ttc sinkhole toronto

Toronto sinkhole finally coughs up sunken TTC vehicle

City of Toronto crews have finally managed to rescue the TTC inspector's vehicle that fell victim to a massive sinkhole on Commissioners Street early Tuesday morning — but experts say that the situation is far from isolated.

The water-logged TTC sedan emerged from the hole in Toronto's Port Lands district late Tuesday afternoon around 4 p.m. after spending nearly 12 hours underwater.

A crane was used to extract the vehicle, according to TTC spokesperson Stuart Green, but not without some challenges related to the source of the hole itself: Flooding caused by the explosion of a roughly 100-year-old water main running beneath the road.

The vehicle's driver was able to escape without injury long before it was fully submerged. The car is now being assessed to determine its condition, but, as Green jokes, "we have it sitting in rice as we speak."

The TTC vehicle from earlier has been rescued from r/toronto

Like the series of severe thunderstorms that flooded Toronto's downtown core this summer, the high-profile sinkhole incident has many concerned about our very old and ever-aging underground infrastructure.

At least seven similar sinkholes have been reported this year, according to the Toronto Star, which notes that the average Toronto water main is 59 years old. 

Thirteen per cent of the city's water pipes are between 80 and 100 years old and 11 per cent have hit the century mark. Roughly 1,400 of these water mains break every year on account of corrosion and thinner-built walls.

In the Port Lands, where almost everything is built on top of marshland, flooding (both natural and of the broken pipe variety) is of particular concern thanks to the channelization of the Don River, which creates an increased flood risk.

Fortunately, Waterfront Toronto is working with the city and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to address that type of flooding with 'The Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project.'

The goal is to transform the mouth of the Don River into a "healthier, more naturalized river outlet, while simultaneously providing critical flood protection to 240 ha of Toronto's eastern waterfront" by 2024.

Waterfront Toronto says that, while the Port Lands Flood Protection project won't address aging underground infrastructure like this particular pipe, it will build new underground infrastructure within the project area.

These new pipes for stormwater and wastewater management, among other things, will support future development in the area (the kind we'll eventually see on Toronto's brand new Villiers Island.)

Lead photo by

Brad Ross


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Plans unveiled for new Corktown Station transit hub in Toronto

This Toronto fried chicken spot just took a mental health day

Toronto health official says we're living through one of the worst parts of the pandemic

A baby raccoon is trapped on a Toronto condo balcony 20 storeys up

Toronto couple is live-streaming the family of foxes living in their backyard

Pop-up vaccine clinics open in Toronto and here's what you need to know

People are surprised how busy Toronto parks have been during the stay-at-home order

People are trying to name their Toronto neighbourhood that isn't called anything