At the top end of old Pottery Road
Near Bayview and Moore
Added 2011-07-28, Revised 2011-11-13
This is the story of the top end of old Pottery Road. It begins in July 2011, when I first noticed something funny going on. As the mystery evolved, I've added to the story...
The Bayview Extension was built in 1959, and extended Bayview Avenue south from Moore Avenue, around a tight corner, and down into the Don Valley. At the north end, it bisected Pottery Road, and only the short portion beside the Loblaws remains. The rest of Pottery Road, as far as the Don river, was abandoned.
At the top end of old Pottery Road, a long stretch runs parallel to the Bayview Extension, but slightly elevated. There's a lovely park here, and you can still see the abandoned roadway as it succumbs slowly to nature. That's the Loblaws in the distance, looking north.
This is curious. All the bush and shrubbage beside the sidewalk along the Bayview Extension has been cleared away here. Come to think of it, the view up old Pottery Road didn't used to have the Loblaws in it.
And oh, my, what's this? In the foreground of the picture, the "V" tree has been removed. This tree, which had twin trunks, was one of the targets in an informal frisbee golf course that I played with some friends in this park. So I knew this tree, and there was nothing wrong with it that might have required its removal.
This turned out to be only the beginning of the story.
A few weeks later, on Labour Day, out for a quiet holiday hike in search of some solitude, I discover more changes.
It almost seems like they're going to re-open old Pottery Road! They've excavated and graded the side of the hill to bring it level with the Bayview Extension. This would also explain why that V-tree had to go.
The excavated soil is piled in the park. It's actually "clean fill" and likely came from an old dump site right here in the ravine of the former Cudmore Creek. In any case, the piles of fill contained recognizable pieces of junk, whatever sturdy items hadn't fully decayed since being dug up from the dump site fifty years ago and used in the construction of the Bayview Extension. I scored a number of cute, intact, small glass bottles.
Move forward to early October, election day, and after voting in Bennington Heights School, I take the back stairs down to old Pottery Road and find huge fences.
The way the fences are set up, it's almost like a maze. And why the stop sign?
The fences extend all the way up old Pottery Road, and the mystery deepens.
Move forward to early November, and major developments are proceeding.
As reported in the South Bayview Bulldog, a fine local blog, New lights will calm traffic -- temporarily. The new traffic signals and road signage have been installed for "unspecified construction."
Maybe some of these workers will know what's going on.
There are two cuts into the hill, clearly intended for some type of vehicular traffic. In one of them, you can see the original surface of old Pottery Road, like strata.
Several feet of top soil on top of the original asphalt surface, laid on gravel, on top of a foot or so of clean fill, on top of the original hillside. Fascinating.
I spoke to one of the workers here, who were all from Hydro One. They're replacing the old hydro towers that run beside the CP mainline just south of here. It is an infrastructure project that is scheduled to last three years, so take the adjective "temporary" for those traffic lights with a grain of salt.
Just south of the CP tracks, going east from the Bayview Extension across from Nesbitt Drive, the original access road to the railway property has been substantially upgraded. IMPORTANT NOTE: trespassing on railway property is illegal, but really easy.
Here's the first of the hydro towers east of the Bayview Extension. The roadway has been built up with tons and tons of gravel, because of the heavy equipment that will be used to dismantle the tower. The first tower is rusty and old, but the second one, behind it, has already been replaced.
The following view is from just to the east of the new tower, looking south from the CP line at the base of the Lake Iroquois bluff. In the distance are the apartments at Broadview Avenue where it meets the south end of Pottery Road. In the foreground, the abandoned Don Branch rail line, which is another story for some other day. Below the rail line is the access road in Sun Valley, also refurbished, that allowed the heavy equipment to get to the hydro tower.
The full explanation of the mystery of the re-opening of Pottery Road finally surfaced a few days later. While searching the web for background on the Bayview Extension, I discovered Hydro One activity at top end of Bayview Extension by my city councillor, John Parker. An excerpt from the Hydro One announcement says:
Hydro One has begun construction near Bennington Heights Elementary School to upgrade the electrical facilities that serve Toronto Hydro customers in your area. We want to ensure that students and parents know what to expect over the next few weeks, and for the duration of our Midtown Infrastructure Renewal Project (see PDF map).
Our work will involve removing and replacing the steel transmission towers located along the railway tracks, and installing new equipment. To safely access the towers and the junction, Hydro One is installing a temporary access road along the Old Pottery Road behind Bennington Heights School so that construction vehicles do not have to travel through residential areas. This area will also be used to store materials and assemble the new towers.
The fencing along old Pottery Road is to protect students from the Governor's Bridge area, who come to school via the back stairway, from the dangers of construction machinery.