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What's that awful smell, Toronto?

Posted by Derek Flack / May 11, 2011

Toronto Smell MayToronto stinks. Literally. Throughout the morning we've been getting reports of a foul odour wafting across the GTA from as far east as Ajax and as far west as Oakville. Although we haven't confirmed the extent of this nefarious aroma's reach, it's definitely not confined to one area. So what in the world is causing it?

Explanations have ranged from slaughterhouses and fertilizer to Charlie Sheen and the gravy train's evil twin (no, I don't care to expand on that). Given that Toronto water had no insight to offer, I suspect that the most likely candidate of the many theories is the one offered by Laurence Lui (see immediately below), who earlier today noted that winds coming from the north east probably mean that some serious manure is being laid out to field in farm country.

Nevertheless, why not indulge in some potty talk? It may not be sophisticated, but that's never stopped us before...

@blogTO Winds have been coming from the ENE for past 24 hours.. probably manure being spread in farms in NEthree hours ago via web

@blogTO Maybe it's the smell of the Jersey Shore moving northward. #whatsthatsmellless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

@blogTO #whatsthatsmell A Lynch-ian bubbling up of underlying societal evil. Something momentous is about to happen.less than a minute ago via web

@blogTO It's the Leafs training camp starting early. Har har. #whatsthatsmellless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Rob fords house has plumbing issue RT @blogTO: So that shitty smell in, but let's get creative with explaination Ideas? #whatsthatsmellless than a minute ago via Echofon

@blogto Rob Ford discovers that train is not carrying what he originally referred to as "gravy"? #whatsthatsmellless than a minute ago via HootSuite

@blogTO #whatsthatsmell michael ignatief cleaning out his campaign officeless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

@blogTO I would still take the #smell of farm fresh manure over stale #Toronto subway urine any dayless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Rob Ford's Gravy Train derails, floods Toronto in stink. Eastern Township folks seen gathering curds and potatoes 4 poutine #WhatsThatSmellless than a minute ago via web

@blogTO viral/nasal/aroma marketing for Lady GaGa Farmville tie in promotion? #whatsthatsmellless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPad

@blogTO I don't want to talk about it, but I do sincerely apologize.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

@blogto Rob Ford discovers that train is not carrying what he originally referred to as "gravy"? #whatsthatsmellless than a minute ago via HootSuite



James Jackson / May 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm
It's actually a small explosion that occurred at the Atlantic Recycling & packaging plant on Midland and Ellesmere. It was a chemical reaction between the sulfur dioxide with an unknown element that is causing the foul smell. It's so strong that the company had to evacuate all it's employees but they have resumed work as of 11 AM this morning.
Marlon / May 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm
I left my house this morning and thought my street stunk. I walked to work and began to worry it was me repeatedly smelling my shirt and checking my shoes. I got to work and read this, relieved but confused
Dave / May 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm
Seems to be eminating from the Mayor's office, everything stinks to high heaven there.
Dave replying to a comment from Marlon / May 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm
LOL, same here! I live in the Yonge and Eg. area, i thought, there's no way I smell that much even if I have dog shit on my shoes, yet I couldn't help but worry lol.
Brandon / May 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm
Well I'm glad it wasn't just me who smelled that this morning. It smelled like I stepped in dog shit and then somehow smeared some right under my nose!
JoeParez replying to a comment from James Jackson / May 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Get your logical explanations out of here, BlogTO doesn't tolerate that! Over blowing or exaggerating a story is the norm here; story first -- facts second.

The t-shirts will be printed soon.
Ryan L. / May 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Smells like someone using liquid manure in the 905.
Ryan L. / May 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm
"It's actually a small explosion that occurred at the Atlantic Recycling & packaging plant on Midland and Ellesmere."

I can find no reference to that anywhere. Link?
Refried Beans / May 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm
I had refried beans & eggs for breakfast, let's say it is not settling well and have been terribly gassy. Sorry about that GTA.
Ryan L. / May 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm
From a partisan standpoint, I can understand the connection with Rob Ford. He's obese and kind of gross and I can't imagine a train of gravy smelling all that pleasant. But I think throwing Layton or Ignatieff in there is a bit of a stretch.

If you're going to make fun of someone, at least try to make it make some ounce of sense.
mike in parkdale / May 11, 2011 at 01:08 pm
yep, I noticed the smell in parkdale (yeah yeah, I know the easy jokes too)

I figured that the community garden in the park up the road just got a fresh fertilizer shipment - because it did have a certain trace of pig manure
qwerty / May 11, 2011 at 01:18 pm
I don't smell anything in Midtown.
StuffWhitePeopleLike / May 11, 2011 at 01:21 pm
Here come the recycled lame ass unimaginative jokes. No wonder the rest of the country hates us.
Jim / May 11, 2011 at 01:31 pm
I smelled this a few days ago in the Beaches (Queen & Coxwell). I just attributed it to the sewer repairs being done in several places in the area. Are they doing similar repairs around the city?
rek / May 11, 2011 at 01:33 pm
I read it was pear tree pollen.
mattthieu / May 11, 2011 at 01:42 pm
Some people here have their nose too close from their mouth.
iSkyscraper / May 11, 2011 at 02:16 pm
New York has this sort of incident from time to time, but we are blessed with a "maple syrup smell" rather than poo. (Comes from a flavoring plant in NJ.)
Kieren / May 11, 2011 at 02:18 pm
It was a black Lexus crashing into a municipal waste disposal.
JoeParez replying to a comment from Frank / May 11, 2011 at 02:42 pm
If it was, in fact, the farmers spreading manure then again, it's a logical explanation to odor. Which is not tolerated on BlogTO.
the lemur replying to a comment from JoeParez / May 11, 2011 at 03:05 pm
Manure stinks, but the smell doesn't travel that far. Might be something to do with a change in the water level in the sewers now that the temperatures have started to rise.
Ryan L. / May 11, 2011 at 03:23 pm
“When the temperatures are warming up and the ground is getting softer and leaves are decomposing, it’s not uncommon to experience an organic-type smell, which seems to be consistent with the types of odours people are experiencing,”
Kevo / May 11, 2011 at 03:36 pm
Is a manure smell that different that it's an "unknown" smell? I grew up in Burlington and there'd be several days in a row during the spring where the smell of manure would be very strong and then usually dissipate by night. Even when the wind wasn't coming from the West or North where the closest farms are, we'd get it from the south side of the lake from rural Hamilton/St. Catherine's.
Darnell replying to a comment from JoeParez / May 11, 2011 at 04:28 pm
Yeeeah, that's not a logical explanation, manure doesn't carry, in that strong of a form especially, for miles and miles. Ever been out in the country? there are pockets of manure smell, the entire country doesn't stink. Most likely it was a matter of city gardening, people putting out manure last night or early this morning, when the sun heated it up for the first time, all spread out, it stunk, The smell has now dissipated.
1 / May 11, 2011 at 05:12 pm
if you have inhaled this funky odour, i have bad news for you. i highly suggest you visit your nearest doctor's office very soon.
Mike / May 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm
I bet its the cops playing in their pen. Cops always stir up the manure and the smell spreads. Thank the Ford brothers for getting them all excited with a giant raise. Let the kids of the city suffer as the cutbacks hit the recreation dept. What a world!
cam / May 12, 2011 at 12:16 am
guys, it has smelled like poop all over montreal for 2 days, too. why? is it all of eastern canada?
Andrew / May 12, 2011 at 01:09 am
I had thought it was the slaughterhouse near King and Bathurst. I guess I was wrong.
Zukeeper416 / May 12, 2011 at 07:49 am
Am I the only one in the city who thought it was a tire fire? Smelled like tar to me, ditto my Mimico neighbors...
V / May 12, 2011 at 04:12 pm
Been smelling the stench since the warmer temps started, and its highest peak is just after the unloading of the pig trailers - its the slaughterhouse on Bathurst & Tecumseth:

The route of the truck basically leaves that smell for a couple of hours (access via lakeshore, bathurst, king, strachan, etc), the wind blows it a couple of blocks, building HVAC's suck it up and recycle it for a couple more hours. The consequences of methane.
Daniel / September 12, 2011 at 02:31 am
Um not alot of people know this but right downtown around King and Bathurst is the largest pig slaughterhouse in Ontario the odor wafts from it's location by the railroad track up to the Royal York Hotel, south to Harbourfront and as far North as Bloor sometimes. The smell you're probably enountering is pig shit. Which is abrapeu considering how many Torontonians are snobbish pigs.
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