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The 20 worst smells in Toronto

Posted by Staff / August 3, 2011

worst smells torontoLike any city, Toronto is home to a wonderful range of smells - good and bad. There's nothing like a hot summer today to elevate bad smells to a whole new intolerable level. For every pocket of the city that smells like something you'd like to bottle - the strong scent of cookies on O'Connor Drive near the Kraft cookie factory and bubble gum around the Oak Leaf Confections plant on Comstock Road come to mind - there are notorious foul smelling areas like the abattoir near King and Bathurst or the Nitta Gelatin plant near Bloor and Landsdowne.

Earlier today we polled our Twitter followers and asked them to suggest the smelliest places in Toronto. Here's a selection of the responses.

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Discussion

70 Comments

Liz / August 3, 2011 at 05:31 pm
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Don't' forget Bathurst and Front. There's a fould stench at the beginning of the Bridge.
seriously / August 3, 2011 at 05:31 pm
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Seriously though... why is there an ABATTOIR in the middle of the city, in a residential zone?
JoeParez / August 3, 2011 at 05:31 pm
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UHH -- The Stockyards? Keele/Weston & St. Clair; forever smelling of discarded carcasses!
Chester Pape / August 3, 2011 at 05:33 pm
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The immediate vicinity of any of the Lush stores.
Lindsay replying to a comment from seriously / August 3, 2011 at 05:39 pm
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I HATE that there's an abattoir in the Bathurst & Niagara area. I walk by there everyday, and I never know whether to cry or vomit.
Stella replying to a comment from JoeParez / August 3, 2011 at 05:41 pm
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@JoePerez, get out much? The Stockyards have been gone for YEARS!!! It's a shopping mall now
Stella replying to a comment from JoeParez / August 3, 2011 at 05:42 pm
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and I totally agree with ChesterPape ... there outta be smell bylaws like we have noise bylaws, and LUSH should be shut down!!!
rizzy / August 3, 2011 at 05:44 pm
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I can't read twit posts. I mean twitter posts, they're lazy and incomprehensible.
Becky / August 3, 2011 at 05:53 pm
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For all the down sides to being anosmic, it's nice to know there are up sides, too! :D
Kevin replying to a comment from seriously / August 3, 2011 at 05:54 pm
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@ Seriously:

The abbatoir was there first, in what was an industrial zone.

It didn't move into a residential area; the residences moved into the stockyard area.

Taliba / August 3, 2011 at 05:57 pm
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That's three votes for Lush. I find myself wishing I had a gas mask on my way to the subway in the Eaton Centre.
Ian M replying to a comment from seriously / August 3, 2011 at 05:57 pm
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The abattoir was there before that area of Toronto was residential. Their zoning is therefore grandfathered. And for everyone else who thinks the smell is from the slaughtered hogs, it isn't. It's the manure from the living ones who are awaiting their fate.
Ryan L. replying to a comment from Taliba / August 3, 2011 at 06:29 pm
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Fourthed. At least with sewage and slaughterhouses the queeziness goes away once the smell goes away. Be even a little sensitive to strong perfumy smells and a lush can ruin your afternoon with a powerful headache
tdh / August 3, 2011 at 06:51 pm
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Mcdonalds vent coming out of union station on bay street.
JEB / August 3, 2011 at 06:53 pm
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You can smell the Eaton Centre LUSH before you leave Dundas West station (and if the TTC's rank odour can't even disguise it, you know it's bad)!

Otherwise, just about every street corner with a sewer grate smells horribly in the summer.
anon replying to a comment from seriously / August 3, 2011 at 06:53 pm
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as a reminder of how awful the meat industry and agroindustry in general is, of course!
daniel / August 3, 2011 at 06:54 pm
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The Hollister store in Eaton Centre smells pretty bad.
nick d / August 3, 2011 at 06:58 pm
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every tuesday morning the bike ride to work through the side streets in the Annex reeks of municipal garbage pick-up leakage that flows out of the bins when they're dumped into the back of the trucks.

surely there must be some kind of funnel that can be mounted to prevent this overflow... it's really quite nasty!
Trev / August 3, 2011 at 06:59 pm
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I do believe the abattoir on Niagara was there long before any of the condos. Perhaps the condo dwellers should do a little more fact checking on the 'hood before signing on the dotted line from plans in some condo office ...
W. K. Lis / August 3, 2011 at 07:21 pm
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Garbage day. Usually, just after the garbage truck has picked up their load, unless the raccoons get them them first; spillage, leakage, and leftover kitchen waste on a hot summer day.
cafe / August 3, 2011 at 07:49 pm
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How could everyone miss the obvious? The stench from ANY starbucks from that sorry chemical sludge they call coffee
Humber / August 3, 2011 at 07:59 pm
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Only one area has the best and worst.

Humber treatment plant is the worst smell anywhere while mr Christies down the street is a delight. The two together are not so good.

Always wondered what it's like living in those condos with that smell.
Ratpick replying to a comment from Liz / August 3, 2011 at 08:01 pm
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Yep, the Front/Bathurst poop smell is something else. Can't believe people want to live there. Same thing with anything near Ashbridges on a bad day.
The Beaver / August 3, 2011 at 08:10 pm
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When I was younger I worked at the Sobeys across from the Humber Treatment Plant. It was the worst in the summer time heat, made the whole area smell rancid. When I go visit my parents, it's like a pungent reminder that I've entered Etobicoke.
Bruce replying to a comment from seriously / August 3, 2011 at 08:21 pm
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umm, guess which one was there first...
jennifer / August 3, 2011 at 08:39 pm
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Lush IS pretty rank. Another good one is Turtle Island Recycling down on Cherry Street. It smelled pretty bad there the other day.
Ðaniel Klimitz / August 3, 2011 at 09:25 pm
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Hands down the bathrooms at STEVES @ bathurst and wilson. What the F is that?
Janine / August 3, 2011 at 09:28 pm
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The East side of Roy Thompson Hall. Reeks like sewer. Seriously. EVERY TIME.
MrsPotato / August 3, 2011 at 09:50 pm
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Bathurst/Front.
Bathurst/King --- > Liberty Village.

Smells like ass.

oh, and +1 LUSH
Emma replying to a comment from Ðaniel Klimitz / August 3, 2011 at 10:20 pm
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It's the soap in ketchup containers! WORST. Totally agree.
SNIFFO replying to a comment from tdh / August 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm
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"Mcdonalds vent coming out of union station on bay street."
ha ha ha YES
I love how idiots stand and sit out there in the FULL GODDAMN MACDONALD'S VENT FLOW smoking their butts. They don't even realize they stink heading back to their cubicles.

1 ABBATOIR
2 ASHBRIDGE'S BAY
3 MACDONALD'S UNION VENT
4 TUESDAY AFTERNOON IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD (garbage day)
5 HOBO URINE SOAKED WALLS OF BUILDINGS and/or URINE SOAKED HOBOS ON THE TTC
SSC replying to a comment from Liz / August 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm
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Bathurst and Front - true! What IS that stench?
the lemur replying to a comment from nick d / August 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm
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Pretty much every neighbourhood smells bad on garbage day, but they really should have street cleaners come in after the garbage trucks.

Special mention: the laneway west of Spadina between D'Arcy and Dundas. Potholes full of garbage juice!
Not Jared / August 3, 2011 at 11:10 pm
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The abbatoir is so so foul...also what's with that distinctive and awful Subway smell (I mean Subway sandwiches, though *the* subway is pretty rank too, obviously).

Though I guess that is not a Toronto-specific phenomenon, ie. in Paris: "gross it smells like Subway," then turn the corner et voila.

We should talk good smells--how about the chocolate factory at Dundas and Sorauren-ish.

You'd think a sugar factory would smell good.

Kikkoman / August 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm
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Soy sauce factory at Queen & Leslie. Though I always feel torn whether it is a bad or good smell.
belvedere replying to a comment from Chester Pape / August 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm
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god how true. worse than diesel fumes.
beledere replying to a comment from SNIFFO / August 3, 2011 at 11:27 pm
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yeah. like walking by the TO ref library and smelling stale piss. just not on.
jibbly / August 3, 2011 at 11:49 pm
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What the heck is wrong with BlogTO's peanut gallery today? Nigh on 40 comments about stenches in the city and not one petulant remark about Rob Ford or City Hall?

Come on! You can do better than this.
steve replying to a comment from jibbly / August 4, 2011 at 12:53 am
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Well, I'd prefer City Hall go after all the smells of the city rather than wasting resources on a never-ending battle against graffiti. I suppose they're insulated from the smells in their cars.
JoeParez replying to a comment from Stella / August 4, 2011 at 07:34 am
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There are still butchers/slaughter houses in the area; but every time I pass Keele/St. Clair -- it smells. Maybe it's in the ground forever, maybe the stench is in my sub-conscious.. but it smells! :-)
EtobicokeDad / August 4, 2011 at 08:30 am
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For some reason the Islington subway station constantly smells like hobo vomit...although I'll take that over LUSH.
Hog Heaven / August 4, 2011 at 08:38 am
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The Stockyards at Keele and St. Clair Avenue West most certainly are not gone. There is still a stretch of them on Glen Scarlett Road. When I worked in that area I used to cut through a recreation trail just north of them to get to the streetcar. The smell isn't just the animal feces and flesh, it's also the ammonia used to clean the killing floors. In the winter the vented ammonia gas turns back into a liquid when it hits the cold air and it rains down on you.

I'd also like to give a stinky shout out to Kipling Avenue and Horner Avenue and our good friends at National Silicates.
Hog Heaven / August 4, 2011 at 08:40 am
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And to the comments about City Hall going after smells -- they don't care. I'm familiar with both the stockyards and National Silicates because I used to work in municipal offices located right next door to them. And let's not forget about all of the City-operated culprits -- sewage plants, garbage dumps, etc.
Chels replying to a comment from anon / August 4, 2011 at 09:11 am
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Sorry, how is this supposed to remind people "how awful the meat industry and agroindustry in general is"? Did I miss something? Did the evil slaughterhouse and factory farmers plot to make Toronto residents feel ill every time they bike or stroll past King and Bathurst?

I'm with Trev: "Perhaps the condo dwellers should do a little more fact checking on the 'hood before signing on the dotted line from plans in some condo office ..."

Stop blaming the agri industry.
natalie / August 4, 2011 at 09:31 am
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Sometimes on hot summer days, when E Coli is heavy in the water, Sunnyside Beach smells pretty bad. At least when I'm out there during dragon boat practice.
Ryan L. / August 4, 2011 at 09:40 am
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At Humber's North campus every once in a while the wind would come from a certain direction and you'd smell this overpowering smell that I can only describe as burnt cake.

I feel like it would come from the north, but have never been able to pinpoint it. Some industrial bakery I'm guessing.
STOCKYARDS replying to a comment from Stella / August 4, 2011 at 10:02 am
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As some one who lives in the area, it definitely still does rank to high heaven of dead animals. Just the other day I saw a truck full of cow hides, still bloody, covered in birds and flies. Was amazing. And yes, it smelt.
Ian replying to a comment from Ryan L. / August 4, 2011 at 10:25 am
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I go to Humber North campus. Yes, there's a bakery of some sort up in the industrial lands just north of Finch. I'm not sure if I'd explicitly describe it as a bad smell; it might not be the best thing in the world but it's certainly tolerable!
Matt replying to a comment from Chels / August 4, 2011 at 10:43 am
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Agreed. What a snooty comment. Many different industries make Toronto their home, and some of those uses smell bad. They were also there first, so don't bother moving in and then complaining.

Anon's comment reeks of someone who's seen Food Inc. and now fancies themselves an expert on all things agricultural/food-related.
The Real Johnson / August 4, 2011 at 10:44 am
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The Jays sure stunk it up last night with that 9-1 loss to the Rays, am I right? Heyo!
Steve / August 4, 2011 at 10:48 am
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The tunnel at Eglinton Station, west side. As soon as you pass into that corridor, there's a brief smell that can best be described as "poopy", but thankfully it lasts for only a few metres. It's been there for months.
Margot / August 4, 2011 at 11:23 am
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Right in front of the Sobey's on Roncesvalles - always smells like throw up as you pass in front of it! Even in -30!!!
the lemur replying to a comment from Not Jared / August 4, 2011 at 11:25 am
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It has something to do with their bread, which is made from frozen dough and may have something added to it (fragrance/flavouring) to give that fakey 'freshly baked' smell that permeates the whole store and clings to you if you so much as set foot in the place.

Pleasant smells around Toronto: the Wing's plant at Bathurst and Dupont when they're making fortune cookies and the 'roasted coffee cloud' that hangs over Kensington sometimes.
Clay Jones replying to a comment from nick d / August 4, 2011 at 11:41 am
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YES! Barf, it's not just the annex either. From (at least) Bathurst and Queen to Bloor and Spadina it's just one disgusting puke of a bike ride on Tuesday mornings.
tdh replying to a comment from Margot / August 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm
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Yes! Outside the Roncesvalles Sobeys. It's such a strange smell like burnt rubber and rotten chicken baked to a golden brown. I used to think it was the bank next door.
Hog Heaven / August 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm
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Outside of the Joe Fresh at St. Clair Avenue West and Bathurst Street usually smells like a dirty egg fart. I'll assume that it's sewer gas.
eye roll replying to a comment from rizzy / August 4, 2011 at 01:07 pm
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In other words: "I am old! get off my lawn!"
TraderZed / August 4, 2011 at 01:28 pm
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Is someone really complaining about the smell of the Cadbury Factory on Gladstone? Are you f'n kidding me?

Your heart is black.
pow / August 4, 2011 at 02:01 pm
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Church/Wellesley = Stale ejaculate.
JoeParez / August 5, 2011 at 07:51 am
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Okay, last night I was reminded of one.
Driving up Parkside, between High Park Blvd. and Bloor; you always get this rotting; mossy, shit smell. I have no idea what it is, but when it's damp or raining, it's even worse!
the lemur replying to a comment from JoeParez / August 5, 2011 at 08:41 am
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That's probably the pond at the south end of the park. The water has a ton of goose crap in it.
brown town / August 5, 2011 at 09:07 am
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the brown people that never shower tops all the smells.
moe / August 5, 2011 at 09:12 am
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Perhaps no one is around the area that often, but the rancid around Yorkville and Cumberland both surprised and disgusted me.
indianguy / August 5, 2011 at 09:21 am
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Yes? Hi! The worst smell was the time we made the accident and left the fish in the corolla for the two weeks in July.

Dave replying to a comment from jibbly / August 5, 2011 at 09:47 am
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Exactly; no one's said it yet, so I will. There's one heck of a foul odour emanating from City Hall these days.
raccon removal / August 5, 2011 at 11:33 am
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If u ever walk down the danforth betweem vic park and main st, the sewage smell is pretty thick. Way overdue for a good sewage cleaning. Not to mention all the dirty smelly scumbags in that area.
Harley / August 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm
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I have very little sympathy for the people that moved next to the butcher. That business has been there long before any of us were. You should've researched the area before you moved in. You should've researched your real estate agent as well, since the should've told you about it.

But as far as bad smells, Toronto smells like a flower shop compared to Terre Haute, Indiana.
Treassa Mariela / August 7, 2011 at 06:15 pm
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That abattoir has been there nearly a century before your mom and daddy put a down payment on your condo. Suck it up, if you wanna keep eating suckling piggies,bbq pork and bacon Toronto's restaurants forever and ever!
megr / August 8, 2011 at 09:22 am
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CHINATOWN
Omurchaidh / August 8, 2012 at 11:11 pm
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The surprising thing is that the Unilever soap factory at the bottom of the Don Valley smelled worse than any meat processing facility's emanations. Found myself stopped at the lights there while on a bike ride a few years ago and was genuinely holding back the retches.
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