpass is almost finished, despite the wet soil conditions
  • Work has been completed for some of the necessary engineering features at the new Pottery Road trail bridge as well as railings on bridge approaches
  • Drainage improvements have been made to minimize flooding risk within the Belleville Underpass
  • Seating circle has been created at Pottery Road Trailhead


big square rock being movedContractors have been able to incorporate old foundation stones unexpectedly found at the Belleville Underpass site into the new earthworks shoring up the tunnel


Here is what’s left to do as of this posting date:

  • City contractors await Metrolinx permits for the final trail connection over the rail line at the new Pottery Road trail bridge, connecting the trail to the new, completed Bayview multi-use trail
  • City contractors await Metrolinx permits to reinstate utilities at the Belleville underpass, a requirement before the trail can be paved in that section
  • Soil quality and environmental approvals are pending to ensure the topsoil on site is appropriate for the plant material and meets the specifications of the contract
  • Asphalt installation and resurfacing from Pottery Road to the Belleville underpass
  • Planting of native species and other landscaping elements
  • Installation of new trail signs and surfacing associated with sign approach areas and seating area at Pottery Road


high water in river

Rising water levels in the adjacent Don River from record rainfalls have challenged construction work.

Higher than normal rainfalls causing flooding have delayed some work.

Assuming enough favourable weather and permit approvals from our partners, we are optimistic the trail can be safely reopened in July. Stay tuned to this blog for announcements.

Until the trail is opened, please do not trespass past the fences.  Along with construction area dangers, there has been flooding in this section of trail, as there have been extreme weather events, with water levels far above normal for this time of year.

Thank you again for your ongoing patience.

90 thoughts on “Aiming to Reopen Trail in July – Date to be Determined

  1. Thanks for posting this Jason, especially the detailed list of work items. And there’s no need to thank us for our patience, because as you can easily see from the comments,
    that ran out for most of us a while ago.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Indeed it did! Please have this open ASAP. I’m getting real tired of the east west route, (Martin Goodman Trail) as it’s too congested around the waterfront. The North South Route is a much better workout for us too. So get happening!


    • Hi Michael,

      As part of the Lower Don Trail improvements, there will be several artistic and decorative elements installed along the trail, including photographic imagery applied to the Belleville Tunnel that will replace any temporary graffiti currently on the walls.


  2. You are kidding, right? You’re talking about the superhuman efforts you’ve made over the last 30 days (over what, an 18 month period?) as somehow being worthy of the 1 year delay in the construction process? How embarrassing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. [Editors note: the following comments are from a member of the public and are not considered accurate by the City of Toronto. Insults and inappropriate language have been removed.]

    Pic 1: “4 ‘inspectors’ review how they can squeeze more money out of this project, because they sacrificed their Hush-Puppies to post for a picture that might earn them another $300,000 each.” Seriously, they’re standing underneath a concrete-sealed block THEY poured? Second, the whole valley is under ‘intermittent flooding’ since downstream, they haven’t dealt with the 90° turn the stupid river has to make. Was this not part of the initial study? Who did the City hire?

    Pic 2: Tracks removed. 2 months to remove railroad tracks from an closed line. Yes, the line is not being used. Hasn’t for well over a decade. That, properly done, should take a day, if that. Metrolinx has the tools. Most of them obviously employed at head office. Oh, if you want videos on how fast this can be achieved, go to a website called Youtube. It’s new.

    Pic 3: 4 more “managers” with loud jackets on where there is no traffic (including bicycles). 60 feet of trail that is still not finished. But a convenient ramp for “managers” to safely walk up for more perusal of land that hasn’t been finished over the last year. Note: Replaced dead tracks leading to forest, where trains love to disappear.

    Pic 4: Two “managers” talk about a big fake rock that was “unexpectedly found” in a place they surveyed and continue to survey. Seems the survey meant pointing at weeds and looking into the sky for clues.

    Some observations:

    – “potential use”. That line hasn’t been used in a dog’s age. If it is needed, then satisfy the rails at a later date.
    – Drainage improvements…in a valley that’s flooding every year. Of course, this was outside the scope of the project design.
    – Railings on bridge approaches. Because people walking on a trail need to grab railings when earthquakes start. That, or Godzilla.
    – Seating circle, for pot-heads that require a meeting place for the valley karma assessments. “Managers” need not show up.
    – Over two years into the project, permits are being sought. Because the brains in this project never thought there would be any connections to be made on a single line. It’s a line. Single line. Pencil.
    – Soil quality approvals are required AFTER it’s integrated as opposed to sourcing proper soil during the design phase of the project.
    – Asphalt installation and resurfacing to the tunnel. During all of this two-year project, that’s what I thought all this was about. No. It was about tunnel redesign on a tunnel that worked just fine for decades.
    – Planting of native species that are all around the tunnel. Apparently this might take weeks to grab weeds and plant them 5 meters where they were growing. “landscaping”. Monkeys have been contacted.
    – Installation of trail signs. Because people might just wander into the river without signage. Sounds like a video game designed in the 80s.
    – More seating at Pottery Road, for those that didn’t flatten their [rear] enough at the tunnel.

    Please don’t trespass. But please post links to your “drone images” taken during this next several months as they figure out what weeds to move 10 feet. It’s a huge City project.


  4. “we are optimistic the trail can be safely reopened in July”… well, that makes you the only ones who are. I’m still expecting some time in 2018. I’m sure there’s some excuses you’ve not used yet for the appalling project management and glacial pace of work!


  5. “City contractors await Metrolinx permits to reinstate utilities at the Belleville underpass, a requirement before the trail can be paved in that section”

    Diceman, so this is literally what is preventing the tunnel to be accessible?! as nothing else in that list should prevent people from using the trail safely as it all can be done while the trail is in use. And the pottery road work can also be done while the trail is in use too.

    What is the delay with the permits and why is there one? how long will that take for someone to sign off on this? and why was this not done proactively? surely they knew they would need this? why are we waiting only until it’s needed to then submit the application? this all just seems very backwards to me.
    A very poorly managed project indeed…

    I’m glad you updated that finally after promising us in april. So thank you, but surely you must have a more solid timeline to know when these permits will be signed off on and the paving will be started. Why such vagueness about all of this? Surely this is not how the city operates with just “maybe’s” and ” were are not sure, but we heard of… ”

    I gotta say i find this all quite hilarious that after all this, we are still waiting on permits for an approved project that has been ongoing for over a year.


    • I believe these final permits were sequential, i.e. were only to be submitted after a prior task was completed, such as a post-construction inspection, as-built drawings submitted, etc.

      The two main factors at this stage seem to be weather and Metrolinx permit approvals. Both are beyond our control.


      • Then please explain how a $3.5m project was initiated without the proper permits. According to the Terms of Service, you can’t blame Metrolinx in these comments. It was the City’s project that obviously needed their agreements ahead of schedule. Pointing the finger at Metrolinx isn’t solving anything.


      • ugh… this just seems so counterproductive and lacking in common sense, one would expect all of these designs and drawings to be approved before the work begins, or do they just do it on the fly?
        I totally understand inspections and the like, but approvals and permits? clearly appears to be a backwards process, almost like you have built in your delays before the project even starts.

        If there is one thing i’ve learned from this project is the city, metrolinx and anyone who is contracted by the city do everything at a slower than glacial pace, and there just seems to be this general apathy towards everything, which. there just seems to be no motivation to finish the project on time or as promised.

        So seriously, no more vagueness, please. how long will metrolinx take to approve the paving?? Or do they have to have consults, meetings, hearings, debates votes to get this going?


  6. The flooding you refer to happened 55 weeks after the project started – interesting that the site has been worked on for over 2 years prior to closing this particular stretch (by the Don and the pylon) and still the terrain is a complete mystery to the contractor.
    The bottom line is this has been managed very badly, with no supervision or accountability. I can hardly stand to think of the contempt that has been shown to the people of Toronto by this sort of boondoggle.


  7. Of course, even if the trail opens in “July” (and I remain very doubtful that it will due to the amazingly poor, non-existent, project management to date) it will be closed again when the City does something with the areas that flood near Riverdale Park and again when they rebuild (yet again) the GO bridge just south of the entrance to Corktown Common. At the VERY LEAST the City should have dealt with the flooding and resurfacing of the trail around Riverdale Park while this closure was in effect. This trail is a vital part of the City’s bike trail network and it is scandalous that it has been closed for over a year and will close again, several times, in the next year or so.


  8. Thanks for FINALLY providing an update. Unfortunately, it sounds about as concrete as the miniscule amount of concrete this project required. There are numerous examples of projects significantly larger than this one being started and completed in the same time frame. They also battled the weather, permits, unexpected challenges.

    Here are the Dutch building a 70 meter tunnel under a 4 lane highway…….in ONE WEEKEND. MAYBE everything went exactly to plan here, but I would guess this project might have taken two weekends should anything have gone awry. They seem to have a plan rather than figuring it out as they go.

    Why it is that the trail at the Pottery Road and Bayview hasn’t been completed is beyond me; why were permits not sourced during this endless downtime being blamed on the weather. Being a drive, cyclist and runner who goes through this area regularly I MIGHT have seen 8 hours of total work being down around the new bridge. This area is currently DANGEROUS for everyone not in a car. If someone does get hit down there, it will be a liability issue for the city. These permits should be getting expedited; outside of 2 days

    Seems like low lying fruit to show progress if the tunnel has become such a challenge.



    • I keep seeing 7 year-olds biking with their parents over that hump on Bayview south of Rosedale Valley Road. This is absolutely insane. In that video, they actually work in the rain as well. Maybe the contractors for our little “cash-grab tunnel” are allergic to water.


    • Awesome accomplishment, they didn’t even close the road overhead. You wonder what metrolinx does during the weekdays since they can’t/won’t plan a project competently.
      I can’t wait til the trail is open again.


  9. I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above comments. You can’t blame it on the weather as we’ve only had a large amount of rain this spring, not for the duration of this elongated project as you imply. Nor can you blame it on the permit process. I am in the middle of residential renovations & I was required by the City to have ALL my permits approved BEFORE I started. Why was this not the case for this project? Also as someone who uses the trail daily I feel sorry for those who use the trail for their daily commute. They have been severely inconvenienced. This project is a SHAM that has been SEVERELY MISMANAGED. City staff should be ASHAMED.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Toronto Star, April 30, 2017: “Don Valley trail closures will continue till July”, article by Jesse Winter.
    Not exactly encouraging conclusion, quoting Matthew Cutler, a spokesman for the city’s parks department: “Based on our funding model it could be that [ …] over the next 10 years the trail is closed more often than it’s open. […] we need to be more co-ordinated on those projects.”


    • The tunnel has been finished for months now. As previously mentioned, they need to lay sod. That’s it. Landscaping. Months now. Months.

      I bet the people at the City will re-hire these people over and over again, because they can’t learn a thing. This is beyond shameful.


  11. Jason,

    With the trail still closed many cycling and hiking families have been caught unaware of the closure and unable to find the Bayview multi use trail. Better detour mapping and signage is needed. More signage is needed to tell cars that they need to share the road as well at the end of the Bayview multi use trail. Cyclists seem unsure how to proceed up Bayview to River Street to find the bike lanes, no sharrows have been painted to help guide people into downtown.

    Really miss that part of the ride along the trail, please let us know as soon as it opens.



    Since the closure of the Don Valley Trail (June 9, 2016) OVER A HALF MILLION taxpayer trips have been cancelled or detoured. This achievement, aided and abetted by Parks, Forestry and Recreation, was reached through a series of impressive efforts, INCLUDING:

    1. Citing the public for the part of the project delay (see April 30 Toronto Star article above).
    2. Not seeking work permits in advance or in a timely fashion.
    3. Intimidating the public with warnings about POLICE PRESENCE ON THE TRAIL, yet knowing such claims contained no truth.
    4. NOT reading the book “Construction for Dummies”. (In this book, project managers are required to hire an engineering firm(s) to perform soil testing and seismic analysis during PRE-CONSTRUCTION to uncover what might later be falsely classified as “unforeseen circumstances”.) This seismic work was never done and City officials remain guiltily silent on this specific missed task. (Had this been done, maybe the project would have been modified/re-prioritized thus avoiding the zombie project?) Not sure.

    No other Parks and Rec NATURE TRAIL closure has exceeded the 500,000 cancelled/detoured number, possibly making this the worst project ever directly managed by Parks and Recreation (using cancelled/detoured number). If there is a worse project (based on the 500,000 number) the NAME OF THAT PROJECT will be revealed in the REPLY. If there is no NUMERICAL refutation (or reply), the fact stands.

    ***I would like to thank City staff member Jason Diceman for supplying the cycling traffic data that represents most of the 500,000 number (from his post on April 12, 2017).

    Parks, Forestry and Recreation has NEVER acknowledged their direct project management shortcomings/weaknesses (at least on this Blog) on the Don Valley Trail Closure.
    Maybe THAT IS the most remarkable achievement??? Quite possibly.


  13. was up the trail this morning, not one single person there, the big machinery is gone and it looks like the contractor has decamped. Who knows when the paving will be done. There isn’t a word to describe the disgust I feel about the disrespect shown to the people of Toronto over this project.


  14. Hi all.

    I know everyone is frustrated, and rightly so.

    Without speaking to all the previous issues on this project, please believe me that for the past few months we really have been waiting on Metrolinx to allow us to finish the work on their property. The City would love to just tell our contractors to get it done tomorrow, but we can’t. Government has many branches and levels and right now we are working under the provincial jurisdiction, and even though we have requested permits in a timely manner, once it was possible after a certain stage of construction, we have been struggling to receive finalized approved permits. Hopefully, this will be resolved very soon.

    I support your concerns that the public should expect better from its government.


    • I appreciate your reply Mr Diceman, and would like to know if there are any financial repercussions for Metrolinx over their delays. They have inconvenienced the people of Toronto for 13 months surely in business that sort of impact should result in a penalty of some kind. The billions they get from the taxpayers purse should be reconsidered if they can’t do a simple project like this in a timely and competent manner.


    • Metrolinx shouldn’t even own the line to begin with. Whatever the sweetheart deal was between CP and Metrolinx, the land should have been incorporated into the scope of the Don Valley Park.

      Instead Metrolinx obviously hopes to run a train along this line which would have a huge impact on the Evergreen Brickworks not to mention the houses in Bennington Heights that back onto the line. It’s either that or Via hoping to run a high speed/frequency train between Montreal and Toronto. Either way, it’s a terrible use of what should be the Don Valley Park.

      Either way, the whole thing should have been planned such that the City could build the bike path without having to to build the Bruce McQuaig Memorial Railway Bridge to Nowhere (hey at least UP has an origin and a destination). Once the plan materializes for the line, then the city should build the bridge if the plan is approved and funded.

      Did you every wonder why the City doesn’t have money for necessary things? Because they spend a million bucks on the [edit] Railway Bridge to Nowhere. Hope [Bruce McQuaig] comes from the ribbon cutting and the ceremonial Man walking across bridge making train sounds.

      This has been a stupid waste of City taxpayers money. Why Paula Fletcher allowed this happen is beyond me. Oh wait, she’s the one spending $100k on signalled crosswalk on the DVP on ramp @ City adult learning centre because a car had a fender bender,


      • I think the plans for the line are a footpath, with the raised part (Don East by Bloor DVP South Exit to Brickworks Park East) also accommodating pedestrians. Why Metrolinx was involved, is very strange considering the Don Valley belongs to the City, outside of active rail lands. That line was my back yard as a kid, and it was abandoned/mothballed decades ago, with the odd adventurous engine heading downtown.

        [Edit removed statements about councillor]

        That on-ramp is notorious for problems. Why they don’t have a tunnel there as well, is beyond me. After its Broadview Collegiate days, the traffic shot up massively. Traffic is constantly backed up to the Viaduct. But in government form, spend loads of money slowing down absolutely everything. Slow is the name of the game, because there’s free money behind it. No councillor has answered anything about this tunnel. Not one.


  15. Hi Jason,

    Would that explain why no work is currently being done there? I’ve peeked at the construction site at different times over the past 3 days and never saw any worker there. Truth be told, the place looks abandoned and very far from being ready for use. I find it hard to believe that a July (or even August) reopen date is possible at all at this pace.

    Another valid point is who is ultimately responsible for this project? I’d like to know who will admit fault (because someone is clearly at fault) and take blame for this unreasonable delay. I’m quite sure that god and the weather can’t be held responsible for a poorly planned and executed project, and there needs to be a name behind the person that authorized, planned or decided to go ahead with this terrible project.

    Also, what’s the current state of Bayview between Rosedale Valley and Queen? Any chance bike lanes will get built there? This is a no-brainer since there are bike lanes on Bayview north of Rosedale Valley and south of Queen already. The road there is quite wide, and even if not, there are no buildings around that area that would prevent a widening of the road for bike lanes connecting those stretches.

    I’m disappointed that when the city unveiled the Bayview bike lanes with much fanfare, no one at city hall remembered to mention that this trail doesn’t really lead anywhere bike safe at its south end. Upon getting to Rosedale Valley, you can continue south on Bayview without bike lanes, which is what most currently do to bypass the construction site but is extremely dangerous (just a few days ago a female biker died on Bayview after a collision reminding us of how dangerous Bayview Avenue is), take Rosedale Valley which doesn’t have bike lanes either, or climb up through Wellesley Park behind the Necropolis to Sumach St. That’s a steep climb with lots of steps. As you can see, none of them are really ideal routes or bike friendly, so those brand new bike lanes on Bayview are not being used to full potential.

    A connection from Rosedale Valley to Queen would provide a safe route to the lakeshore and a suitable detour from the construction site. I’m sure you’d get a lot less pressure if the city were able to provide a suitable alternative during this and upcoming detours that are planned for the Lower Don Trail without recommending the Pottery Rd. climb and Broadview detour, or Bayview without bike lanes south of Rosedale Valley which is a death waiting to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I pitched the City back in 2008 with all of this. It was to bring the (then current) lower Belt Line Trail (east side Bayview) with Rosedale Valley Road and the Don Trail, all together. They are all within 200 meters of each-other, and the Bayview-Rosedale connection has been made. A bridge of some sort to the Don Trail would have opened up a massive commuter route that would have made a lot of sense. The person I pitched thought so.

      The happy skippy air at City Hall’s office was a bit sickening. “We’re in charge of Toronto, it belongs to us, we make the decisions, we get the money”. No emails, phone calls, nothing.


    • Hi B. Sparon,
      Only one thing is guaranteed when apportioning the “blame”: The City will say they have done a stellar job on this file.
      They will cite “unforeseen circumstances” (specifically, “unexpected” original rail foundation in the construction area). But the TRUTH – which the City P, F & Recreation will never acknowledge – is that they (as project managers) failed to task anyone with a $10,000-$15,000 job of performing seismic & soil analysis back in 2015.
      Had they done this, they would EASILY have been able to re-evaluate the entire project back in 2015. They chose not to, and blindly proceed, rather like a surgeon who declines to do an X-ray before opening up the patient!
      Check out Jasons picture at the top of the page One photo shows a 4,000lb stone (original foundation). Now, multiply that by 20. Unforeseen? Of course not. That is why Jason will NOT reply to THIS specific aspect of your excellent post. It is just too obvious. Sorry to uncover the truth here.


    • I agree agree with your point in general, but the asphalt path on the south side of Rosedale Valley road is an (old) multi-use trail and can take you safely to Park Road, near Yonge & Church/Davenport


  16. If you can “get” suburban cyclists to this main artery – the Lower Don Trail, Edwards Gardens, etc – then you’ll take quite a few cars off the road. Turn suburban sidewalks into cycle pathways, as there are hundreds of km’s of used sidewalks outside the core. Think all of Finch / Sheppard / York Mills / Lawrence / Eglinton, east of Bayview or thereabouts.

    hundreds of km’s of sidewalks, completely unused. Yet we force the rare, brave, cyclist to brave cars travelling 80km/hr on roads with speed limits of 60km/hr.

    Toronto needs to encourage cyclists (like me) who don’t bike but drive, instead, to avoid riding on busy roadways. I’ll ride again when the Lower Don Trail is working, but you need more of me. So you need to get people safely to the Trail, etc.


    • Dream on!
      I’ve had no car for 3 years … yep, after 32 years of driving, I’m in year 3 of “riding only” .. I really tried. I’ve almost been hit by a car so many times, now this blatant disregard for the cycling community – closing this trail for 2 full summers, and for what? I see zero benefit, my personal view.
      We know this trail will be closed for at least 2-3 more years for the balance of the upgrades (lower-don etc) .. and the true result > pushing more of us (who can) back to a car.
      Yeah (sigh), I’ll be going to back to driving a car (bike in the backseat) in this wonderful city. There’s no other way to stay safe.
      Such a shame. So much wonderful real-estate to make cycling work in this city, with so many benefits .. but enriching contractors & “keeping one’s job” seems to be, yet again, the priority.


      • It’s odd that they think hundreds of kilometres of sidewalks are unused, then suggest cyclists use them. I bet they get frustrated on their tricycle lots of times.

        You are 100% correct. This is a cash grab on behalf of taxpayers in Toronto. And no councillor doing anything about it. It sure is a city that encourages incompetence. It’s why our waterfront was completely bungled (many times), our new buildings in the West Donlands and The Portlands, progress at a snail’s pace, IF they actually get started on. But apparently bringing any of this up and actually passing judgement on the complete failures, is being a “bully”. I’d rather be considered a bully than be brain-dead and sensitive while politicians have their hand in my pocket.

        I’ve owned my house for 8 years, and my taxes have been raised 47%. No increase in services at all, and the only thing I actually want functional, admitted to being more closed than open over the next 10 years.

        I guess this won’t get posted, eh Jason? Nicely done. You’re part of the problem.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. The Don Valley trail is a commuter route, part of the city transportation infrastructure. So, should any future projects on the trail be managed by the Transportation department, rather than Parks and Recreation?


  18. i’ve been down there over 12x to check on the progress over the last 2 weeks over my vacation, and absolutely nothing is happening at the belleville underpass. there is no equipment, everything is graded and ready for paving and lighting to be installed, it just sits ignored, waiting for something to happen. It’s rather sad that this 80ft of unpaved path is holding up the reopening of this critical recreational and commuter corridor. W


    • They’re all at the City of Toronto Awards Ceremony patting themselves on the back for their dedicated work. These people deserve a parade, statues across the country, pensions for life, and serious business institutions studying how they simply achieve the impossible. Soon, they will be announcing the opening of this fine trail by the end of July. 2018.

      Liked by 2 people

    • we now have a city that gives us the usual apathetic response, “it’s not us, it’s them”, and “our hands are tied”, you know the usual transfer of responsibility and blame to others. No one wants to be accountable, no one wants to upset the status quo of glacial progress. and no one wants to take the bull by the horns to make calls, or send emails requesting action, and to push hard for this to be done, i guess it’s just easier to throw your hands up in the air and blame someone else for the lack of progress, that is definitely the path of least resistance… . We taxpayers are at the mercy of this process, we have no recourse, we only have this sounding board. I’ve written letters, emails and sent tweets to all that could help, and nothing… just silence

      this has been a very frustrating experience, and saddens me deeply to see this is how our tax dollars are spent…


  19. Mr Diceman,
    Let’s just leave the trail as is .. the current 80ft of gravel is totally fine, we can use the trail as it is now. In a few months when the permit for planting flowers is approved, we can close the trail for a day while the heavy equipment comes in to plant a few bushes.
    Please OPEN the trail – we can use it – it’s summer – the weather is great – people are commuting to work risking their health on the non-detour. So much risk for nothing.
    Please OPEN the trail.
    Why not? There is no work going on, no equipment, it’s safe, only a little bumpy for 80ft.
    OPEN the trail..!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very true, put up some “use at your own risk disclaimers” and get on with it already, when summer 2018 rolls around, metrolinx may have approved the work by then, and then they can close it for a day to pave it, until then, let us use the darn thing, it’s very useable from what i can clearly see , there is nothing dangerous there, actually the re-route they designed, but obviously not very well thought out, is far more perilous, its hard packed and quite safe from what i can see, it really seems quite silly we are waiting for metrolinx when it could be opened with a caveat in the meantime. Maybe thats to simple and easy for them, you know, why give the taxpayers what they want…

      Here’s a couple of pictures i took a last week, as you can clearly see, the path is hard packed, graded and clear, it’s apparently quite safe from what i can see, i’m not suggesting you use it, but i’m saying this purely for the city to seriously consider as a short term solution while we wait forever for metrolinx to take their sweet time approving something so simple.


        • Diceman, what exactly do you mean by re-mobilize? are you saying they are about to start paving?

          either way, thanks for forwarding the very sensible request. 🙂


          • Jason, how could today’s rain not be part of any weather program? The Don Valley is a glacial meltwater carving through Canada’s largest city. It’s been flooding for decades well before our time. Does anybody know this? Who dresses City staff in the morning?


          • The City, TRCA, and Waterfront Toronto are all working together to reduce flash flooding and improve water quality in the Lower Don River. This is a huge challenge caused by over a century of intense urbanization in the Don watershed. There are some very inspiring plans in action that will dramatically improve and naturlaize the Lower Don and Port Lands over the next generation. Here are some useful links:





            All new infrastructure and construction work in the ravine has to follow strict guidelines and receive approvals from TRCA that address frequent flooding challenges and environmental protection.


          • Newsflash: All of the organizations that you mentioned, forgot that the #1 solution to all of this, is the complete rebuild of the Lower Donlands. Translation shows that the 90° turn below Lakeshore simply has to go. Until then, flooding will occur. More studies till accomplish nothing. The rainwater has no respect for studies and responds only to physics and physics only.

            Inspiring? I hang with one of the “consultants” that was part of this absolutely mammoth life-changing planning and he is super long winded about very little that I have witnessed. He needs some serious counselling because his facts are simply wrong on some issues, and he gets frothy at the mouth over this stuff. Ironic since he’s completely wrong on how things work. Anyhoo…Inspiring as you say, would be “this generation” and not the next generation. I’m pushing 50 and I’ve witnessed all of this just sit there for decades. Decades. Finishing a stupid little tunnel is not inspiring. Canada’s Wonderland was built in less time than this little piddly tunnel.

            Given the reaction by the City over the stairs that were built by someone who was as pissed off as we were, it would be financially viable to complete the tunnel with the cable in place, then redo the whole frickin thing (obviously using this City hero stairs builder in order to save on wasted money and wasted time) when the lower Don is redone.

            First you study the problem. Then you fix it. See, there’s a progression of how these things move. You don’t build a tunnel in a drainage valley with a lifelong-flooding river and start complaining that it’s flooding. Cook chicken first, then eat it. Don’t complain if that is confusing.


          • *IF* there was flooding you mean Jason, as you cannot know for sure if it did, as there is no one down there to report that. There seems to be ample drainage there now. You actually need to go there to use that excuse sir.

            And reality of this delay. is that the longer the trail sits unpaved, the more the weather will undo all of the very slow work that has been done, as a result, it will further delay the opening and will cost the project even more money… this is just a ridiculous waste of taxpayers money… No one wants to take responsibility, metrolinx blames the city, and the city blames metrolinx, this is just so tragically laughable….


        • It should be opened until contractors get their ducks in a row, and closed temporarily while work is done. Landscaping won’t take that long. This is the exact thing that Mayor Tory campaigned on. To have constructions synced before starting! Guess Parks & Rec didn’t get the memo. Atrocious but that’s different levels of government, not working together.
          While I’m sure we all understand that you, J.Diceman, aren’t responsible, please raise our strong displeasure with the way this has been handled with the appropriate managers. Lets see if you all can actually get this done before August 01.

          And thanks for bearing with our displeasure! Do you use the trail yourself for commuting?


          • Road racers wouldn’t race down the Belt Line nor in the Brickworks. The vast majorities of roadies I see in the area, go down Broadview in the early morning. My point was that having non-paved routes in the area…is pretty much standard.


  20. So i finally received a response from metrolinx (only when i tweeted to John Tory) and they responded with the usually bull bureaucratic nonsense:

    “We’re doing our final approvals and should have the permits in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.”

    note “Coming weeks” lol, these guys really know how to propagate the stereotypes about city work and it’s bureaucracy…

    I highly suggest that anyone with a twitter account get on Mr. Tory and metrolinx, maybe a little bad publicity will prod them into signing a few pieces of paper, probably not, but at least they will see the taxpayers frustration first hand instead of hammering the Diceman.

    Here’s the exchange:


  21. Yesterday on CP24 Mayor Tory was saying that the City is hoping to have the Toronto Islands reopened to the public by July 31st. This is the first time I heard that time frame. Most media reports figured the parks would remain closed for the remainder of the year.

    Now it’s July 20th and from the above posts, the project has ground to a halt. I’m guessing that the likelihood of the underpass (and trail) being open in July 2017 are about the same as a new carbon Trek arriving any time soon at my door.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I received this today (20th July) from Metrolinx:

    Dear Mr. Gilks,

    Thank you for your email to John Jensen, President & CEO, Metrolinx, about the Lower Don Trail Construction. Please allow me to respond on his behalf.

    The Lower Don Trail is a City of Toronto project that has an impact on Metrolinx owned properties, which in some cases house assets (like buried utilities) owned by third parties. To ensure that there are no conflicts with either Metrolinx operations or existing agreements with those third parties, we require City contractors to submit information regarding their work, and permits are issued when all outstanding concerns have been addressed.

    Here is an update:

    • For the Pottery Road crossing of the actively-used Richmond Hill line (Bala subdivision) tracks, we need to ensure safety for trail users by modifying the existing level crossing warning system to accommodate the trail. On July 12, the City’s contractor submitted updated information on the work methodology for the track crossing warning system. This is now under review and a permit should be issued in the coming weeks.

    • For the new underpass under the inactive Don branch (Belleville subdivision) tracks, a buried third party cable line running adjacent to the tracks was uncovered during the excavation. On July 13, the City’s contractor submitted updated information on the proposed permanent relocation of this utility. This is now under review and a permit should be issued in the coming weeks.

    Thank you for your patience while this construction work continues and for taking the time to write to us.


    Mary Proc
    Vice President, Customer Service Delivery, Metrolinx

    So permits may be issued in the “coming weeks”. Only a complete moron would expect the trail to be reopened this summer. Jensen doesn’t care. Tory doesn’t care. The bureaucrats will laboriously follow procedure and nobody will expedite anything. To quote POTUS “SAD”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the email I received as well. So “submissions” were given on July 12th and 13th. This location has been empty for months, and he just submitted information on a crossing that was planned years ago, and a cable that everybody seemed to miss. But since the ground has not been open for months, it was just submitted July 13th.

      So NO, it was not Metrolinx that was the problem (although it will take weeks [read “end of August or beyond”], which is simply silly), but it was the City’s own contractor that was the problem.

      The rail crossing has absolutely nothing to do with the tunnel. The tunnel has had no action whatsoever for months. Months. Not weeks.

      This is beyond sad. 1000% incompetence from soup to nuts. They’re demonstrating they are all the latter.


        • A re-submission of previously submitted applications, to a self-admitted lazy Metrolinx, on something that was installed last August? “This is just the latest”??? So how many re-submissions are planned? So “weeks review” according to Metrolinx, so that means the trail isn’t open for the second summer in a row. Who was responsible for the missing cable, found in the centre of town in Canada’s largest city of many millions of people? The City has records of all that, not to mention, the ability to check the competency of contractors to check for these things. 1000% City problem.

          Will I get an answer to this question, or would I have to resubmit this to the overseeing committee of the committee committees for perusal for advancement to the super-committee for formal pre-review?

          Honestly, don’t you ever get sick of how absolutely bad things are? Who creates this type of work environment? Any suggestion of this type of behaviour would have anybody sacked in the real business world.


    • This late in the project they found a buried ‘third party’ cable? Has anyone ever heard of ‘call before you dig’?
      Then this story hit the news:
      The construction/design looks a little sketchy (not sure why he placed the risers so close together) but this just points out the bureaucracy that is involved. Someone needs to drain the swamp. Too many people trying to justify their jobs. Jason, is just the messenger, but he deserves to be a saint after dealing with this mob. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I really actually feel sorry for Jason. He’s sort of the Sean Spicer of the Works Department. He has to make his bosses look good even when it’s beyond ridiculous. Frankly Mexico will pay for Trump’s wall before this project gets done.


    • Hilarious, i feel sorry Jason in some ways, but he has a thick skin (as he claims) and he knows it’s not personal.But foremost, he gets paid for this, just like spicer, so my sympathy only extends so far 😉

      that letter, wow, dripping with snarkiness, complacency and apathy, i guess they forget who they serve and what their real purpose is. Sounds like it was written bi mr. Spicer actually.


      • I guess two things struck me about the letter:

        1. The contractor is submitting fresh permit applications on July 12 and 13. To put it mildly this is surprising for a project where two weeks earlier Jason was claiming the project could be done within the month.
        2. Yes it’s condescending as all heck but this is Metrolinx whose main purpose seems to be generating publicity for the Fiberals and then not delivering. Remember the train service to Hamilton unveiled with much brouhaha for the PanAm games? Two trains/day in each direction. Weekdays only!

        But seriously, waiting weeks for project approvals of this type is ridiculous. If anyone at the city cared this would be escalated. But nobody of any consequence does care.


  24. Interesting info in the letter from Mary Proc at Metrolinx: They are working on a permit that is needed so that the new Pottery Road bridge can be used. The bridge was installed in August 2016, and has been sitting there boarded up and unused since then. It is now July 2017.


    • Not only was it installed a year ago, the application to have all this approved, was submitted by the City contractor…July 13. Meanwhile, Jason was telling us it was Metrolinx’s issue and was out of the hands of the City.


  25. how about an anti-Metrolinx campaign? I am emailing my MP and MPP to express my dissatisfaction with this taxpayer-funded-scam-disguised-as-a-transit-provider, time to hit them where it hurts.
    Boycott Metrolinx! And still Tory whines for more money! This is beyond disgraceful.


      • To be clear, I am interpreting “on the take” to mean that public servants and contractors take their salary and approved payments even when deadlines are missed.

        Really, folks, if you want to organize a campaign to criticize the City, by all means it is your right do so. But could you move the discussion off this blog? I could likely be forced to turn off commenting for “inappropriate” postings. I have to defend my moderation decisions and it is getting very difficult.


        • It’s getting difficult because you are defending the indefensible. Incompetence for sure. Indifference from the “great and good” for sure. Corruption? I don’t know. It’s not as if the City of Toronto hasn’t had to deal with that issue before. Why should we lay off this blog when Tory dodges the issues and bounces them back to you? When Metrolinx sends out smarmy and patronising responses? Where else do we have to go? If we can’t ask honest questions here and get honest answers what purpose does this blog serve?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Mr Diceman,
          I agree we are, at times, getting a little off topic.
          The crux of the frustration here (in this ad-hoc forum) I believe, is the lack of updates we are getting, other than a few random replies to our comments with bits & pieces of information.
          Perhaps with more regular updates, we’d have an easier time to grin & bear it.
          In this, your latest post – now 23 days old – you mentioned assuming certain conditions .. “the trail can be reopened in July”.
          There are ten days left in July.
          Given one of your recent comments, it seems we don’t have a prayer of seeing the trail open this summer as permits are still “a few weeks away”.
          Yet, no update.
          What would you consider reasonable in providing updates?
          Additionally, how detailed should they be when deadlines are missed? ie. who set the deadline, and what specifically caused the delay, what’s being done to expedite existing roadblocks, who is involved, etc.
          This information – which should be available to the public – would help immensely with the frustrations the cycling community are feeling – especially when we see much much larger projects all around us completed in far less time.
          If this were a busy road, I’m sure it wouldn’t take any agency “a few weeks” to get a permit processed.
          Also, let’s be real .. on the scale of civil works projects, this Belleville underpass is a teeny blip on the map. Other than lack of priority and lack of importance, there has been no real reason for this project not to be finished ahead of schedule. No reason you’ve reported anyway.


        • Or perhaps when the public is fed absolute crap about future estimations about completion dates. And the answer to your question is “no”. I owe you nothing. I pay my taxes and this is my opinion and reaction to the stuff we’ve been lied to about in this blog and comments.

          So tell us how we deal with the “inappropriate” ways of the City, of which you are employee? Your decisions about protecting your sensitive skin in the wake of complete lunacy of the City. Is it difficult? Try earning taxes like the rest of us where we do a lot more than feed lies and fluff over facts like months of scheduling over something as trivial as this silly tunnel.

          Articles are posted here in the blog that do nothing but support the sheer incapacity of the City, and you are offended. Sorry, but some day the City will have to grow up and behave like adults. Actually, I’m not sorry. The liberal education system has prepared child-adults for jobs in institutions. Everybody gets a trophy, but taxpayers pay for it.

          Liked by 1 person

  26. Mr Diceman – the problem is that the social media takes the contractors/politicians away from what is actually happening. It’s all very well posting on line but the fact is no work is being done on a public throughway used by the citizens of Toronto for decades – that’s the problem! Never mind more paper shuffling (although most stuff is done digitally now) this lot need to get off their damned behinds and do something productive. How about actually going on site? You “say” it is Metrolinx but the fact is the trail flooded 13 months AFTER it was closed. You can’t tell me that rain was a surprise to contractors who have worked the site for years. This is nothing but crap, crap, crap. And as for whomever is profiting from these contracts, yeah that’s is a fair question for this board – THE TRAIL HAS BEEN CLOSED FOR OVER A YEAR!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Mr Diceman,
    Please just open the trail – it’s fine as is.
    We can use it.
    The unfinished 80 feet is no less bumpy than many sections of our trails – so let’s just open the trail, then everyone can relax.
    We don’t need gardens, benches, sod, pavement – once the trail is open – then take all the time you need – a month, a year, no one will care.
    Let common sense prevail and OPEN the trail.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Well it’s July 25 and it’s still not open I guess that means it will be closed for another year. Another job well done. We could have rebuilt half of the 401 in this time, but a bike path, no, that’s way too complicated…


    • Even funnier is that absolutely nothing has happened, except an email indicating a new permit was applied for, re-submitted, and that it will take weeks to look into.

      This isn’t glacial, this is pure stop.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I’ve been following the blog since last summer but I only noticed the comments today.

    It’s a real shame to have been without one of the premier bike thoroughfares of Toronto for essentially two entire summers in a row. Even worse that the alternative routes are unfriendly for bikes, at best, and pretty dangerous, at worst.

    As we approach the end of July I’m reminded of this:


  30. Could the city not consider a phased opening. I am looking for a safe route south of Rosedale Valley road. It is scary riding on the Bayview extension south of Risedale Valley road. The drivers are going incredibly fast and the exit onto River is terrifying. It is a public safety issue. I do realize that the photo op. Provided by a completed project has political value. However, I for one could care less about the bridge parallel to pottery road which awaits permits from Metrolinx and signal upgrade. OPen the trail now, close it temporarily for landscaping and open the bridge likely to be used by few whenever!


    • That will take months to review. Apparently it’s difficult to cross the tracks using Pottery Road. So their choice is to shove people down Bayview instead. Figure that one out.

      End of July, not a smidgen of progress. Not a single thing.


  31. What is the south end of the current trail like? When I travelled the trail last year, getting off the trail at the south end was a huge challenge. We are a week and a half before the end of August with no obvious sign of re-opening. I ease the with the glacial pace of this construction that the trail will not officially re-open before spring of 2018, if then?


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