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article imageHalf of buildings on Toronto Island threatened by rising waters

By Karen Graham     May 19, 2017 in Environment
After Toronto Mayor John Tory took a tour of the flood-ravaged Toronto Island Friday morning, he said it would be late in the summer before water levels subsided enough to allow visitors back into the popular recreation destination.
According to Mayor Tory, approximately 500,000 liters (132,086 gallons) of water per hour are being pumped off the islands using industrial-sized pumps and thousands of sandbags have been set up along the shorelines, reports CTV News.
Perhaps more worrisome is the threat of damage to structures on the islands from the rising waters of Lake Ontario. Over 261 buildings or about 52 percent of the structures on the islands are threatened by the flood waters, while 40 percent of the Toronto Island Park is already underwater.
Map of the Toronto Islands with labels added by Padraic.
Map of the Toronto Islands with labels added by Padraic.
Open Street Map
Mayor Tory told reporters, “The residents are safe and we want to keep it that way. We have plans to make sure they stay safe.” City officials have canceled permits for all events on the islands until June 30, and ferry service has been restricted to island residents and staff until the same date.
We can't have people even where it appears to be dry walking around because there are buildings that are at risk," Tory told a news conference while touring the island. "We just don't need them to be in a place that's potentially unsafe or to be possibly causing further risk to those buildings."
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Nina Porciuncula
Lake Ontario water levels rise to record heights
Lake Ontario and its watershed areas, including the St. Lawrence River on the U.S. side of the lake, were inundated by the recent rains and officials say the water levels are expected to continue to rise, even without any additional wet weather, over the next few weeks.
According to the Water Town Daily News, Lake Ontario's water level was measured at 248.85 feet on Tuesday, which is above the 1952 record of 248.75 feet. The new record was first broken over the weekend.
Flooding on U.S. side of Lake Ontario was also bad.
Flooding on U.S. side of Lake Ontario was also bad.
New York State
It goes without saying that it will be well into summer before Lake Ontario's waters go down again. But the heavy rains over the past six weeks or so have affected residents on both sides of the border who make their homes along the lake. With the number of homes and buildings that have been impacted by the high water, and will continue to be threatened for weeks to come, it seems ludicrous to be worrying about the coming beach season.
More about Toronto islands, Lake ontario, rising waters, travel restricted, Underwater