Some pictures I took along the Humber River through and near Weston, the morning after Hurricane Hazel came through Toronto in 1954. Click on any of them to see a bigger version. We knew nothing of the flood until a friend who had intended to visit from Etobicoke called to say he could not come because there were no bridges across the river. Around 10 am, we went to have a look. By that time, the river level was far below its crest, but it was still high enough to be pretty dramatic.
Here is a map showing where the pictures were taken. And here is a plot of the fall and rise of atmospheric pressure between 5pm and 12:30 am, showing the passage of the eye over Weston at about 11:00 pm. When it passed over, the sky was dark and clear, with many stars.
|1. Albion Road used to cross the Humber over this metal girder bridge. After the hurricane, it was replaced with a concrete bridge a hundred metres or so further south, where Albion Road now crosses the Humber. A little south of this, there was a new bridge that had just opened to carry Highway 401 across the Humber. It, or its approaches, were washed away, and the bridge was rebuilt a bit higher over the water before the 401 was truly opened across the river.||2. You can tell how much the river level had gone down by the time we saw it. A car was washed off the road here, and you can see how the river flow over the road has eroded the embankment. I don't remember which road this is, but it is either Albion Road (in which case the girder bridge was an already obsolete bridge for Albion Road--this seems most likely) or near Albion Road.|
|3. This house, according to my memory, was floating when we saw it. But the pictures seem to show that it is grounded. Either way, it had floated from further upstream. This is a couple of kilometers north of where the street of houses was washed away with a large loss of life.||4. Another view of the house that may or may not have been floating. The picture was taken from well below the high-water mark, as can be seen from the nearer debris, parts of a house that had floated downstream.|
|5. Another view of the debris of broken houses, showing the power of the river.||6. This picture is taken looking north from a high railway bridge that passed at the time over the second hole of Weston Golf Club. The new Highway 401 is visible in the distance. Its bridge had just been opened, but was washed out.|
7. Lawrence Avenue crossing the Humber, connecting Weston Road and Scarlett Road. The water level had been completely over the bridge.
Looking to the left and backward from this viewpoint is where the river had gone straight over a bluff and taken out a complete street of houses, killing something like 140 people. By the time this picture was taken, the main river was in its course, but was flowing very fast, so that it was banked up against the curve of the bluff, and there was a standing wave head-high above the level of the bank on this side of the river.
|8. St. Phillips Road connects Weston Road to Scarlett Road north of Lawrence. On the other side of the river is the entrance to Weston Golf Club. The point from which this picture was taken was about 10 ft below the high water mark of the flood, so this bridge had been completely underwater by at least 10 ft.|