Raymore Park (feat Hurricane Hazel)

Original footbridge starting network of trails in 1995
Boulder relocated from 'Hazel's aftermath
Newspaper captions pasted on fallen cement block
Raymore Drive and the surrounding parkland of the Humber River valley was one of the areas of Toronto hit the hardest in the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel, over sixty years ago.  The Hurricane started in the afternoon of October 5, 1954 just off the island of Grenada.  Its winds were already peaking over 160 km per hour shifting east through the Caribbean islands up through the Carolinas and heading towards the mid Altantic states and finally into Canada.

The hurricane left a path of destruction killing over a thousand people in Haiti, and destroying homes and properties and six more lives in the Bahamas.  For nine straight days the storm traveled at an alarming forward speed of over 45 km per hour, the winds picking up to 250 destroying the entire town of Garden City, South Carolina. 

Cement dropped from strong winds

Twelve hours after leaving South Carolina it forged ahead with extreme speed passing Washington D.C. , into Pennsylvania and New York and up into Southern Ontario with a fury on October 15, 1954, sending a wall of water 7 metres high down the Humber River Valley.

The damage reached over 1.5 billion with over 100 lost lives in Ontario, including firemen and other rescue workers (there's a plaque in Home Smith Park commemorating them)  In the aftermath, Toronto was left with massive flooding which left over 1,800 families homeless and 4,000 and over 80 people lost their lives in Ontario .  One of the streets which had been completely washed away was Raymore Drive  

'my heart' web :)
Today there is scattered evidence of the force of winds and power of the Hurricane Hazel in Toronto.  Raymore Park for one has a few large pieces of cement that was picked up and transported by the gale.  It baffles the mind to imagine a wind being that powerful.  In all there was over 300 million tons of water that had fallen during Hurricane Hazel leaving it one of the worst Hurricanes in history.

Raymore Park was the site of another distillery and a number of mills in Toronto which used the Humber river as a viable natural resource.  In the 1850's the land was owned by the Scarlett family up until '57 when a local businessman proposed to build a canal four metres deep and fourty wide, with sixty four double locks to link Lake Onatrio and Georgian Bay through Lake Simcoe.  Cutting through Raymore Park, the canal route followed the Humber River Valley.  It was never completed even though it cost over $35million.

On a positive note, the province of Ontario stepped in to build a new footbridge in 1995 completing the Humber Trail and greenway system which we all enjoy today.  The footbridge called, The Raymore Bridge was the start of Toronto's goal for a network of regional trails in Toronto and throughout Ontario and beyond.